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Time is Money! 10 Time Management Tips From Highly Successful People

Time is Money! 10 Time Management Tips From Highly Successful People
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Are you struggling with time management? People often use the term “time management” when discussing productivity. Yet, is this phrasing correct? Are we genuinely managing time? No, we aren’t. Time passes, one second after another, and you can’t do a thing to stop it. In truth, you can’t manage something that is completely beyond your control.

It is my hope that, after going through these so-called time management tips, you’ll realize that accomplishing things is a matter of managing activities instead of time. Deciding what to do and when is the cornerstone of productivity.

Read on for ten activity management tips that will change your life:

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1. Brian Tracy; CEO of Brian Tracy International: Plan your day in advance

“The best exercise is for you to plan your entire next day as the last thing you do before coming home from work. When you plan your day the night before, your subconscious then goes to work on your plans and goals while you are asleep. Very often you will wake up in the morning with ideas and insights that apply to the work of the day.”

2. Jason Goldberg, CEO of Fab.com: Focus on one thing at a time

“Pick one thing and do that one thing – and only that one thing – better than anyon else ever could”.

3. Tony Schwartz, CEO of The Energy Project: Prioritize

“Force yourself to prioritize so that you know that you will finish at least that one critical task during the period of the day when you have the most energy and the fewest distractions.”

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4. Dustin Moskovitz, co-founder of Facebook: Pick one day to focus on your individual work

“Pick one day a week that you and your team can focus on getting individual work done without any interruptions like meetings. At Asana, we have No Meeting Wednesdays established to encourage flow and productivity across the company.”

5. Steve Jobs: Delegate

“There’s no excuse for employees to have any confusion after a meeting. An effective Apple meeting will include an “action list,” and next to each action item is a “DRI” — a directly responsible individual who must ensure the task is accomplished.”

6. Warren Buffett: Say no most of the time

“The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.”

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7. Richard Branson: Conduct your meetings standing up

“One of my favorite tricks is to conduct most of my meetings standing up. I find it to be a much quicker way of getting down to business, making a decision, and sealing the deal. When given the opportunity, I often like to take things a step further – literally, with a walking meeting.”

8. Brian Halligan, CEO of HubSpot: Have time to think

“I try to think a lot and try to increase the amount of time I spend thinking about things versus on the phone or in a meeting… I see people working a lot, and I say what’s your time spent thinking versus working?”

9. Nathan Blecharczyk, co-founder of Airbnb: Do the real work in the morning

“I try to fill my calendar in reverse, from the end-of-day to earlier; I try to reserve the morning for doing ‘real work.’ I find I can focus more in the morning, whereas it’s harder to get focused after having been bombarded by meetings, so I try to save meetings for later in the day.”

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10. Benjamin Franklin: Build a consistent day-to-day schedule with time for self-reflection

Here is Benjamin Franklin’s daily schedule according to his autobiography:

“5: Rise, wash.
6: Powerful goodness! The morning. Morning prayer and plan for the day. [He asks himself], “What good business shall I do today?”
7: Study, and breakfast.
8-12: Work.
12-2: Read or overlook accounts, and dine.
2-4: Work.
4-6: Evening rest.
6: Put things in their places, ie: cleaning and organizing
7: Reflect on the day with the question: “What good have I done today?”
8: Supper, music, or diversion, or conversation
9: Examination of the day
10: Sleep”

Featured photo credit: Nathan Blecharczyk via i.ytimg.com

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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