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How to Manage Time for a Truly Balanced Life

How to Manage Time for a Truly Balanced Life

Health and meaningful relationships add years and quality to our lives. Few people contest this fact.  Does it then follow that more people are focusing on these areas of their lives?  Do you regularly exercise and go for holidays or fun meals with your spouse/partner and family?  If the answer is no, why not?  Expense could be an issue.  If your reason is  “I can’t find the time,”  you’re not alone.  You keep track of your expenses and know how much your bank balance is, but do you also know exactly where your time goes?  Here are simple tools to manage time and become conscious of how you spend it.

1. Pause and review your past week.

You attend to many things at work and after work.  How do you decide on which tasks to prioritize?  Usually, you first do those that need to be finished sooner or whose deadlines are looming.  This generally works, but over the long term it could turn into crisis management rather than a way to manage time.  Cheryl Richardson in her book Take Time for Your Life challenges us to check where our time goes. Determined to get an accurate indicator for the exercise, I came up with these forms that assign colors per Life Area to make it visually easier to track time.

First, look over a typical week.  On the Time Tracking Daily Form, block the hours spent per day according to color of the Life Area they fall under.

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    Next, total those hours by Life Areas on the Time Tracking Weekly Totals Form. An optional step is to convert those weekly totals to a pie chart for a more dramatic visual.

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      So just where does your time go?  Aside from sleeping and eating, which area of your life do you spend the most time on? Which life area gets the smallest portion?  I had expected work to eat up a big chunk of my time, but was surprised at how little I spent on Spiritual well-being and on Fun and Adventure.

      2. Make a plan to manage time; decide which life areas need attention.

      These forms are not absolute and have room for improvement.  Exercise, for example, is grouped with sleeping under Physical and Emotional Health. Although this area gets the largest share of your time, it does not necessarily mean you are spending that time on exercise.  Watching TV falls under Fun and Adventure, but it’s a poor substitute for traveling or participating in a hobby. Reading falls under Physical and Emotional Health when it could actually be considered a hobby.  You can tweak the activities that go under each life area or even change the colors altogether.  What’s important is you’re aware of the other areas of your life you may be neglecting and can then decide to manage time so these get more attention.

      The Simple Abundance Companion author, Sarah Ban Breathnach remembers the shock she had felt while looking at her calendar and realizing, in her own words, that “there was no space in the day, week, or month for me to take care of my needs.” She talks about how our inability to say no to family, friends, colleagues, and volunteer work can quickly fill up our calendars, leaving no time for ourselves. Taking action, she set aside two hours a week on her calendar just for her.  She didn’t label it, but blocked the time with a bright yellow marker. This visual prompt made it easy for her to say no to any activity that was in conflict with her “just my own” time.  Her color-blocking tip inspired me to use colors on my weekly and daily schedules.

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      3. Prepare your weekly to-do list and daily schedule to prioritize those life areas you want to focus on.

      Planning what you want to accomplish on a weekly basis works well.  List the tasks by Life Area on the Weekly To-Do List.

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        These tasks can then be carried over to your Daily Schedule.  At the end of each day and week, review what you have accomplished.  The colors will clearly show which life areas you spent most of your day and the week on. You can then decide to focus on the other areas in the coming days and weeks.

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          Often, there will be demands on your time beyond your control. These effective, colorful tools will equip you with some leeway for deciding how you spend your time.  Consider it like a bank or expense account that shows you where your money goes.  Unlike money, time is a finite resource.  Once spent, it can never be recovered. When you consciously manage time, you can balance not just your finances, but more importantly, your life.

          Featured photo credit: Hour Glass, flickr, Nicole Gaunt via flickr.com

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          Last Updated on November 18, 2020

          50 Habits of Highly Successful People You Should Learn

          50 Habits of Highly Successful People You Should Learn

          If you’re like me and really into self-development, you’ve probably read many of the thousands of self-help books out there on the market. But also like me, you probably find all the information a bit overwhelming.

          That’s why I wanted to do the self-less task of taking the most important, life-changing lessons I’ve drawn from these books and condensed them into 50 key points.

