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Here’s How You Find More Time In Your Schedule to Learn a New Skill

Here’s How You Find More Time In Your Schedule to Learn a New Skill

All of us could have more time in our days. Whether it’s to spend more time with ourselves, with our loved ones, or to learn a new skill we’ve been wanting to learn. The truth is, most of us are not maximizing the time we already have to its full potential. With a little bit of structure, analysis, and optimizing, we can spare at least 3-5 hours of additional time in our schedule to learn a new language, instrument, or even cooking!

Here’s 5 steps to shave more time off your “busy” schedule.

1. Track your existing schedule

If you don’t know how you spend your day already, it’s going to be very difficult to know what’s working and what’s not. This applies in any habit, result, or goal you want to change. If you’re trying to lose weight, the first thing a nutritionist will tell you is to keep track of everything you’re eating throughout the day.

Start by tracking everything you’re doing during the day on your calendar. Keep it simple by categorizing each task into two colors representing:

  1. Work time (blue)
  2. Free time (green)

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    While all of our schedules will be different, you’ll be surprised to know how much “green” space you have in our day to invest in learning or something else more productive for you. For consistency, it’s recommended to track your schedule for at least three days, since you may have had a bad or good day of productivity.

    This information will help you with the next step…

    2. Prioritize

    Now that we understand how we already spend our days, it’s time to prioritize what matters. Whether you use a to-do list or a calendar to schedule your day, try reverse-engineering your end-goal to the tasks you have set for the day.

    Here’s a logical framework to refer to:

    • What’s my ultimate goal that I am trying to achieve? (learn Spanish, increase your business revenue, etc.)
    • Which of these tasks will bring me closer to my goal?
    • Which of these non-impactful tasks can I outsource or eliminate completely?

    From there, we’re going to borrow what a productive framework used by Dwight Eisenhower called, “The Eisenhower Box.”

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    Start by categorizing your current task list and any upcoming ones into these 4 categories:

    • Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
    • Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
    • Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
    • Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).

    1397521201-use-eisenhower-box-stop-wasting-time-more-productive

      From here, you should focus only on the tasks that are in the “do” and “decide” category. Everything else, you should…

      3. Eliminate

      Now that you have your most impactful tasks categorized, it’s time to eliminate the unnecessary and unimportant tasks that are simply a waste of time. For many of us, this is checking social media, email, watching television, gossiping with friends, etc. After listing all of these tasks, try to experiment over the next five days without any of these, and see how much free time you have shaved off in your schedule.

      For tasks that may seem urgent, but not important…

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      4. Delegate

      It’s our nature to handle every single detail of our work, but they rarely lead to moving our end-goal forward. This can be potentially dangerous, especially when we’re focused on unimportant tasks that require a lot of our time. As Gary Vaynerchuk often states, “delegating is easy when you realize that 99% of what you do doesn’t matter.”

      Now Gary may have a team of 500+ supporting him, but you can just as well hire a virtual personal assistant to accomplish the same tasks. You can check out websites like Upwork, Guru, or Freelancer to outsource these small, important tasks that need to be urgently completed. These tasks may include: travel research, flight booking, blog post updates, podcast editing, and more.

      5. Optimize

      Last, but not least, it’s time to optimize and refine your schedule to meet its full potential.

      Here are the 3 ways to accomplish this:

      i. Shorten your deadline for individual tasks

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      As stated by Parkinson’s Law, most of us take more time than necessary to complete a task. If we give ourselves three hours to complete a small task, we’ll do our very best to use up all those three hours to complete it. However, if we only gave ourselves 15 minutes, we’ll find a way to get it done. Ask yourself: how many of the tasks on your schedule actually take up the time you allocated to it? Can you do it sooner?

      ii. Cut out your least important free time

      While we need breaks during our day, some breaks such as spending time with family is more important than watching Game of Thrones on Netflix. Find one free time in your schedule that is the least important, and cut it out from your schedule.

      iii. Bundle your free times together

      Or you can use my personal favorite option: bundling free time together. This means instead of having 2 slots of 30 minutes to check email or social media, you can simply use that first 30-minute slot to do both. Chances are, we already multi-task nearly everything we do anyways, so why not multi-task during our free times, rather than during our important tasks?

      Now…it’s your turn

      Which of these productive steps were your favorite?
      What skill will you learn after shaving off more time in your schedule?
      We’d love to hear from you below.

