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5 Time Management Tips That Will Improve Your Productivity And Your Health

5 Time Management Tips That Will Improve Your Productivity And Your Health

Life can get hectic; that is something all of us will admit. With the endless amounts of deadlines needing to be met, dishes piling up in the sink and taking care of your younger brother, sometimes you wonder, “Why are there only 24 hours in a day?”

Truth be told, not many of us spend the time we have wisely. Chances are, too much time is spent on Facebook or any other form of social media. And I’m sure you’ve been distracted while doing work before. This is why I’m sharing tips that will improve productivity and health—because I’m confident everyone could benefit with more productivity. So here are 5 time management tips that might just help you maximize the 24 hours you have in a day!

1. Use lists.

For some, using lists is a great way help increase productivity. However most of the time, people create to-do lists that don’t work at all. While to-do lists might be a valuable tool, I like to complement my to-do list with some other list to make them work better.

Here are some examples:

The 3 Task List

Write down the 3 most important task that you need to complete. I like to split them into 3 different categories, the first would be work related, second would be something health related and third would be any other task you can think of.

An example would look like this:

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1. Write the first draft of an article.

2. Perform a 30 minute run.

3. Buy a present for Sarah.

The goal here is to finish all 3 task before sunset and 2 of the tasks need to be finished by the afternoon. Using this list will ensure that even if your productivity level is bad, you get the three most important things done in one day.

The “Don’t Do” List

This list is simple, all you have to do is write down three bad habits that might be preventing you from completing your task. Stick a reminder on your wall or computer and try not to do any of the 3 items on the list.

Here’s an example:

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1. I won’t check my emails first thing in the morning.

2. I won’t go on Facebook when I’m writing an article.

3. I won’t leave my chair unless performing work for 30 minutes.

The key here is to set a specific time frame to those list. By doing so, it gives you a solid idea of how your time is being  managed. This will vastly improve your productivity.

2. Turn off notifications on your smartphones and tablets.

With the rise of smartphones and tablets, accessing social media has never been easier; however, this convenience can come with a price. Most people find it hard to concentrate because they are so famous, they get Facebook notifications every 10 minutes.

Keeping your notifications turned on can potentially be distracting. So by turning them off, you can ensure nothing will distract you once you are performing work. If you want to take it a step further, you can always uninstall all your social media apps on your phone.

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3. Using specific software and apps.

While social media apps can be potentially distracting, there are apps and software that can help you manage your time better. Sometimes even if you have an iron clad will, it’s hard to resist the temptation of constantly refreshing your news feed. If that’s your problem, this might just be your solution.

1. Cold Turkey & Self Control

This software for your computer let’s you set a specific time period to block popular social media sites that might be distracting. There is also a function which allows you to white list or restrict specific sites.

The beauty is that unless you are a genius hacker, it’s almost impossible to bypass the the lock once it’s activated. In that way, you might be forced to do something productive.

Cold Turkey supports Windows, while Self Controls supports Mac.

2. Self Control (android)

This app prevents you from using any apps on your smartphone for the amount of time you’ve set. Despite the same name, it’s completely different from the one which works on Mac.

3. Focus@Will

Focus@Will plays music that is scientifically proven to help you focus. It definitely helped me stay focused and the tunes are pretty calming. The best part is, there is a free version too!

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4. Include breaks.

Time management doesn’t necessarily have to be all work and no play. As a matter of the fact, including breaks in between work is a great way to maximize your productivity. Working on something for too long, especially when you hit a mental block is not an efficient way to use your time.

Instead of sitting down and pulling your hair, scheduling breaks in between is a good way to hit the reset button. I like to have a 10 minute break for every 50 minutes of work I do. During that time, you are free to do anything.

Some good ideas would be to incorporate a few bodyweight exercises such as squats or push ups, watch a short funny clip or even surf Facebook or Twitter. Just do something that will take your mind off work. This will help your mind stay fresh.

5. Get enough sleep.

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    Sleep is a highly overlooked aspect when it comes to productivity and health. People who lack sleep have an increased chance of storing fat and falling sick, and decreased cognitive performance. Doesn’t exactly sound like the way to become a productivity doesn’t it?

    So aim to get roughly 8 hours of sleep per night.

    Incorporating short power naps lasting 20–30 minutes into your day is also another fantastic way to keep fatigue at bay. Optimizing your sleep is definitely one of the easiest way to start helping you lead a healthy and productive lifestyle. Since it’s that simple, start doing it right now!

    Featured photo credit: Productivity via flickr.com

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    Last Updated on September 20, 2018

    8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

    8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

    You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

    Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

    When you train your brain, you will:

    • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
    • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
    • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

    So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

    1. Work your memory

    Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

    When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

    If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

    The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

    Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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    Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

    What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

    For example, say you just met someone new:

    “Hi, my name is George”

    Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

    Got it? Good.

    2. Do something different repeatedly

    By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

    Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

    It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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    And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

    But how does this apply to your life right now?

    Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

    Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

    Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

    So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

    You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

    That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

    3. Learn something new

    It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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    For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

    Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

    You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

    4. Follow a brain training program

    The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

    5. Work your body

    You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

    Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

    Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

    Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

    6. Spend time with your loved ones

    If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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    If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

    I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

    7. Avoid crossword puzzles

    Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

    Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

    Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

    8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

    Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

    When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

    So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

    The bottom line

    Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

    Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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