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2 Must-Have Hacks for Your To-Do List

2 Must-Have Hacks for Your To-Do List

In a world of a million tasks vying for your attention, how do you determine what to focus on and what to weed out? Most of us end up automatically prioritizing our job, our closest loved ones and entertainment without a further thought. But if you’re left wondering if something’s missing, you may be executing the wrong daily tasks first.

The solution lies in one magnificent question: what is the meaning of your life? 

A friend recently pushed back when I talked about the meaning of my life being helping people re-connect to their natural creativity and something larger than themselves. He blurted, “How can you possibly know the meaning of your life?” Like many, he buys into the common notion that the profound meaning of his life will only reveal itself to him upon his deathbed, or at least when he’s well within his 60’s.

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I’m here to challenge this belief. What is most meaningful to each of us is remarkably unique and for that reason can be discovered through personal development inquiry as soon as you are ready. My students birth these aha-moments on a weekly basis, and you can too. I recently helped the founder of a healing arts and therapy collective in San Francisco to discover that the meaning of her life was being in service of her own soul. By nourishing and pursuing the activities it takes to be at home with herself in her own skin, she ends up delivering a world of value and inspiration to all her community, clients and friends. Being someone who grew up in a huge family, the fact that the single most important thread of her life could be focusing on herself was a massive game-changer.

To determine what the most meaningful thing to you is, spend some time with the following questions.

“What does my body and soul long for on a regular basis?”
“What or who do I love more than anything else?”
“What have I turned to for positive uplift and support my entire life?”

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If you’re still unclear, don’t sweat it. This personal discovery work is tricky. It takes a very deep dive, and if we are not used to focusing on ourselves- our thoughts, our feelings, our wishes- on a frequent basis, it will take practice and possibly some guidance to get behind the layers that keep us hiding and stuck in our habits.

1. Find your “A” Tasks

Once you have picked out 1-3 of the most meaningful experiences in your life, you want to start prioritizing them on your to-do list as “A” tasks. This is the first essential missing factor from our to-do lists if we want to leverage the maximum of what life has to offer us. Since uplifting people through creativity is one of the most meaningful experiences of my life, writing this article was an “A” task on my list today. These gems of fulfillment will not only make you feel better, stronger and happier, but when you put them in the first place, everything in your life up-levels – relationships, career and even material success.

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2. Establish Your Prerequisite

The second key component that I find most people are missing from their daily list is a prerequisite. Your prerequisite is your personal balance point. It’s how you know to stop and take care of yourself above all else. For some, this might be when their digestive difficulties flare up or when their anxiety is on overload mode. Personally, I use the rule of thumb of kindness and humor. If I can’t interact with others in real time, over text or any which way with kindness and humor, something very wrong is up and I take a time out to get to the bottom of it right away.

You must claim your prerequisite and at least one “A” task daily before delving into other actions if you want to see results from these tips. The only things that come before them should be necessary, urgent items like “prepare for tomorrow’s presentation”, laundry or picking up kids from school. They are obvious and integral to completing your day.

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If you are totally satisfied with your life the way it is now, these tools are not for you. However, if you’re looking to transform your days into something more beautiful and meaningful and create more energy and momentum towards your goals, you need a measure of inner balance (prerequisite) and meaning of life daily action (“A” tasks).

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Nicole Casanova

Professional Development Coach + Meditation Expert

2 Must-Have Hacks for Your To-Do List

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

I imagine that like me, you say that you never have enough time and that you just cannot cope with 60 dozen things all at once.

How on earth do you get out of that spiral?

Many people never sit down and look at how to work smarter, rather than harder and even longer hours. But not you, you’re smart enough to try to learn effective ways to work.

So how to work smarter not harder? Here are 12 smart ways you should be following:

1. Improve Your Time Management Skills

Easier said than done? Well, no actually, because there are a few simple rules that can really help you to manage time better.

For example, when setting up a top priority task, you need to switch off the phone and ignore your email first. Then you need to abandon any ideas of multitasking as that will slow you down and ruin your focus.

Finally, set a reasonable deadline and do everything in your power to meet it.

“When you’re born, you’re born with 30,000 days. That’s it. The best strategic planning I can give to you is to think about that.” — Sir Ray Avery

2. Speed up Your Typing and Use Shortcuts

These days we’re all keyboard slaves. So why not speed up your typing and try to get rid of the two finger syndrome. In fact, when you save 21 days per year just by typing fast!