          Here’re 50 habits of successful people you should learn:

          1. Believe It to See It

          Our minds tend to focus on what’s happening around us and refuse to see what could happen. Only when you trust in what’s possible and dare to dream big, big things can happen for you.

          2. See Problems as a Wonderful Gift

          While others only see problems and give up, successful people use the problem as a lesson to find improvement in themselves or the task at hand.

          3. Keep Looking for Solutions

          Even if they’re knee-deep in problems, successful people will still put all of their focus on finding solutions.

          4. Remember It’s All About the Journey

          Successful people are conscious and methodical in creating their own success. They don’t sit around doing the bare minimum, hoping success finds them.

          5. Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

          There’s so much fear on the road to success, but instead of letting that fear control and limit them, successful people do a good job of just forging ahead regardless.

          6. Always Ask Productive Questions

          It’s all about asking the right questions. Successful people make sure they are questions that will elicit information for a more productive, creative and positive mindset moving forward.

          7. Understand the Best Waste of Energy Is Complaining

          Successful people know that choosing to see the negative side of things will only create a useless and unproductive state.

          8. Don’t Play the Blame Game

          Taking responsibility for actions and outcomes is a form of empowerment that you can build your success upon. While the act of blaming others or outside circumstances takes this empowerment away from you.

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          9. Maximize Your Strengths

          Not every successful person is simply more talented than the rest, but they do use what they know they’re good at to achieve more successful results.

          10. Be in It to Win It

          Successful people are busy, productive and proactive. Instead of sitting around over-thinking and over-planning a great idea, they just take a step towards it no matter how small.

          11. Know That Success Attracts Success

          People who are successful surround themselves and seek out like-minded people. They understand the importance of being part of a team and forge win-win relationships.

          12. Actually Choose to Be Successful

          Dreaming big is a massive part of being successful even if your dream seems impossible. Ambition is a mindset that needs to be a daily conscious choice.

          13. Visualize, Visualize, Visualize!

          You’ve got to see your success in your mind’s eye even before it comes. Successful people clarify and get that certainty about what they want their reality to look like rather than being mere spectators of life.

          14. Be a One-Off Original

          Successful people look for what’s working and then create a unique spin on it. Imitating only regurgitates other people’s ideas with no originality.

          15. The Perfect Time to Act Is Now

          Waiting for the right time to act is basically procrastination wrapped up in an excuse. Successful people know there’s never a perfect time so they may as well just do it now.

          16. Keep Learning, Keep Growing

          Continuous learning is the key to a successful life. Whether it’s academic, being a student of life or actionable learning, it’s all about expanding your knowledge and personal development.

          17. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

          Successful people have the knack for finding positive aspects in all people and circumstances no matter what.

          18. Having a Bad Day? Do It Anyway!

          We all have bad moods but it shouldn’t be an excuse to stop everything. Giving into a bad mood just stop-starts your life, slowing success way down.

          19. Sometimes Risky Business Is Needed

          Calculated risks are a must for success. It’s about weighing the pros and cons while moving forward with that element of trust.

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          20. Accept Challenge All the Time

          Dealing with problems head-on is a must to be successful. Successful people also face challenges in order to improve themselves.

          21. Make Your Own Luck

          In the mindset of a successful person, there’s no such thing as ‘luck’ or ‘fate’. They take control to actively and consciously create their own best life.

          22. Ignite Your Initiative

          While many people are reactive, successful people are proactive – taking action before they have to.

          23. Be the Master of Your Emotions

          Being effective at managing emotions is key on the road to success. That’s not to say successful people don’t feel like we all do, but they’re just not slaves to their emotions.

          24. Champion in Communication

          Consciously working on effective communication skills gets anyone closer to success.

          25. Plan Your Life Strategically

          Successful people’s lives aren’t a clumsy series of unplanned events and outcomes, they methodically work at turning their plans into a reality.

          26. Become Exceptional at What You Do

          To become exceptional, you typically have to do things that most won’t. To become successful, hard decisions need to be made and acting on them is crucial.

