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7 Simple Time-Management Tips that Could Change Your Life

7 Simple Time-Management Tips that Could Change Your Life

In a world where we have so many devices at our fingertips to save us time, it seems ironic that people seem busier than ever. We always have stuff that needs to be done and a lot of us are constantly nagged by the feeling that we’re forgetting something.

Time is precious and we only have 24 hours a day. So how we spend that time is very important. In the never-ending resources full of time-management and productivity tips, here are 7 that I find most useful:

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1. Write out a to-do list every. single. day.

You’ve probably heard it before, but it’s so important. If you don’t have a daily to-do list, you’ll realize how important it is if you start keeping one with you every day. Put your most important tasks at the top of it to make sure that you at least get them done. Focus on just one task at a time and cross them off as you complete them; doing this keeps you more motivated.

2. Say “no” when you need to

If someone asks you to do something that you don’t have time for or don’t have the skills to do, don’t be afraid to say no. This can be hard if you’re a real people-pleaser, but it’s very important. You’ll be much better off if you learn to say no when you need to.

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3. Find your most productive time and do things then

We’re all either more “early bird” or “night owl.” If you find you’re more productive and do your best work in the morning, start waking up early to get things done. If you find you’re more productive at night, then do things then. If you’re more of an “afternoon” person, that’s fine too. Whatever works best for you!

4. Remember your goals

If you don’t have goals, then you should probably consider setting some. Not only do goals give you a bigger picture to work towards, they also make life more fulfilling and exciting. And remember to always keep your goals in mind. Make sure you’re doing something every day to move you closer to achieving them so you’re not wasting so much time.

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5. Try not to multitask unless it makes sense

This is a tough one for a lot of people. Working on two things at once – what’s wrong with that? It saves time, right? Wrong. Multitasking overwhelms your brain. It not only takes you longer to do the things you’re multitasking, it also lowers the quality of the work that you’re doing. So never multitask unless it doesn’t matter. Meaning, listening to podcasts while you’re driving, watching TV while you’re folding laundry, or other similar instances.

6. Eliminate non-essential tasks

I know this one is really a no-brainer, but it’s often overlooked. Do you need to spend hours on social media? Unless that somehow moves you closer to your goals, try to avoid doing it. When you’re writing out your daily to-do lists, only write down the essential tasks and stick to that list. This simple little tip will not only save you time and energy, it will also help you accomplish so much more.

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7. Get (and stay) organized

Studies have shown that clutter can actually affect your mind and your mood. So when you’re working in a messy, disorganized environment, it’s safe to say that your mind will feel messy and disorganized. Putting simple and easy organizational systems into place can totally change the way you work and how productive you are. So clean up your clutter, put a few filing systems into place, and try to stay organized. This will save you time and your sanity.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

What is decision fatigue? Let me explain this with an example:

When determining a court ruling, there are many factors that contribute to their final verdict. You probably assume that the judge’s decision is influenced solely by the nature of the crime committed or the particular laws that were broken. While this is completely valid, there is an even greater influential factor that dictates the judge’s decision: the time of day.

In 2012, a research team from Columbia University[1] examined 1,112 court rulings set in place by a Parole Board Judge over a 10 month period. The judge would have to determine whether the individuals in question would be released from prison on parole, or a change in the parole terms.

While the facts of the case often take precedence in decision making, the judges mental state had an alarming influence on their verdict.

As the day goes on, the chance of a favorable ruling drops:

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    Image source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

    Does the time of day, or the judges level of hunger really contribute that greatly to their decision making? Yes, it does.

    The research went on to show that at the start of the day the likelihood of the judging giving out a favorable ruling was somewhere around 65%.

    But as the morning dragged on, the judge became fatigued and drained from making decision after decision. As more time went on, the odds of receiving a favorable ruling decreased steadily until it was whittled down to zero.

