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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.

      More by this author

      Sean Kim

      Sean is the founder and CEO of Pulsing. He's an entrepreneur and blogger.

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      Published on June 19, 2019

      Your Beliefs About Success May Be Holding You Back

      Your Beliefs About Success May Be Holding You Back
      Pause for a moment and think about how you would describe success.

      If your description is dominated by money or status, then your image of success is faulty.

      For example, there are countless people who have these assets but don’t feel successful. Some of these people have enormous amounts of disposable income, but work so many hours during the day that they have no life beyond their work.

      Would you regard these people as successful?

      At first glance, I likely wouldn’t.

      And, then there are the endless celebrities who go from fame to failure (think bankruptcy, addictions and worse).

      Are they successful?

      Probably not.

      In truth, success is about happiness and fulfillment in life.

      But, there is more than one definition of success. Just look at the above example of the person who worked too hard to spend their money. If they’re happy with their life, then we shouldn’t criticize their version of success.

      So how about you? Do you have a clear definition of what success looks like for you?

      If you don’t, you’ll be constantly chasing someone else’s idea of success, and could find yourself totally unfulfilled and miserable.

      The good news is that over the next few minutes, I’m going to give you the tools you need to build a crystal clear picture of YOUR SUCCESS.

      Positive Thinking

      With the right attitude, anything can seem possible.

      For instance, if you’re fed up with your job, but do nothing to change it, then you’ll likely be stuck there for years to come. But, if you see the job as a stepping stone to something bigger and better, then not only will you enjoy your work more, but you’ll have something positive to aim towards (e.g., a promotion or new job).

      The example above demonstrates a little-known factor of success… suffering!

      Yes, suffering may be a negative thing that most people go out of their way to avoid; but successful people use suffering as a springboard to big achievements. Mindset really does separate the losers from the winners.

      Another thing you can do, is to gradually build up your positivity and confidence by tracking your progress towards your goals. And, each time you accomplish something – however small – be sure to celebrate it!

      This is a great way to propel you towards success.

      The Purpose of a Purpose

      What is your purpose in life?

      These are questions I suggest you spend some time thinking about. To help you find the answers, consider the following:

      If you just seek a career, all you will find is a career.

      But, if you seek a purpose, you’ll find something much more than a career – you’ll find your calling. And when you’ve found this, and you begin following it, you’ll be firmly in the middle of the happiness, satisfaction and success zone.

      This is backed by science, with research showing that people who have a purpose and meaning in life have an increase in:[1]
      • Overall well-being
      • Mental and physical health
      • Resiliency
      • Self-esteem

      But, don’t mistake seeking happiness and success as your purpose. These things are a natural result of following your purpose – but shouldn’t be your focal point.

      Austrian Neurologist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl said it well:

      “It is the very pursuit of happiness, that thwarts happiness.”

      What about YOUR purpose?

      If you’re struggling to identify it, look for the things in your life that you’re good at, enthuse you, and provide a benefit to the world.

      Becoming a Better You

      Are your beliefs holding you back?

      If yes, here are three things you can do RIGHT NOW to break out of your mind trap:

      1. Boost Your Confidence: you can do this by overcoming challenges that come your way. For example, if you have a fear of public speaking, face this challenge head-on by agreeing to do regular presentations for your company, or by joining a public speaking organization like Toastmasters International. Speak in public often enough, and your fear of it will plunge like a river going over a waterfall.
      2. Develop Healthy Habits: I’m talking about positive habits that will serve you day in, day out. Habits such as lifelong learning, eating well, and waking up early. When these things are automatic for you, you’ll reap incredible benefits from them. Take eating well, for example. You’ll feel better. You’ll look better. And you’ll have way more energy to make things happen in your life.
      3. Invoke the Magic of Goal Setting: Without goals, you’ll drift through life like a plastic bottle in the sea. But with goals, you’ll be like a 100m sprinter running towards the finishing line. Goals really are powerful tools. They’ll direct your focus and energy, and will allow you to track your progress in life. I recommend the SMART goal-setting method (find out about this here).

      And, always remember… don’t compare yourself to others; only compare yourself to who you were yesterday.

      Each step you take forward is making you a better version of you.

      Success Is Self-Love

      I encourage you to take the tips I’ve shared in this article and put them into action in your life. Ideally, starting right now!

      Firstly, transform your mindset by facing up to challenges and overcoming them. Then spend time to discover your purpose. And, once you’ve found it – start following it.

      Becoming a better version of you will take some time, but will be worth the wait. Not only will you reach into untapped potential in your life, but you’ll also develop respect and love for yourself along the way.

      So don’t let your beliefs hold you back anymore. BREAK FREE from them and start enjoying a happy, healthy and successful life.

      Featured photo credit: Razvan Chisu via unsplash.com

      Reference

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