This is exactly what I am doing now, so I cannot honestly say I am practicing what I preach!

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But help is at hand. Try some of these apps and games to help you type fast: 8 Most Effective Games and Apps to Learn to Type Fast

Using shortcuts on the keyboard is another time saver and can speed up your work.

For example, press F2 to rename a selected file, while CTRL + I will put selected text in italics.

There are so many of these. If you make the effort to learn them, they really can be helpful.

3. Learn How to Use Productivity Tools

It is well worth downloading all the useful tools and apps that can highly boost your productivity. Take a look at these 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools and install whatever fits your needs.

Now that is really a great way of working smarter, not harder.

4. Use Your Phone Wisely

Instead of writing emails, sometimes it’s better to pick up the phone and talk to the person responsible. It saves time, especially for important or urgent discussions.

If that colleague works in the same office, it is even better to go and talk to him or her. It gives you a break, you get some exercise and you actually make human contact which is becoming quite rare in this electronic world.

5. Keep a Tab on Your Tabs

If you are like me, you might well find that you have a ton of tabs open at the top of your browser.

In order to find the one you want, you have to search for them as they are off screen. Having all these tabs open slows down your browser too.

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One solution is to use OneTab which can keep a neat list on the screen of all these tabs when you want to quickly get to one of them or you want to remind yourself which ones you have open.

6. Use a “To Don’t” List

We all know about to do lists and I find that they are generally great. They give me a great sense of achievement as I cross off the tasks done.

But often, I find that we are doing non-essential tasks or ones that can easily be postponed. That is why many people recommend the to don’t list.[1]

Some people prefer to savagely prune the to do list while others prefer to have two separate lists, to do and to don’t. You just have to work out what works best for you when you are trying to save precious time to become more productive.

7. Expect Failure and Fight Paranoia

When failure rears its ugly head, some people get a bit paranoid and fear that this may become a trend.

Projects will go wrong and failure should be expected rather than feared. Learning lessons from failure and analyzing what went wrong is the best way forward.

“Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” — Richard Branson

And here you can find 10 Great Lessons Highly Successful People Have Learned From Failure.

8. Be Concise

Rambling on at meetings, in emails and even when introducing yourself to new clients can waste a lot of people’s time.

One way is to practice and sharpen your “elevator speech,”[2] which tells people in 30 seconds or less why they need your skills and how they can benefit from doing business with you.

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Just think of the many situations where this could be useful:

  • Making new contacts
  • Talking about yourself at a job interview
  • Meeting people at conferences or parties
  • Phone calls to new clients

9. Ask the Right Questions

“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” — Naguib Mahfouz

How do you get feedback? The secret is to ask the right questions at the right time.

When you do this, you are gathering the information you need to help in decision making. This will save you time and you will be able to cut meetings to a minimum.

Forbes magazine reports on research that they carried out on asking the right questions.[3] When that happens, the positive effects are increased by 400%. There are also other benefits in staff motivation and a positive impact on the company’s bottom line.

Lifehack’s CEO Leon has shared about how to ask for feedback to learn faster: How to Learn Quickly And Master Any Skill You Want

10. Learn as Much as You Can

You should always be on a steep learning curve. Look at your skills profile and determine where you need to fill a gap. Talk to important connections and network in your niche.

Keep up to date on trends and developments. It is a fact-changing world. When an opportunity arises, you will be the best equipped to seize it because you have never stopped learning. Just another way of working smarter.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi

11. Look After Your Greatest Resource

No, your greatest resource is not time. It is YOU.

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If you do not get enough sleep, exercise and relaxation, you find that you become less and less productive. You begin to work longer and longer hours, which is the exact opposite of what you want.

What you should be doing is making sure you are in the best shape. It is useful to remember that you need a break of 15 minutes after every one and a half hours of work.[4]

Taking breaks and getting fresh air and exercise is one of the best ways of working smarter, not harder.

12. Don’t Fall into the Trap of Working Smarter and Harder

As a society, we are obsessed with doing everything smarter so we are more efficient and we save time all around.[5]

But the most important thing to remember is to accept when we are ready to switch off that computer and not fill up the time with even more work!

The Bottom Line

The key to greater productivity is to work smarter, not harder. Working smarter saves precious time and energy for the things that really matter — your life goals, your personal growth, your health and your relationships.

Stop working for more hours and start working smarter!

More About Working Smart

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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