    However, right after their lunch break, the judge would return to the courtroom feeling refreshed and recharged. Energized by their second wind, their leniency skyrockets back up to a whopping 65%. And again, as the day drags on to its finish, the favorable rulings slowly diminish along with the judge’s spirits.

    This is no coincidence. According to the carefully recorded research, this was true for all 1,112 cases. The severity of the crime didn’t matter. Whether it was rape, murder, theft, or embezzlement, the criminal was more likely to get a favorable ruling either early in the morning, or after the judges lunch break.

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    Are You Suffering from Decision Fatigue Too?

    We all suffer from decision fatigue without even realizing it.

    Perhaps you aren’t a judge with the fate of an individual’s life at your disposal, but the daily decisions you make for yourself could hinder you if you’re not in the right head-space.

    Regardless of how energetic you feel (as I imagine it is somehow caffeine induced anyway), you will still experience decision fatigue. Just like every other muscle, your brain gets tired after periods of overuse, pumping out one decision after the next. It needs a chance to rest in order to function at a productive rate.

    The Detrimental Consequences of Decision Fatigue

    When you are in a position such as a Judge, you can’t afford to let your mental state dictate your decision making; but it still does. According to George Lowenstein, an American educator and economy expert, decision fatigue is to blame for poor decision making among members of high office. The disastrous level of failure among these individuals to control their impulses could be directly related to their day to day stresses at work and their private life.

    When you’re just too tired to think, you stop caring. And once you get careless, that’s when you need to worry. Decision fatigue can contribute to a number of issues such as impulse shopping (guilty), poor decision making at work, and poor decision making with after work relationships. You know what I’m talking about. Don’t dip your pen in the company ink.

    How to Make Decision Effectively

    Either alter the time of decision making to when your mind is the most fresh, or limit the number of decisions to be made. Try utilizing the following hacks for more effective decision making.

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    1. Make Your Most Important Decisions within the First 3 Hours

    You want to make decisions at your peak performance, so either first thing in the morning, or right after a break.

    Research has actually shown that you are the most productive for the first 3 hours[2] of your day. Utilize this time! Don’t waste it on trivial decisions such as what to wear, or mindlessly scrolling through social media.

    Instead, use this time to tweak your game plan. What do you want to accomplish? What can you improve? What steps do you need to take to reach these goals?

    2. Form Habits to Reduce Decision Making

    You don’t have to choose all the time.

    Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it doesn’t have to be an extravagant spread every morning. Make a habit out of eating a similar or quick breakfast, and cut that step of your morning out of the way. Can’t decide what to wear? Pick the first thing that catches your eye. We both know that after 20 minutes of changing outfits you’ll just go with the first thing anyway.

    Powerful individuals such as Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, and Mark Zuckerberg don’t waste their precious time deciding what to wear. In fact, they have been known to limiting their outfits down to two options in order to reduce their daily decision making.

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    3. Take Frequent Breaks for a Clearer Mind

    You are at your peak of productivity after a break, so to reap the benefits, you need to take lots of breaks! I know, what a sacrifice. If judges make better decisions in the morning and after their lunch break, then so will you.

    The reason for this is because the belly is now full, and the hunger is gone. Roy Baumeister, Florida State University social psychologist[3] had found that low-glucose levels take a negative toll on decision making. By taking a break to replenish your glucose levels, you will be able to focus better and improve your decision making abilities.

    Even if you aren’t hungry, little breaks are still necessary to let your mind refresh, and come back being able to think more clearly.

    Structure your break times. Decide beforehand when you will take breaks, and eat energy sustaining snacks so that your energy level doesn’t drop too low. The time you “lose” during your breaks will be made up in the end, as your productivity will increase after each break.

    So instead of slogging through your day, letting your mind deteriorate and fall victim to the daily abuses of decision making, take a break, eat a snack. Let your mind refresh and reset, and jump-start your productivity throughout the day.

    More Tips About Decision Making

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

    Reference

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