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15 Great Time-Management Hacks For People Who Are In Their 30s

15 Great Time-Management Hacks For People Who Are In Their 30s

Not everyone has problems with time. There are a lot of people out there who have absolutely no problems with managing their schedules and do all that on instinct. Well, we are not here to talk about them. They are probably mutants, and while we can respect them, we can’t really identify with them. Most of my friends, including me, are quite lost when it comes to our schedules and time management. Now, being that we are in our 20s, we are a bit worried about what happens when we pass that 29 mark and step into our 30s.

We all know that that’s when things get a bit more serious in life, so I decided to do a bit of research in order to see how people in their 30s handle their obligations and keep their schedules tight.

1. Prioritize your obligations

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    It seems that when you are in your 30s, you really have to focus on getting things done in proper order, otherwise you might end up wasting your energy on less important things. If you do not prioritize and decide which tasks are important and which can wait, your work day is going to end up being much longer and, ultimately, less productive.

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    2. Adjust your schedule to fit you

    People in their 20s are just starting their careers, in a lot of cases grabbing any job they can get their hands on and lack any real control over their schedules. The longer you work, though, the more control you have over your work and your schedule, meaning that you can adjust your work hours and schedule based on your personal preference. In your 30s, you know your job well and want to make progress; you don’t have the time to  be unproductive due to a schedule that doesn’t work for you.

    3. Don’t sacrifice sleep

    This one is universal, but it seems that younger people can handle much more sleep deprivation without losing so much of their focus and energy. Sure, it is difficult to do your job when you are tired, but the older you get, the less you can take it. If time management is problematic for you, you have to establish a healthy sleeping pattern so you can focus on finishing all your obligations on time.

    4. Small things waste a lot of time

    When we are younger, we are scared of big obligations and commitments like getting a job, getting married, leading a project, and similar things. People who have entered their 30s would probably trade the thousands of micro tasks that they have on their plate for your trepidation of big obligations. In order to keep your schedule clean and tidy, you are going to have to find a way to organize your day in such a way that you can get rid of those pesky little tasks in bulk.

    5. Separate your workload into different types

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      Juggling different types of obligations during your day can destroy your efficiency. The reason why this is so important to realize in your 30s has a lot to do with the fact that your outside-of-work obligations become more numerous. Mindless automatic tasks become more frequent, along with the creative and inspiring work that you do. If you wish to have some time to yourself at the end of your day, it might be smart to focus on one type of work first and then on the other in order to avoid adjusting to them each time you switch.

      6. Always leave a little extra time

      For one, kids are very unpredictable and can cost you more than a couple of minutes more than you expected. Parents are having more and more trouble keeping up with their kids. Still, even if you don’t have kids, keeping a schedule very tight can make the whole thing fall apart by forgetting to take care of just one item on it. Give yourself time to breathe in-between tasks.

      7. Avoid dragging yesterday into today

      People in their 30s know that if they bring some leftover tasks from the previous day, they are going to have one hell of a day the day after. Clean up your schedule if you want to have a normal schedule tomorrow. Things that drag on tend to destroy your carefully populated itinerary.

      8. Separate big obligations into actionable chunks

      Some tasks may seem like climbing a mountain. When a big task is put in front of a twenty year old, he/she will start despairing about how to handle something that big. People in their 30s are aware that things take time and that you need to take it step by step. Identify the small steps you will need to take in order to complete the tasks.

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      9. Keep your plans realistic

      Another rookie mistake made by people in their 20s when it comes to time management is being overly ambitious and hyped when making a plan. No matter how motivated you are at the moment you are making your schedule, you need to be realistic about what you can actually accomplish, or you might end up in quite a mess, choosing the lesser evil tomorrow.

      10. Use your work hours properly

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        People in their 30s are, in most cases, married and have kids. You don’t have the time to tie up loose ends at home anymore by merely cutting into your leisure time. So keep fighting procrastination and do your work in due time.

        11. Set deadlines

        We can all plan things out, but unlike the vague, I’ll-do-it-when-I-get-to-it type of plans twenty-something people make, thirty-something people know that this is a sure way to get into a situation where you have more obligations than time and energy. Don’t just make a note that you need to do something, give yourself a deadline. It helps a lot. The first time I heard about this approach was when I was researching how to become a blogger. The most experienced bloggers advised setting deadlines for yourself, otherwise you might lose a battle to procrastination.

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        12. Stop thinking and start doing

        Bruce Lee once said: “If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.” People in their 20s tend to think about each and every individual thing and how it impacts their lives, and they should. People in their 30s are a bit more occupied and don’t have the time to contemplate the philosophical value of each and every task. Do it first, think about it later, if you have the time.

        13. Don’t be a perfectionist

        Not everything you do needs to be a work of art. Make things work, don’t do everything to provoke awe and admiration. This kind of perfectionistic approach is going to frustrate you and waste a bunch of your time and energy. This is important to realize in your 30s because your obligations are piling up, and you will not have the time to retain this kind of approach. Put in that extra effort when it matters, do a decent job when nothing more is required from you.

        14. Ask for help on time

        Bravado and all-nighters are reserved for amateurs and younger people. If you can’t manage to do something and you realize that you are going to fail to meet a deadline, ask for assistance on time! Thirty something people are experienced enough to know that asking for help is no big deal, but failing to meet the deadline can be.

        15. Use the zone when you are in it

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          Nobody is super productive all the time. However, when you hit that productivity sweet spot, try to manage as much as you can. The more you do now, the less you need to do later. Ride the wave for as long as you can so you can chill out later and take your time. These moments are not as common as we would like them to be, and if you are in your 30s, you should be aware of this and how much these moments can shave off your workload by now. Use them wisely!

          I hope these were an eye-opening experience for you, as they were for me. There are tons more, but each schedule is different and generalizing tips can be quite dangerous. However, all of the above are pretty much universal for people in their 30s. Good luck!

          More by this author

          Aleksandar Ilic

          Blogger, Social Media Butterfly, Guitarist

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          Last Updated on March 21, 2019

          11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

          11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

          Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

          You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

          But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

          To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

          It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

          “What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

          The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

          In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

          Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

          1. Start Small

          The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

          Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

          Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

          Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

          Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

          Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

          It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

          Do less today to do more in a year.

          2. Stay Small

          There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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          But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

          If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

          When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

          I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

          Why?

          Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

          The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

          Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

          3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

          No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

          There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

          What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

          Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

          This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

          This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

          4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

          When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

          There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

          Peter Drucker said,

          “What you track is what you do.”

          So track it to do it — it really helps.

          But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

          5. Measure Once, Do Twice

          Peter Drucker also said,

          “What you measure is what you improve.”

          So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

          For reading, it’s 20 pages.
          For writing, it’s 500 words.
          For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
          For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

          Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

          6. All Days Make a Difference

          Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

          Will two? They won’t.

          Will three? They won’t.

          Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

          What happened? Which one made you fit?

          The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

          No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

          7. They Are Never Fully Automated

          Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

          But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

          What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

          It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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          The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

          It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

          It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

          8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

          Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

          Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

          When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

          The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

          Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

          9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

          The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

          Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

          You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

          But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

          So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

          If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

          This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

          The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

          Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

          10. Punish Yourself

          Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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          I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

          It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

          You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

          No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

          The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

          But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

          11. Reward Yourself

          When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

          Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

          The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

          After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

          If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

          Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

          If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

          In the End, It Matters

          What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

          When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

          And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

          “Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

          Keep going.

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          More Resources to Help You Build Habits

          Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

          Reference

          [1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
          [2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
          [3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
          [4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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