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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!

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          Aleksandar Ilic

          Blogger, Social Media Butterfly, Guitarist

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          Last Updated on July 17, 2019

          The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

          The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

          What happens in our heads when we set goals?

          Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

          Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

          According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

          Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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          Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

          Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

          The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

          Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

          So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

          Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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          One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

          Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

          Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

          The Neurology of Ownership

          Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

          In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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          But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

          This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

          Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

          The Upshot for Goal-Setters

          So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

          On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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          It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

          On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

          But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

          More About Goals Setting

          Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

          Reference

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