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9 Ways to Tell You’re Secretly a Time Management Guru

9 Ways to Tell You’re Secretly a Time Management Guru

Author Michael Altshuler said, “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” You probably kick yourself sometimes for not being a good enough pilot. You’re likely to kick yourself when you hold yourself up to a success standard that says, “I’m not rich and famous, so I’m not successful.” One quote I saw on a coffee mug recently said, “You have the same amount of hours in a day as Beyonce.” The intent is good, and it’s lighthearted, but you’re not Beyonce. Each person can be a superstar at time management within their own sphere. Here are 9 signs you’re rocking it.

1. You’re creative

Out of the five habits of highly creative people, the ability to follow a routine is number one. Psychologist William James says schedules “free our minds to advance to really interesting fields of action.”[1] Following a schedule isn’t easy; it’s a matter of your will power consistently conquering your body’s tendency towards inertia. Training your body frees your mind. If you rock a routine and find creativity flowing out of you like a waterfall, chances are you’re really, really good at time management.

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2. You’re organized

For you, organization is second nature. Having good organizational skills is about being physically and mentally organized. Physically speaking, you have no problem categorizing things and putting them in their proper place. Mentally, you’re able to prioritize tasks, attending to the most important ones first. You know how to get organized at work, but you know not to let conventional wisdom trap you. The most important task at hand is not necessarily work, it can be play, and more on that soon.

3. You finish important projects

This one stems directly from being creative and organized. The successful creative understands when they should abandon certain projects and keep on with others. So, you organize your priorities, and you follow through on what’s most pertinent. If you think about it, what else is time management about? You use your time to indulge the passions and projects that are indispensable to your being.

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4. You find time to daydream and play

According to Kaufmann and Gregoire, “A review of the latest science of daydreaming has shown that mind wandering offers very personal rewards, including creative incubation, self-awareness, future planning, reflection on the meaning of one’s experiences, and even compassion.”[2]

Note that future planning plays a role in daydreaming, as it does in time management. A balance between discipline and play creates a fertile field, from which your mind grows ideas when you’re relaxed and having fun. You make time to rejuvenate your brain with outdoor activities; doing so improves creativity by 50%[3], and a creative mind is one of the hallmarks of a good time manager.

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5. You maintain focus

Focus is the key to completing tasks, and you know this, which is why you’ve mastered maintaining focus, even when there are a lot of distractions. You set up your work space to facilitate work using your organization skills, and you make sure distractions don’t intrude. You make sure the people around you know you’re working, which creates the window of focus-time you need. You know how to redirect your attention when a distraction does grab you, and you’re able to address distractions competently. Finally, you remind yourself of priorities with regularity, ensuring you stay on task.

6. You’re on top of your budget

If there’s any truth to the saying “Time is money”, then effective budgeting is time management. As a great time manager, you employ at least several of the ways to budget for happiness. You find multiple ways to save money each month. You minimize food expenses by eating out less and cooking more. You have an emergency fund and other resources set aside for tough times. You make sure ordinary necessities are taken care of, you grow food and craft household items. Finally, you include the cost of play, relaxation, and new experiences in your budget.

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7. You get exercise

The benefits of exercise are plenty, which is why you incorporate it into your schedule. That, and you just like the way you feel when you exercise. Through regular exercise, your memory improves, you’re less depressed, and you learn faster. It may keep you looking young longer, but you’re not worried about that because you’re too busy being active. Your skin looks great, and you have the right amount of fat for your body type.

8. You’re there for people (within reason)

Particularly if you’re an extrovert, you find there are a lot people in your life, and you relish the time you spend with them. If you’re an introvert, you have to make a point to include other people in your life, and when you do, it’s rewarding. In any case, a social life is necessary for the well-rounded person. But you strike a balance. Too much social time means you’re not writing that book you need to finish, or if you’re a social worker, it means you’re not getting enough self-care. Whatever the case, a balance between social life and other priorities is a sign you manage your time well.

9. You know what to ignore

Your BS meter is truly tuned in to things that are a waste of your time. No one has time for everything, and you’ve got to weed out the things that just aren’t worth it; for you, this is a no-brainer. Congratulate yourself for having an exceptionally fine filter.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via pixabay.com

Reference

[1] Square, Inc: 5 Habits of Highly Creative People
[2] Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire: Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind
[3] American Graphics Institute: How To Improve Creativity By 50%

More by this author

Dan Matthews, CPRP

A Certified Psychosocial Rehabilitation Practitioner with an extensive background working with clients on community-based rehabilitation.

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

How to Stop Information Overload

How to Stop Information Overload

Information overload is a creature that has been growing on the Internet’s back since its beginnings. The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.

This has to stop somewhere. And it can.

As the year comes to a close, there’s no time like the present to make the overloading stop.

But before I explain exactly what I mean, let’s discuss information overload in general.

How Serious Is Information Overload?

