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A 10-Minute Exercise Can Make Your Entire Day Run Smoothly

A 10-Minute Exercise Can Make Your Entire Day Run Smoothly

If you are the type of person who grumbles about how you never have enough of time in a day to do things, you’re not alone. Nevermind doing the things you love; completing things you have to do is difficult, and 24 hours just isn’t enough time to get it all done. I know, I’ve been there.

One day, just like that, a bell might go off in your head telling you that the first 10 minutes of those 24 hours are the most important ones of the day, and those ten minutes decide whether your day will flow smoothly or not.

Let’s take this step-by-step.

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Decide what’s important and what isn’t

Make a list. Write down everything you have to do for the day and make sure you include everything. Add in office-related jobs, house chores, shopping lists, errands, replying to mail, visiting friends and family, lunches, dinners. Include everything.

Now, just mark out those that absolutely have to be done today. These are the only things you will do today. Period. The rest you will schedule for tomorrow or the day after depending on their urgency and importance.

Decide during which part of the day you will do a certain job

Now that you’ve selected the jobs you will do today, you have to schedule them into your day’s plan. You can do this in two ways: One, you can schedule them according to importance or two, you schedule them according to which time of the day you work better. For example, If you are a morning person, do all your thinking jobs during this time—you’ll be alert and things will flow more quickly and smoothly. Keep the routine jobs to a time when you are not functioning at 100%.

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Attach a time limit to each task

This is important. Often, we get too engrossed in a job and end up spending way too much time on it, so set a time limit. Keep an alarm around or set reminders on your phone, and you’ll train your brain to stay focused, work faster, and finish work on time.

Do I really need to spend so much time on this?

Ask yourself whether this job deserves significant importance. If not, lessen the time you’ve planned to spend on it.

Can I delegate?

This is something most people hate to do. Most people think that they’ll end up spending so much time telling a person what to do that they’d rather do it themselves, and this is where they stumble. Doing this means you have more work to do yourself. Now imagine, if you had told someone else to do it, you’d have some more time for yourself.

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One way of dealing with delegation is to break down the job into smaller parts, and explain them thoroughly. This simplifies things for the other person, and it’s also easier to keep things in check and correct along the way instead of seeing it at the end.

To whom can I delegate?

While delegating, remember to pick the right person for the right job. Don’t try mixing things up, especially if you don’t have the luxury of time.

When do I stop?

Come on, I’m sure you have somewhere else to go. To do something fun, or just hang out with friends. To do this you need to know when to stop working, so set a firm deadline, and decide that  you won’t work beyond this point. What’s pending will be scheduled for a later date.

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Relax—the world will not come to a stop if you leave your office on time.

Is this enough?

This is something you need to decide every morning. Bosses love dumping work on people, so it’s up to you to tell them when you have all you can handle. This doesn’t reflect badly on you; in fact, it’s good to be honest. Don’t try to over-promise; instead, under-promise, and over-deliver.

Do this every morning for ten minutes, and the rest of your day will flow much more smoothly.

 

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Last Updated on March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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