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Published on February 18, 2021

The Truth About the Value of Time in Life

The Truth About the Value of Time in Life

I’m sure you’ve heard people say that “time is precious”.

While this is a true statement, unfortunately, most people continue to waste their time on things that don’t really matter or things that don’t support their goals and dreams.

Stuff like constantly checking social media feeds, gossiping and procrastinating.

This time wasting is usually done subconsciously. In other words, people — perhaps including yourself — don’t even realize that they’re practicing unproductive behavior.

The good news is that there are some quick and easy methods that you can adopt that will make you a master of both your time and your life.

And the best news?

I’ll be showing you exactly how to benefit from these methods in this article.

Wasted Time Is Wasted Life

At work, you’ve probably noticed that many people waste valuable time through being disorganized.

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Their inbox is full of unread emails. Their desk is cluttered with junk. And their presentations at meetings are often rushed and unprepared.

These people are not lazy. In fact, often they are incredibly hardworking and committed to their job. However, through their lack of organization, they throw away their time and energy.

At home, many people waste time on endlessly searching the web and binge-watching the latest Netflix shows. Social media is also a massive time killer. For instance, if you spend just an hour a day looking/interacting with social media, that will equate to 15 full days of your year. In that time, you could have learned how to meditate or begun to retrain for a change in career.

While it’s fine to spend some time on social media and watching TV — if you want to get on in life — you should make sure that a portion of your home time is given over to staying fit and healthy through proper diet and exercise. Home time is also ideal for learning new things through books, videos and courses.

Just imagine how much more productive someone would become if they learned to be organized at work and disciplined and creative at home. The answer is a ton! But it’s not just their productivity that will be boosted. Perhaps more importantly, the person’s self-esteem and confidence will be increased too.

If you recognize yourself in any of the above examples, then don’t worry, as I’m going to explain now how you can become a master of time.

How to Take Back Control of Your Time

Mastering your time is essential if you want to be in control of your life and destiny.

Fortunately, time management is simple to learn and easy to implement.

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The first thing you need to understand is how to prioritize your tasks and responsibilities.

For example, what’s the first thing you always do when you log in for the day at work? Do you go through all your emails?

If you do, you might be surprised to know that going through all your emails is not the most productive start to the working day. Instead, you should spend the first 5-10 minutes of your day making a list of what tasks and projects you need to complete. Once you have your list, you should then sort then into order of priority. Urgent tasks at the top of your list, non-essential tasks at the bottom of your list.

When you do this daily, you’ll notice four positive things that occur in your life:

  1. You’ll always hit your deadlines
  2. You’ll get more work done
  3. You’ll feel in control
  4. You’ll be relaxed and free from stress

And it’s not just work stuff that can be prioritized in this manner. You can do the same for your personal stuff such as preparing meals, doing your laundry and walking your dog.

You just need to decide at the start of your day/week what are your MUST HAVES, SHOULD HAVES and GOOD TO HAVES.

Your essential tasks such as buying food and preparing your tax returns would go into the first category; tasks such as cleaning your home and filling up your car would likely go into the second category; while tasks such as chatting with your friends on Zoom would fall into the third category.

I also recommend that you create your to-do lists based on your life purpose. That way, everything you do will be aligned towards achieving your goals. If you need help prioritizing your daily demands so they align with your life purpose, get this free guide Create More Time Out Of A Busy Schedule. With this guide, you’ll learn how to identify your must haves, should haves and good to haves, and plan your life in a more meaningful way. Grab your free guide here.

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Another strategy to help you master your time is to consider this comparison between time and money:

The majority of people choose to focus on money — specifically, trying to earn as much money as they can — rather than focusing on time. However, if you think about it for a moment, money comes and goes, but when time passes by you can never get it back. Plus time is also strictly limited, as each of us only gets to spend a few decades on this planet.

A further thing I’d like you to consider is quality versus quantity.

Your quality of life is defined by your quality of time. Your minutes make your hours and your hours make your days. So how you spend each moment is critical to how you live your life.

To help you put your focus on quality of time and quality of life, ask yourself now these questions:

  • How much time in a day do you spend being angry, anxious or unhappy?
  • How much time in a day do you spend connecting with a loved one as opposed to just being in the same room as them?
  • How much time in a day do you spend doing things you really don’t enjoy?
  • How much time do you allow for improving yourself each day, week, month or year?

If these questions highlight weaknesses in how you use your time, then please feel don’t feel bad about it. Instead, start taking actions to address the issues. This will put you on the road to being in charge of the quality of your time and life.