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      Published on April 25, 2019

      How Creativity Can Help You Get Ahead in Life

      How Creativity Can Help You Get Ahead in Life

      Have you ever felt limited in your abilities to do something you really wanted to pursue? Maybe it was an ambition you had, or an idea to start something. Perhaps it was an opportunity that came your way, but you weren’t able to take it because something held you back.

      Often, we’re unable to progress towards our goals because such obstacles stand in the way. We let our limitations stop or overshadow our abilities to see through to a goal.

      Yet, there’s one thing that we rarely think of to use when trying to overcome limitations.

      Creativity.

      What is Creativity?

      When I say creativity, I’m not talking about an innate talent. Creativity is a much needed, but often neglected, skill that everyone has! It’s a skill with huge leverage that allows you to generate enormous amounts of value from relatively little input.

      Creativity at its heart, is being able to see things in a way that others cannot. It’s a skill that helps you find new perspectives to create new possibilities and solutions to different problems.

      Everything, including brilliant inventions, cannot come from nothing; it all derives from some sort of inspiration. Creativity works by connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value.

      From this perspective, you can find creativity at play in many areas.

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      For example, Mark Zuckerburg rapidly became successful by taking the previously existing concept of social media, and combining it with an incredibly simple interface that appealed to a much wider audience. Uber and Lyft combined the idea of a traditional taxi service with an incredibly efficient smartphone app.

      Both of these examples connect different ideas, find common ground amongst the differences, and create a completely new idea out of them.

      That’s creativity in a nutshell, and anyone can improve theirs.

      Limitations are Actually Opportunities

      The advantage of using creativity, is to help you see limitations as opportunities. Take any limitation that you may find yourself facing, is there a way to look at things differently?

      Let me illustrate with an example.

      On the day of my son’s 5th birthday, my wife and I arranged a party for him at a children’s adventure park. His friends and family were all invited, and the plan was to have a long, fun day out to celebrate.

      However, the day didn’t go exactly as planned…

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      At Lifehack, we pride ourselves on a healthy work-life balance, so I wasn’t concerned about taking the day off to celebrate. But, on the big day, a call came through to my phone.

      It was a manager from Lifehack. He excitedly told me that a group of investors were quite interested in our business proposition, and were wanting to meet later that day.

      This was great news! A potential investment could be coming our way. But, I was already miles away from home and the office. Plus, it was my son’s birthday…

      I asked if I could call him back once we got settled into the park.

      To be honest, I was pretty certain I was not going to be able to make it. Asking to reschedule would be a risky request, but there was no way that I was going to miss my son’s party.

      My son could sense something was off, and he asked me what was wrong. So I let him know that I just received a call about a meeting today, but also told him not to worry as today was about celebrating his birthday.

      But like all kids, he continued questioning me…

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      “But daddy, is it important?”

      “No, of course not,” I bluffed.

      Then, with childlike intuition and creativity, he asked: “Can’t you just meet with them at the park?”

      And, then it struck me! This was the idea that I was missing.

      Even though my son didn’t quite understand that it would not be possible for the investors to meet me at the park, it made sense for me to simply do a video call!

      I could miss 25 minutes of the party to do a quick call while the rest of the party walked through the aquarium. And, in the end, that was exactly what happened.

      I called back my teammate and asked him to briefly explain to the investors why I couldn’t be there in person to meet, but would be happy to join via video. I took the call, and was able to spend the rest of the day at the park with my son.

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      Not only did my son enjoy his birthday, his simple idea led to a successful investment meeting that allowed us to get funding for a new project.

      This is where I was able to turn a limitation into an opportunity that enabled me to reach my success.

      Creativity is One Key to Success

      When you use your creative ability to turn your limitations and setbacks into opportunities, you’ll find doors opening for you in areas you may have never imagined.

      Remember, your attitude is also important when it comes to achieving a goal, and tackling a setback or problem. That’s because a positive attitude transforms not just your mental state, but your physical and emotional well being. It is the key to lasting total transformation.

      Check out this article to learn more about how you can tune your attitude towards positivity.

      So, the next time you’re feeling limited by your abilities, setbacks or challenges, don’t give up. Really look at the situation, and see how you can leverage on your creativity to find an alternative solution.

      Featured photo credit: Photo by William Iven on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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