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12 Fundamental Time Management Tips that Will Change Your Life

12 Fundamental Time Management Tips that Will Change Your Life

Despite being motivated and ready to make big changes in life, we often find ourselves struggling with the simplest of tasks. And it isn’t necessarily procrastination that is our problem, nor it is the fear of taking action towards our dreams. Nope, sometimes the problem lies closer to the surface than we could imagine. The problem is in time management.

Each year of our life has only 365 days (yes-yes, I am aware of leap years), and unfortunately, nobody in this world gets any younger. While someone may have plenty of free time on their hands, the people that want to succeed will understand the true nature of time. They see the real value of the hours by which they live, and that a whole year can pass in the blink of an eye. As a consequence, their success and productivity is greatly dependent on efficient time management.

Fortunately, time management is something that each one of us can master with ease if we only wish to. All there is to being productive is knowing some of the most fundamental time management tips and being able to put them into practice. Below, I will share a list of tips that I have found to be the most effective in boosting productivity. The beauty of this list is that you can begin implementing it as you are reading this post.

1. Make your day longer.

To those of you who love to sleep until noon, this may be the hardest tip of all. This is also probably the most important of them.

Our day has only so many hours, and the longer we sleep, the fewer hours we have left to spend on achieving. Therefore, the most logical solution would be to make the day as long as possible.

To some of you, this may mean sleeping only 8 hours a day, and to some of you, it may mean sleeping 6 hours a day. This depends on how much you can take. You have to experiment and find the optimal amount that you can allow yourself to sleep without compromising your health.

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2. Shifting your day towards the morning.

On days that are free, many of us prefer to go to bed late at night and to get up as late as possible. What I noticed to be extremely effective, is to shift your day towards the earlier hours. In practice, this means going to bed as early as possible, and waking up as early as possible.

For the majority of us, our thoughts in the morning feel more “fresh”, and our capacity to think is larger as well. You have probably noticed that the darker and closer to the night it gets, the lazier we become, and the cozier we want to get. To fix this, try going to bed early enough. This requires a little bit of getting used to but is worth it. Throughout most of the week, I wake up as early as 4 in the morning. And while you don’t have to wake up that early, it feels incredible to accomplish so many things by the time others are just getting out of bed!

3. Ritualised isolation.

Have you ever been distracted by phone calls, emails or social media messages while in the middle of an important task? I am most definitely sure that you have! This type of distraction is especially dangerous when we are immersed in something  – when we are in the flow state. Such a distraction can remove us from that state, to which we may not be able to return afterwards. Not only is this extremely annoying, but it also takes away the opportunity of writing the perfect essay, creating our best artwork, speech, etc.

Make sure you turn off all electronic devices. If you know that someone may need you while you work, tell them about your plans beforehand. Tell them that you will be busy and that you will call them back once you are finished. Getting yourself isolated from the outer world before working on anything is extremely important, and therefore should become ritualised.

4. Setting a timer.

When I know that I want to be productive, I always set a timer. I don’t know what exactly it is about our psychology, but whenever we create limitations for ourselves, things tend to get real.

Once you have isolated yourself from external distractors, set a time frame for yourself. What I have found to be most effective is 50 minutes of work, followed by 10 minutes of break time. You can repeat this as many times as you want, but make sure you do exactly as you promise yourself, which in this case is 50 minutes of working in a very concentrated manner, and then, regardless of circumstances, having that 10-minute break. Try this, and you will notice how the quality of your work will soar through the roof!

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5. Planning in advance and setting goals.

Another very effective time management technique is to plan your week in advance and to set realistic goals.

What I do is: I sit down, I mark down all of the 7 days of that following week, and I begin spreading amongst them my most important tasks. Additionally, I make goals that I want to achieve by the end of that week. What is great about this technique is that by learning to plan well in advance, I can foresee the busy-ness of my schedule. This allows me to prioritise, and to set goals that are realistic and relevant. You don’t want to be setting goals that are unattainable and that will cause you to doubt your overall progress. On the contrary, this is an amazing approach that helps you to move forward, and will help you see yourself grow and prosper.

Although it usually isn’t possible or exciting to know what your entire next week is going to be like, you should plan at least the following day. And yes, make mini goals for that day too. This ensures that it is going to be productive.

6. Prioritise.

This relates to the previous tip but is nevertheless important enough to stand on its own.

Prioritising not only helps you to do the most important tasks first but helps you understand where in life you are heading towards. Being able to set your priorities straight is something you must be able to do if you are planning to make it “big.” You cannot be successful while being unsure of what you want from life.

Therefore, have a list of things to do. Rate them from 1 to 5, and spread them out in your week as mentioned in the previous tip. When you do this on a daily basis, you will notice yourself becoming better at making meaningful decisions at the right place and the right time.

