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How 30 Minutes of Daily “Me Time” Improves Your Productivity

How 30 Minutes of Daily “Me Time” Improves Your Productivity
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Living in the twenty-first century is fantastic. The things we have access to every day allow us to live lives of immense convenience.

We can now talk to our friends across the seas in real-time, and we can order our favorite food via a phone app and have it delivered within 30 minutes. This is a far cry from 50 years ago when it would have taken up to a month for a letter to go from London to New York. And if you lived in London in 1950, you probably have never heard of pizza.

We have a lot to be grateful for, but with all this convenience comes a few downsides. As it is so much easier to contact other people, we are have now become more dependent on our electronic devices, demanding our attention every minute of the day.

Long gone are the days when if you wanted some quiet time, you would take the phone off the hook. Or if you decided to go hiking in the hills on a weekend you could enjoy complete solitude.

Now, not having your phone on you would attract weird looks from other people. We have to make an excuse like the battery went dead or your phone was stolen.

All You Need is 30 Minutes

All these interruptions and demands for our attention destroy our ability to focus on ourselves. Instead, we are pushed to focus on other people. But if you were to set aside a bit of time each day to yourself, you would be able to identify and focus on your priorities and the things you want for yourself.

It is when you focus on your priorities that you start to achieve the things you have always wanted to achieve. This can also make you a positive beacon for other people. You start to lead others instead of just following.

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Robin Sharma has spoken and written about what he calls The 5 AM Club. This is where you wake up at 5 AM, do twenty minutes of exercise, twenty minutes of planning, and twenty minutes of learning. Giving yourself this one hour each day to focus on yourself helps set up a fantastic day.

This may not be for everyone, but if you can go to bed early enough, you will wake up every morning feeling better.

You do not need to spend a whole hour on yourself each day to get the productivity benefits of solitude and “me time”.

All you need is 30 minutes.

There are a lot of things that you can do in 30 minutes, and most of them can give you a boost in productivity. Here are a few:

Focus on Your Priorities

Many people have goals and aspirations they claim they never have time to work on. But if you give yourself enough time to reflect on your day and plan the next, you will be able to focus on your priorities better and plan how you will spend your time doing them.

There is a simple method that can help people focus on their priorities called the 2+8 Prioritisation System. In this system, you set two objectives that you absolutely have to accomplish within the day and set eight other tasks related to these objectives that you will try to complete.

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It only takes ten minutes to do, but the results can be incredible. It means you begin the day with a plan and an intention, and this helps you resist the urge to give in to other people’s priorities.

As the late Jim Rohn wonderfully said:

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”

Your productivity increases dramatically when you begin the day with a plan. When you do not have a plan, the least important things may hijack your day.

Me Time Gives Your Mind a Chance to Rest

With so much going on in the world, it is easy to get caught up in the drama and fears of everyday life. The reality is that very few of these dramas and events have any real impact on you.

Your mind is designed to seek out dangers and make these perceived dangers seem more important than they really are. This is how our ancestors survived on the savannahs hundreds of thousands of years ago.

Yet the dangers we are pre-programmed to avoid no longer exist. However, news organizations discovered that sensationalized news sells. They fill the void by feeding us scare stories that make us react in predictable ways—panic buying toilet paper, for example.

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Giving yourself a little time each day to jump off this cycle and to focus on your priorities gives you some much-needed perspective in this volatile world. This will help you get your most important works done without being caught up in other less important things.

Scheduling downtime for yourself and your mind is very important. It keeps you focused on the here and now and the things that matter the most for you.

Anchors Keep You Grounded

Having a few anchors in your life keeps you focused on the important things. Have a morning routine dedicated to self-care, make time for daily exercises, and spend quality time with your family. These are essentials that should be non-negotiable.

Your boss, customers, friends, and colleagues should never be allowed to take that time away from you, and the only way that can happen is if you let them.

People like Gary Vaynerchuk and Casey Niestatt work hard. Yet if you look at their schedules, they dedicate two or three hours of family time each day and at least an hour for exercise. These are their daily anchors, and these anchors are non-negotiable.

Your time is your most valuable asset. The time, health, and energy you have today are never guaranteed and could be taken away from you in an instant. It is important to protect your time, and you should learn to say no to the things you have no interest in.

Of course, it easier to write that and a lot more difficult to do, but so is learning to play golf or the guitar. With practice and a few weeks of consistent practice, you start to play these at a reasonable level and the same goes for learning to say no.

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At first, it will be very hard and uncomfortable, and you will feel guilty. But after some time, you will stop being a yes-man. Instead, you will learn how to say no and protect your own time. You will be able to focus on the activities that you think are important to you.

Make Your Me Time a Non-Negotiable Part of Your Day

Schedule 30 minutes every day for yourself. Put it on your calendar and make sure you never allow anyone to take it away from you. Use this time to plan the day, read books, meditate or just get some fresh air without any distractions.

If you find it difficult to include your me time as a non-negotiable part of your day, you can always try to learn how to find time for yourself.

Allow your mind to wander to enjoy the things around you and to get new perspectives in life. Doing these keeps you focused on your life and your priorities, and you will then notice an improvement in your productivity because you are more focused on the truly important things.

Learn More About the Benefits of Me Time

Featured photo credit: BhAvik SuThar via unsplash.com

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Carl Pullein

Dedicated to helping people to achieve their maximum potential through better time management and productivity.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

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

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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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 Creating 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.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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