The sole fact that there’s more and more information published online every single day is not the actual problem. Only the quality information becomes the problem.

This sounds kind of strange…but bear with me.

When we see some half-baked blog posts we don’t even consider reading, we just skip to the next thing. But when we see something truly interesting — maybe even epic — we want to consume it.

We even feel like we have to consume it. And that’s the real problem.

No matter what topic we’re interested in, there are always hundreds of quality blogs publishing entries every single day (or every other day). Not to mention all the forums, message boards, social news sites, and so on.

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The amount of epic content on the Internet these days is so big that it’s virtually impossible for us to digest it all. But we try anyway.

That’s when we feel overloaded. If you’re not careful, one day you’ll find yourself reading the 15th blog post in a row on some nice WordPress tweaking techniques because you feel that for some reason, “you need to know this.”

Information overload is a plague. There’s no vaccine, there’s no cure. The only thing you have is self-control.

Luckily, you’re not on your own. There are some tips you can follow to protect yourself from information overload and, ultimately, fight it.

But first, admit that information overload is really bad for you.

Why Information Overload Is Bad for You

Information overload stops you from taking action. That’s the biggest problem here.

When you try to consume more and more information every day, you start to notice that even though you’ve been reading tons of articles, watching tons of videos and listening to tons of podcasts, the stream of incoming information seems to be infinite.

Therefore, you convince yourself that you need to be on a constant lookout for new information if you want to be able to accomplish anything in your life, work and/or passion. The final result is that you are consuming way too much information, and taking way too little action because you don’t have enough time for it.

The belief that you need to be on this constant lookout for information is just not true.

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You don’t need every piece of advice possible to live your life, do your work or enjoy your passion.

How to Stop Information Overload (And Start to Achieve More)

So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with setting goals.

1. Set Your Goals

If you don’t have your goals put in place, you’ll be just running around grabbing every possible advice and thinking that it’s “just what you’ve been looking for.”

Setting goals is a much more profound task than just a way to get rid of information overload. Now by “goals” I don’t mean things like “get rich, have kids, and live a good life”. I mean something much more within your immediate grasp. Something that can be achieved in the near future — like within a month (or a year) at most.

Basically, something that you want to attract to your life, and you already have some plan on how you’re going to make it happen. So no hopes and dreams, just actionable, precise goals.

Then once you have your goals, they become a set of strategies and tactics you need to act upon.

2. Know What to Skip When Facing New Information

Once you have your goals, plans, strategies and tasks, you can use them to decide what information is really crucial.

First of all, if the information you’re about to read has nothing to do with your current goals and plans, then skip it. You don’t need it.

If it does, then ask yourself these questions:

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  • Will you be able to put this information into action immediately?
  • Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks?
  • Is it so incredible that you absolutely need to take action on it right away?

If the information is not actionable in a day or two, then skip it.

(You’ll forget about it anyway.)

And that’s basically it. Digest only what can be used immediately. If you have a task that you need to do, consume only the information necessary for getting this one task done, nothing more.

You need to be focused in order to have clear judgment, and be able to decide whether some piece of information is mandatory or redundant.

Self-control comes handy too. It’s quite easy to convince yourself that you really need something just because of poor self-control. Try to fight this temptation, and be as ruthless about it as possible – if the information is not matching your goals and plans, and you can’t take action on it in the near future, then SKIP IT.

3. Be Aware of the Minimal Effective Dose

There’s a thing called the MED – Minimal Effective Dose. I was first introduced to this idea by Tim Ferriss. In his book The 4-Hour BodyTim illustrates the minimal effective dose by talking about medical drugs.

Everybody knows that every pill has a MED, and after that specific dose, no other positive effects occur, only some negative side effects if you overdose big.

Consuming information is somewhat similar. You need just a precise amount of it to help you to achieve your goals and put your plans into life.

Everything more than that amount won’t improve your results any further. And if you try to consume too much of it, it will eventually stop you from taking any action altogether.

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4. Don’t Procrastinate by Consuming More Information

Probably one of the most common causes of consuming ridiculous amounts of information is the need to procrastinate. By reading yet another article, we often feel that we are indeed working, and that we’re doing something good – we’re learning, which in result will make us a more complete and educated person.

This is just self-deception. The truth is we’re simply procrastinating. We don’t feel like doing what really needs to be done – the important stuff – so instead we find something else, and convince ourselves that “that thing” is equally important. Which is just not true.

Don’t consume information just for the sake of it. It gets you nowhere.

The focus of this article is not on how to stop procrastinating, but if you’re having such issue, I recommend you read this:

Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

Summing It Up

As you can see, information overload can be a real problem and it can have a sever impact on your productivity and overall performance.

I know I have had my share of problems with it (and probably still have from time to time). But creating this simple set of rules helps me to fight it, and to keep my lizard brain from taking over.

I hope it helps you too, especially as we head into a new year with a new chance at setting ourselves up for success.

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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