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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 October 13, 2020

How to Spot a Burnout And Overcome It Fast

How to Spot a Burnout And Overcome It Fast

Burnout at work is an issue that most people who suffer from it, suffer unknowingly.

Have you ever felt that you can’t start an assignment, have an immense urge to Netflix binge, or couldn’t get yourself to wake up on time even though you have a lot on your plate? The cause for these might be burnout.

According to Deloitte’s report, “many companies may not be doing enough to minimize burnout.” This is to say that the responsibility is not only on the employee. According to that report, nearly 70 percent of professionals feel their employers are not doing enough to prevent or alleviate burnout within their organization, and they definitely should.[1]

Too many companies don’t invest enough in creating a positive environment. One out of five (21%) said that their company does not offer any programs or initiatives to prevent or alleviate burnout. It is the culture, not the fancy well-being programs that would probably do the best work.

This is a significant problem for individuals and companies, and it’s also an issue on a macro level. A Stanford University research found that more than 120,000 deaths per year, and approximately 5%–8% of annual healthcare costs, are associated with the way U.S. companies manage their workforces.[2]

It is both the employee and the employer’s responsibility—and the latter can certainly take more responsibility.

In this article, I’ll guide you on how to know if you suffer from burnout and, more importantly, what you can do about it.

Who Are Prone to Burning Out?

For starters, it is a good thing to know that you’re in good company. According to a Gallup poll, 23% (of 7,500 surveyed) expressed burnout more often than not. Additionally, 44% felt it sometimes. Nearly 50% of social entrepreneurs who attended the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in 2018 reported having struggled with burnout and depression at some point.[3]

According to Statista (2017), 13% of adults reported having problems unwinding in the evenings and weekends. According to a Deloitte survey (consisting of 1,000 full-time U.S. employees), 77% of respondents said that they have experienced employee burnout at their current job.[4]

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Burnout is not only an issue of the spoiled first-world. Rather, it is a serious matter that must be taken care of appropriately. It affects so many people, and its impacts are just too significant to be ignored.

Some occupations are more prone to burnout, such as people who deeply care about their jobs more than others. According to the Harvard Business Review, “Passion-driven and caregiving roles such as doctors and nurses are some of the most susceptible to burnout.”

The consequences can have life or death ramifications as “suicide rates among caregivers are dramatically higher than that of the general public—40% higher for men and 130% higher for women”. It is also the case for teachers, non-profit workers, and leaders of all kinds.[5]

Deloitte’s survey also found that 91% say that they have an unmanageable amount of stress or frustration. Heck, 83% even say that it can negatively impact their relationships. Millennials are slightly more impacted by burnout (84% of Gen Y vs. 77% in other generations).

What Is Burnout Syndrome?

So, what is it, exactly? Burnout was officially included in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) and is an occupational phenomenon.

According to the World Health Organization, burnout includes three dimensions:[6]

  1. Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
  2. Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job;
  3. Reduced professional efficacy.

The 5 Stages of Burnout

At this point, you must have a clue if you’re at risk of burnout. There are different methods for understanding where you are on the burnout syndrome scale, and one of the most common ones is the “five stages method.”

1. Honeymoon Phase

As you may remember If you’ve gotten married, there’s always the honeymoon phase. You’re so happy and feel almost invincible. You love your spouse and at this stage, you’re very excited about everything. It’s the same when it comes to taking on a new job or role or starting a new business.

At first, most of the time, you’re hyper-motivated. Although you might be able to notice signs of potential future burnout, in most cases, you might ignore them. You’re highly productive, super motivated, creative, and accept (and take) responsibility.

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The honeymoon phase is critical because if you plant the seeds of good mental health and coping strategies, you can stay at this phase for extended periods.

2. Onset of Stress

Let’s continue with the wedding metaphor. Now that you’re happily married for some time, you might start noticing certain issues with your spouse that you don’t like. You might have seen them before, but now they take up more space in your life.

You might be less optimistic and feel signs of stress or minor symptoms of physical or emotional fatigue at work. Your productivity reduces, and you think that your motivation is lower.

3. Chronic Stress

Let’s hope you don’t get there in your marriage, but unfortunately, some people get there. At this stage, your stress level is consistently high, and the other symptoms of stage 2 persist.

At this point, you start missing deadlines, your sleep quality is low, and you’re resentful and cynical. Your caffeine consumption might be higher, and you’re increasingly unsatisfied.

4. Burnout

This is the point where you can’t go on unless there is a significant change in your workspace environment. You have a strong desire to move to another place, and clinical intervention is sometimes required.

You feel neglected, your physical symptoms are increasing, and you get to a place where your stomach hurts daily. You might obsess over problems in your life or work and, generally speaking, you should treat yourself.