Remember: Time is finite, so instead of wasting it, make the most of it!

If you need more help with managing your time, then I highly recommend you sign up to our free Fast-Track Class – No More Procrastination. This 30-minute session will teach you a simple and practical way to defeat procrastination, one of the biggest problems that plagues almost everybody. You’ll discover what triggers your procrastination, and you’ll also be given a strategy to fight and defeat it.

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A New You

Mastering your time will enable you to master your life.

You’ll go from being an average achiever to a super achiever. And this won’t involve any extra work on your part — it’ll just require you to adopt a new organized approach to all areas of your life.

You won’t have to wait years to see the results either. In fact, I’d expect you to see positive results within just a few days. And once you see these results for yourself, you’ll naturally want to keep going with your new time management approach.

With your new mastery of time, you’ll be more productive at home and work, you’ll be mentally and physically fitter, and you’ll be happier and more satisfied with your life then ever before.

This transformation will literally create a new you!

“Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination: never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” — Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield

As the quote above so powerfully states, don’t let time pass you by. Instead, begin right now to take positive action.

To make sure you’re taking actions that truly matter, make use of the free guide The Dreamers’ Guide for Taking Action and Making Goals Happen. In this guide, you’ll discover how to prioritize your actions and achieve what you truly want for life.

Featured photo credit: Rodion Kutsaev via unsplash.com

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on March 4, 2021

7 Ways to Concentrate Better in a Toxic Work Environment

7 Ways to Concentrate Better in a Toxic Work Environment

Many of us have had the misfortune of working in a toxic work environment, where the atmosphere in the workplace is filled with negativity and politics. It’s unpleasant and can lead to stress, anxiety, and a more negative outlook on life.

Many years ago, I found myself working in a small country house hotel and restaurant with a team of great front-of-house people who worked well together, but with a newly installed kitchen team that saw front-of-house employees as the enemy. They wanted to create conflict where there previously was none.

The kitchen team was led by a highly respected head chef who was a minor celebrity TV chef, and when he joined our hotel, he insisted on bringing in his own team. This meant the existing kitchen team was fired, almost without notice, and overnight we were dealing with a team of strangers.

At first managing this negative work culture was easy; we just stayed out of the kitchen as much as possible. But then one day, the general manager of the hotel left, and he was replaced by the head chef. From then on, it felt like open warfare.

In less than a week, a workplace that was a pleasure to go to turned into a nightmare. I remember driving to work with a feeling of dread, bordering on fear. I wasn’t sleeping well, I smoked a lot more, and I had this constant, horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach, even on days when I was not working.

I remember one evening after we had finished a shift, and all the customers and kitchen team had gone home, sitting down with a colleague to talk about the situation. I was fortunate as my colleague was a little older and wiser than I, and he had a forward-looking, philosophical attitude to life. He taught me that no matter the environment you are working in, if you focus on doing your best work every day, and avoid getting caught up in the politics, you can rise above it.

Looking back now, I am glad I experienced this culture. I learned a lot about how to deal with negativity in a toxic work environment, and the lessons I learned then still help me today.

What Causes a Toxic Work Environment?

A toxic work environment can come about in many ways, but poor communication is often at the root of it. This may include a lack of communication between the boss and the employees regarding roles and expectations, or a lack of communication between coworkers that leads to misunderstandings and resentment.

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Poor leadership is another common culprit. If a workplace lacks a good leader, it can lead to a chaotic workplace or one where everyone looks out for only themselves instead of working together. In my case, the head chef favored one set of employees, making it difficult for the other set to enjoy their work.

If a workplace has little opportunity for growth or learning, it can also turn toxic. When workers feel stagnant, they can experience the effects of burnout and boredom, which can cause other coworkers to feel less motivated to do their work well.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to manage your mindset in a toxic work environment.

How to Concentrate in a Toxic Work Environment

Here are seven lessons I learned from experiencing two years of working in a highly toxic work environment.

1. Don’t Get Sucked in

We are faced with a choice in a toxic work environment. You can react to the negativity and become part of the problem, or you can rise above it. Rising above it involves not being provoked. Allow the negativity to pass over you.

Instead, focus on doing the best work you can. When you arrive at work, start your day.

If you are in sales, focus on being the best sales person. If you are in administration, focus on making sure you do your work accurately and in a timely way. If you are a bar manager (as I was), make sure your bar is clean, stocked, and open for business when the first customer comes in.

Don’t give the negative influences and passive aggressive coworkers an excuse to attack you. When you see negative energy coming your way, pause, identify the emotions that are surfacing, and let them pass.

