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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 October 15, 2019

Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

Why we procrastinate after all

We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”.[1]

Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

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To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

So, is procrastination bad?

Yes it is.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

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The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

How bad procrastination can be

Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

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After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article:

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8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

Procrastination, a technical failure

Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

Reference

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