5. Habitual Burnout

This is the phase in which burnout is embedded in your life. You might experience chest pains or difficulty breathing, outbursts of anger or apathy, and physical symptoms of chronic fatigue.

The Causes of Burnout

So, now that we know how to identify our stage of burnout, we can move on to tackling its leading causes. According to the Gallup survey, the top burnout reasons are:[7]

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  1. Getting unfair treatment at work – This is not always something that you can fully control. At the same time, you should remember that even if you’re not calling the shots, it doesn’t mean that you have to accept unfair treatment. The consequences mentioned above are just not worth it in most cases.
  2. Workload – Another leading cause of stress according to dozens of interviews conducted before writing the article. According to Statista, in 2017, 39% of workers said a heavy workload was their leading cause of stress. We live in a busy work environment, and we will share some tips on how to manage that.
  3. Not knowing your role – While not something you can fully control, you can, and probably should, take action to better define it with your boss.
  4. Inadequate communication and support from your manager – Like the others above, you can’t fully control that, but as we’ll soon share, you can take action to be in better control.
  5. Time pressure – As mentioned, motivated, passionate workers are more in danger of experiencing burnout. One of the reasons is that they’re pressuring themselves to do more, sometimes at the expense of their mental health. We’ll address how to work on that as well.

How to Overcome a Burnout

After going over the stages of burnout and the leading causes of becoming burned out, it might be a good time to let you know that there is a lot you can do to fight it head-on.

However, let’s start with what you should not do. Burnout cannot be fixed by going on a vacation. It should be a long-term solution, implemented daily.

According to Clockify (2019), these are the popular ways to avoid burnout:

  1. Focus on your family life – 60% of adults said that stable family life is key to avoiding burnout. Maintaining meaningful relationships in your life is proven to reduce stress (instead of having many unmeaningful relationships).
  2. Exercising comes in second, with 58% reporting that jogging, running, or doing any exercise significantly relieves stress. Even a relatively short walk might improve your body’s resilience to stress.
  3. Seek professional advice – 55% say they would turn to a professional. There are online websites where you can speak with professionals at reduced costs.

Aside from the three most popular ways of avoiding burnout, you can also try the following:

1. Improve Time Management

Try understanding how you can use your time better and leave more time for relaxation. That’s easy to say (or write) but more challenging to implement. It would help if you started by prioritizing yourself. Understanding the connection between your values and your everyday tasks is a tremendous help. You can use proven methods to improve the relationship between your vision and goals to your daily life tasks’ lists. Check out the Horizons of Focus or V2MOM methods to get started.

2. Use the P.L.E.A.S.E. Method

The P.L.E.A.S.E. is a combination of things you should do to be at your best physically. It means Physical Illness (P.L.) prevention, Eat healthy (E), Avoid mood-altering drugs (A), Sleep well (S), and Exercise (E).

3. Prioritize

You don’t have to say yes to everything that comes across your way at work (or in other aspects of life). You’d be surprised how easy it can become once you start saying no. Some might even describe it as exhilarating.

4. Let Your Brain rest

Culturally, most of us are already wired to think that hard work is essential, and while that’s true in most cases, we sometimes forget that our brain needs to rest for it to recharge. Seven hours of sleep are essential (depending on your age). Meditation might be helpful, too.

5. Pay Attention to Positive Events

According to Therapistaid.com, we tend to focus on the bad things in our lives. However, by focusing on positive things, we can change our mindset. One way to practice this daily is by writing three good things about your life every morning or evening. It’s been scientifically proven that doing so for a few months can help rewire your brain.

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6. Take Some “You” Time

A Netflix binge is not always good for you, but it might be in some cases. The better the leisure time is, the better you’ll feel in the long term. It’s usually better to read a book or start a new hobby that requires more cognitive skills than just lying on the couch. But as long as you feel good watching a movie, that might be a good start.

7. New Technologies Might Be Helpful

There are tons of self-help apps such as Fabulous, Headspace (meditation), Noom (diet and exercise), and others. They’re good to use, but you should also be careful not to run away from your problems only to watch social media for hours. It’s not real, and no one’s life is perfect (even if their Facebook or Instagram feeds might seem so). You should also be aware not to be in an “always-on” mindset.

Bottom Line

Whether you’re at the first or the fifth stage of the burnout phases, the goal of this article is to show you that there are always ways to fight it. The first thing is self-awareness—knowing that there’s a problem. The second step is to decide what to do about it.

You can also consider using Lifehack’s community. You’re more than welcome to share your burnout story on our Facebook page.

Bonus: Rebound from Burnout in 8 Hours

Watch what you can do to rebound from burnout quickly in this episode of The Lifehack Show:

https://youtu.be/MNnyqQWK_zg

Featured photo credit: Lechon Kirb via unsplash.com

Reference

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