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This, of course, can be easier said than done. For a little extra help, check out Lifehack’s free guide: End Distraction And Find Your Focus.

2. Become a Beacon of Positivity

Often a toxic work environment is caused by workplace bullying. When you see this happening, become a rock of support for the person or people experiencing these attacks to help them feel safe and heard. Be nice, attentive, and understanding. If you see your colleague make a mistake, quietly fix the mistake or gently point it out.

Never attack or be negative. Instead, be a good listener, offer support, and take your attacked colleague out for lunch and give them the space to talk things through.

If there are signs of a toxic workplace, having a non-judgmental colleague who offers support, an ear to listen, and kindness applies an antidote to the stress, upset, and fear[1].

Surviving a toxic work environment

    3. Have a Plan

    The best way to stay away from the negativity is to have a plan for the day. How will you start the day? What tasks will you accomplish by the end of the day?

    Having a plan for the day takes your focus away from the toxicity around you and puts your focus on doing your work.

    For me, I made sure the first task I did when I arrived at work was to clean my bar and make sure my fridges were stocked. I did not want to give an excuse to the unpleasant members of the team to attack me. My purpose every morning was to set an example, to be ready for when the diners came in. And when the diners did come in, I gave them my full, undivided attention.

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    This focus on my plan for the day kept me away from the politics. It gave me a positive purpose and enabled me to stay above what was going on around me.

    If you’ve lost your motivation while working in a toxic environment, you can check out this Lifehack Fast-Track Class to get back on track: Activate Your Motivation

    4. Stay Away From the Toxic People

    This is often easier said than done. Sometimes, the toxic people in your organization are your bosses and are unavoidable. However, in most workplaces today, there are quiet corners where you can get on with your work when you see the red flags of a hostile workplace.

    Working in an open-plan office can leave us at the mercy of disruptive colleagues and bosses, but if you can find yourself a quiet corner where you can get your head down and do you work, you will, for the most part, stay away from the negative forces working around you.

    When you “hang out” with the toxic people, they will drag you into their toxicity. Quietly and calmly explaining you have a lot of work to get on with and moving to a different place leaves you less vulnerable to their negative influence.

    5. Talk to Your HR Department

    This is one where you need to be careful. You do not want to make accusations or get involved in a blame game when you’re in a toxic work environment. Instead, you want to explain to your HR department that you find it difficult working with a particular person or team[2], and that it’s beginning to negatively affect your personal life.

    Where possible, make it out that this is your fault, not theirs—you do not want to make things worse for yourself. Explain that for you to do your work, you need to be moved somewhere else so you can concentrate and be more focused.

    In a toxic work environment, you will find your HR team is likely fully aware of the problem and will understand your request and do whatever they can to accommodate you.

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    The worst thing you can do is ignore the problem. If the situation is preventing you from doing your work, you need to have that conversation with HR, or if you do not have an HR department, your boss.

    You can learn more about when to go to HR or your boss here.

    6. Listen to Music

    Buy yourself some headphones, not earphones. This is a trick I use on airplanes. Sometimes I want to be left alone to think, read, or just be left with my thoughts. Having my headphones on stops my fellow passengers from interrupting me with questions about what I do, where I’m from, and where I’m going.

    In a toxic work environment, wearing headphones achieves the same result. When we see someone with a pair of headphones on, we automatically leave them alone unless we urgently need to ask them something.

    Whether you actually listen to music or not is less important. The wearing of headphones prevents interruptions and allows you to quietly get on with your work.

    7. Work From Home

    With the current global pandemic, the ability to work from home is more accessible than ever before. Being able to stay outside your toxic work environment will allow you to focus on your work and not on what is going on around you.

    If you do have the option to work from home, then do so for your mental and physical health. One thing I learned is that the people causing the toxic environment do not last long in a company, and the turnover rate is quite high. They either move on by their own accord or are fired or moved to another position where they can cause less harm.

    Final Thoughts

    I have intentionally not suggested that you leave your job, but if you do find yourself feeling stressed and fearful, then the best advice would be to find another company. Nobody should work in a toxic work environment, and if you have taken all the necessary steps to resolve the issue with your company and nothing changes, then you should take steps to leave.

    I understand this can be very difficult, particularly with a complicated job environment and toxic employees around you, but the harm to your health and wellbeing is not worth it. If you need the income, then start looking for a new job and work life. The good news is most companies do not have toxic work cultures, and with a little effort, you should be able to find a new job.

    More on Dealing With a Negative Workplace

    Featured photo credit: Siavash Ghanbari via unsplash.com

    Reference

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