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7. Quality over quantity.

Don’t try to multitask on a bunch of different things. The goal is not to succeed in everything. The goal is to succeed at least in one thing. As Bruce Lee said: “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

In the long run, it is so much more important to complete something, as opposed to starting a few different things and not being able to accomplish them. Moreover, this way you make sure you don’t compromise the quality of your work. And in the case that you do have to take a pause, it is going to be so much easier to continue from where you left off. Spreading your energy across many tasks reduces your focus.

8. Get a whiteboard.

Get a whiteboard with markers to write down all your goals, your vision. Write down tomorrow’s goals, this week’s, next week’s, this year’s, etc. A board that you can always look at will keep you aware and accountable of your progress. When we write our goals down, we have a much higher chance of taking action on them, as opposed to just saying them out loud. Make sure you always have something at hand to which you can write down your thoughts and ideas. You don’t want to miss out on something great just because you forgot about it. You can thank me for this one later.

9. Go for a walk.

At first glance, you’d think going for a walk will take away from your productivity time, but don’t be misled. Going for a walk, especially during breaks, is an extremely efficient way to regain your energy. While walking and breathing fresh air, you allow for new thoughts and ideas to pop into your mind. As you walk and meditate on various subjects, your mind slowly lets go of the pressure that has accumulated during work time, while simultaneously allowing your creativity to expand.

10. Listening to audiobooks.

While you are on your walk, on the bus, in the gym, or doing anything else that doesn’t involve much thinking, make use of that time! I always either have an audiobook on my mobile phone, or some motivational content from YouTube bookmarked and ready for consumption.

This tip allows you to double or even triple your efficiency, causing a major leap in productivity.

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11. Automation software.

There is a ton of software out there that can help you manage your time efficiently. Depending on what you want, you can find free or paid services that can take your progress to a different level.

Either way, it is extremely handy not having to worry about keeping track of time, or having your work synchronised across all of your devices and ready to be used at any given moment of life. By having some software taking care of the basic tasks, you can leverage yourself and focus on the things that do matter!

12. Recondition your mind for success!

Just as in my life, most of you have probably been planted with a plethora of limiting beliefs. We were taught that life is extremely difficult and that becoming super wealthy and super successful is close to impossible. Well, as it turns out, these kinds of psychological barriers greatly hinder our development (Captain Obvious here!). But as soon as you can understand that anything is possible, you will become motivated, devoted, optimistic, and, knowing that your goals are real, you will be able to work harder, longer, and with endless enthusiasm.

Being able to recondition your mind is extremely important. Every day, before falling asleep, I spend a few minutes reminding myself that:

  • I am extremely thankful for this day.
  • I have learned a lot today – what were those things?
  • I have achieved a lot today – what were those things?
  • I am extremely excited for tomorrow because tomorrow I will learn and achieve even more.
  • I have a purpose; I have a goal.
  • Every day I get closer to my goals.
  • Every day I cherish like it is my last.

You can add whatever you want to that list, but you have to make sure that you are consistent with this every single day. By practicing it, you synchronise your mind with these beliefs, and you condition yourself to believe these statements. The last things that you say before falling asleep should also be the first thing you remember when waking up. Experiments show that this is often the case. This will motivate you every morning even more, and will push you into being more productive, and into managing your time more effectively. A positive mindset is key, my friends.

Remember, our time on this planet is limited. To achieve, you must not only find a passion, but make time for it. By applying the given time-management tips, you will be able to significantly change your life. Use them and succeed!

More by this author

Victor Stepanchikov

Software Engineer, Blogger, Personal Development Freak

5 Ways to Turn Pessimism into Healthy Optimism Make Money 6 False Beliefs You Must Let Go of to Make Money Efficiently 2 Things You Must Let Go to Find Happiness and Satisfaction 12 Fundamental Time Management Tips that Will Change Your Life

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

1. The Inner Critic

This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

  • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

2. The Worrier

This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

4. The Sleep Depriver

This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

How can you control these squatters?

How to Master Your Mind

You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

There are two ways to control your thoughts:

  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

For the Inner Critic

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

  • They rile up the Worrier.
  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
  • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

For the Worrier

Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tense

Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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For example:

If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tension

I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

Breathe in through your nose:

  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
  • Focus on your belly rising.

Breathe out through your nose:

  • Feel your lungs emptying.
  • Focus on your belly falling.
  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

For the Sleep Depriver

(They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
  2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

You can also use this technique any time you want to:

  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
  • Shut down your thinking.
  • Calm your feelings.
  • Simply focus on the present moment. 

The Bottom Line

Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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