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Want To Be More Successful? You Should Follow This Rule To Manage Your Time

Want To Be More Successful? You Should Follow This Rule To Manage Your Time

Quick question…how much do you know about time? Think about it for a moment. Shouldn’t you really know? After all, whether you realize it or not you’ve spent a very long time trying to manage it. How’s it working out for you?

Most likely when you get up in the morning you think about your schedule or the things you need to get done that day. You’ve prioritized your list in your day planner and you’re ready to go.

Be honest, by the end of the day you’re amazed at how fast the day went wondering why you didn’t get much done. The answer may be simple. Maybe everything you’ve learned about managing time is a complete waste of time.[1]

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Time To Understand

“Time is an illusion.” – Albert Einstein

The gurus of time management seem to have an edge. The 4-Hour Workweek Author, Tim Ferris seems to know a great deal about time management. What does he know that you don’t? Let’s try to understand time first. In simple terms, time is when stuff happens. We tend to limit our definition of time to a clock. But time is more sophisticated than that. The other type of time is real time.

Clock time is measured in minutes, hours, days, etc. With clock time, all time passes equally. When someone turns 20 they are exactly 20-years-old, no more, no less. With real time, all time is relative depending on your point of view. 2 hours spent at the dentist can feel like 5 years. 5 hours spent at a beautiful beach can feel like 10 minutes. You get the picture.

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Are You Living In Real Time Or Clock Time?

Which type of time do you live in? If you’re using time management tools and gadgets you’re living in clock time and clock time is irrelevant. You live in real time. The good news is real time is mental and you create it. And anything you create you can manage. Now you have to power to remove those self-imposed limitations of “not having enough time” or “it’s not the right time”. So stop looking at the clock every time you need to get something done.

Time Is Of The Essence, Spend It Wisely

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” – William Penn

Becoming the master of your own time requires an understanding of three ways to spend time: thoughts, conversations and actions. No matter what business you’re in, your work will always encompass these three things.

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To better understand this concept, think of what you normally do to manage your time. Planning your tasks within blocks of time during the day does not work. Your focus is on clock time which is irrelevant. Chances are you won’t get much work done because you’re limiting yourself to a timeframe.

Instead of putting a time schedule on the things you need to get done, focus on the real time productive thoughts, conversations and actions that will produce the most results. For example, your thoughts are the tasks you need to get done, the conversations are the plans you create to accomplish them and the action is what you do to get them completed. There is no timeframe to concern yourself with because you are working in real time.

Here are some techniques you can follow to help you master your own time:

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  1. Carry a note book and write down your thoughts, conversations and activities for a week. This will give you an idea of how much you can accomplish during the day and where you time is being spent.
  2. Every day spend 30 minutes to plan your day but don’t assign timeframes.
  3. Allow time for interruptions and plan time to be taken away from what you’re doing.
  4. Spend 50 percent of your time committed to the thoughts, conversations and activities that generate most of your results.
  5. Only assign a time to any conversation or activity that’s important to your success.
  6. Understand that it is impossible to get everything completed.
  7. The odds are good that 20 percent of your thoughts, conversations and activities produce 80 percent of your results.

Mastering your time is a worthwhile endeavor. By removing your thoughts from the limiting influence of timeframes you’re free to manage your time through creative thoughts, conversations and activities that produce measurable results. Everyone is different with their creativity so give it a try and see what your creative mind can come up with.

Reference

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Anthony Pica

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on June 18, 2019

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Making Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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