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The 5-Minute Habit That Can Change Your Life

The 5-Minute Habit That Can Change Your Life

In today’s world, it’s incredibly easy to get sidetracked from doing what truly matters to you. Every day, we are bombarded by distractions from all directions. Being able to minimize these distractions and focus your time on what’s important to you will greatly influence your entire life.

When it comes to being productive with your time and focusing your days on what really matters to you, there is a 5-minute habit that can have a significant affect on your life. It’s very simple: You must tell your time where to go.

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Taking 5 minutes every day to write down your schedule for the next day can help you stay on track toward your goals, decrease time wasted on unimportant activities, and help you make sure you are spending your days doing what matters most to you.

Here are some tips to maximize the power of writing down your schedule.

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1. Set aside time to do something you love

Every day, plan some time to do something you love, even if it’s for just 5 minutes to start. When you take time to regularly do the things that light you up, your life will change and so will the people around you. If you’re not sure what you love, check out this free workbook.

2. Make sure you’re living your top priorities

Writing down your schedule can help you stay focused on what’s truly important in your life. As you write down your schedule, make sure you’re spending time on your top priorities. If you notice that month after month, you’re neglecting what’s important and filling your schedule with junk, it’s time to re-evaluate yourself. By consistently writing down your schedule, if you discover that you’re not living your top priorities, dig deep and be really honest with yourself about what your priorities are, and re-evaluate your life and schedule so you can truly live your priorities.

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3. Group similar tasks together

When you write down your schedule, consider batching tasks together that are similar or that require you to be in the same location. This can help you minimize time spent transitioning from one activity to the next, which can help increase your productivity. Think about your daily tasks and group them in ways that allow for seamless transitions.

4. Give yourself deadlines

Deadlines are very powerful, as they can help us significantly increase our effort. When you write down your schedule, put time limits on your tasks. When you feel like the task must be completed in a certain amount of time, it can help you avoid procrastination and take immediate action. One way to maximize your use of self-imposed deadlines is to use the Pomodoro technique. This very simple technique can significantly help you to focus during your time allotted for each task.

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5. Include a small step toward a big goal on your daily schedule

In order to make regular progress toward your big goals, commit to taking a small action step every day. Each day, write out the action step you will take the next day to move yourself closer to your dreams.

I hope these time-management strategies help you as much as they’ve helped me. Writing down your schedule is a very simple exercise, yet it can be life-changing. When you tell your time where to go, it helps you focus your life on what truly matters to you. This will enable you to live a more fulfilling life. As you develop the habit of writing down your schedule, I’d love to hear how your life changes as a result. Writing down your schedule is a very simple, yet amazingly beneficial, life hack.

Featured photo credit: Stacy Spensley / https://flickr.com via flickr.com

More by this author

Dr. Kerry Petsinger

Entrepreneur, Mindset & Performance Coach, & Doctor of Physical Therapy

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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