          27. Choose to Live Outside of Your Comfort Zone

          While many people are pleasure junkies and avoid pain and discomfort at all costs, successful people understand the value and benefits of working through the tough stuff that most would avoid.

          28. Live by Core Values

          Successful people firstly identify their core values and what’s important to them, then do their best to live a life that reflects these values.

          29. Realize Money Isn’t Everything

          Money and success are not interchangeable and the most successful people understand this. Putting money on a pedestal and equating it to success is a dangerous mindset to have. Success comes in many forms.

          30. Don’t Get Carried Away

          Successful people understand the importance of discipline and self-control and as a result they are happy to take the road less travelled.

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          31. Self-Worth Is Not Tied to Success

          Successful people are secure. They do not derive their self-worth from what they own, who they know, where they live or what they look like.

          32. Kindness Breeds Kindness (And Success)

          Generosity and kindness is a common trait among long-term successful people. It’s important to take pleasure in helping others achieve.

          33. More Humility, Less Arrogance

          Successful people are humble and happy to admit and apologize for mistakes. This is because they’re confident in their ability. They are happy to learn from others and happy to make others look good rather than seek their own personal glory.

          34. Change Opens New Doors

          People who are successful are adaptable and embrace change, while the majority are creatures of comfort and habit. They are comfortable with, and embrace, the new and the unfamiliar.

          35. Success Requires a Healthy Body

          It’s not just how you think, it’s about how you show up for success. Successful people understand the importance of being physically well, not for vain reasons but because being in tiptop condition creates a better personal life for success.

          36. Laziness Just Doesn’t Exist

          Successful people are never considered lazy. Yes, they can relax when they need to, but working hard is their game.

          37. Resilience by the Bucket Load

          When difficulty strikes, most would throw in the towel, but successful people are just warming up.

          38. Feedback Is Just Another Chance to Improve

          How people react to feedback determines their potential for success. Being open to constructive criticism and acting on it to improve is most seen in those who are successful.

          39. Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe

          If people are hanging out with toxic and negative people, then they need to take a look at themselves. Successful people hang out with others who are positive and supportive.

          40. Can’t Control It? Forget It

          Successful people don’t invest time or emotional energy into things which they have no control of.

          41. Swim Against the Tide

          Successful people are not people-pleasers and they don’t need constant approval from others in order to move ahead.

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          42. Alone Time Is Valuable Time

          More self-worth means being more comfortable with your own company. Successful people are more happy and see the value in spending time alone.

          43. Self-Standard Is Higher Than Most

          Everyone has a choice to set high standards for themselves. Successful people do this, which in turn produces greater commitment, more momentum, a better work ethic and of course, better results.

          44. Failure Isn’t Rationalized

          While many use age, health, lack of time, ‘bad luck’, or lack of opportunity to explain away their failure, the key to success is finding a way to succeed despite facing these challenges.

          45. Down Time Is an Important Part of a Routine

          Having an off switch and taking time to do things that make them happy is a common trait of a successful person. Take a look at here The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

          46. Career Isn’t Who You Are, It’s What You Do

          Successful people know their career isn’t their identity. They are multi-dimensional and don’t define themselves by their job.

          47. Be Interested in Only the Path of Resistance

          While most people look for the easiest way or the shortcut, successful people are more interested in the most effective way. They look for the course of action which will produce the best results over the long term.

          48. Follow Through

          Many spend their life starting things that they never finish, but successful people get the job done. Even when the excitement and the novelty has worn off they still follow through and finish.

          49. Invest in All Your Dimensions

          We’re not just physical and psychological beings, but emotional and spiritual creatures as well. Successful people consciously work at being healthy and productive on all levels.

          50. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

          To obtain success, it’s important to practice what you preach. Successful people don’t talk about the theory, they live the reality.

          So there you have it, a summary of what I’ve learned from self-help books. But of course, you need to start taking actions so you will get closer to success too.

          Bonus: 5 Bad Habits To Quit

          More About Success

          Featured photo credit: Juan Jose via unsplash.com

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