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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 August 4, 2020

How to Make Time Go Faster When You’re Having a Bad Time

How to Make Time Go Faster When You’re Having a Bad Time

Standing at the front of the room, your heart is pounding as people stroll in, and you’ve been up since 5 am rehearsing. You’ve spent weeks preparing for this moment. Your slides are perfect, and you’ve memorized your talk.

As the clock shows 9:30, you begin with a customary “good morning” and then zilch. Nothing. Your mind goes blank. Suddenly, time seems to stop. Everything goes into slow motion, and you can feel your face begin to burn.

For anyone who has done presentations in front of a live audience, freezing at the wrong time is a nightmare waiting to happen, and when it does, if feels like time has frozen. The feeling of helplessness drags on, and you just wish the clock would fast forward so you can escape from the nightmare.

Of course, the reality is that time does not speed up or slow down. Time is constant; only our perception of passing time changes[1]. This is a good thing, too. What is happening is that your fight or flight response is kicking in, and you have become hyper-aware of your situation. Your brain is recognizing you are in danger and responding in the best way it knows how.

This perceived slowing down of time is an illusion[2]. It is your brain creating and processing more memories of your current environment and searching out the threat it has detected. It’s searching for the predator that has decided you look like an exquisite meal, and it is doing this incredibly fast — much faster than it typically would. It is how we protect ourselves, and, in most cases, it is a beneficial response.

However, in many cases, it can be torturous to be in this situation, feeling helpless and frozen and being hyper-aware of our unfortunate situation. So what can you do to speed up the perception of time?

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1. Have a Backup Plan

If you cast your mind back to the situation at the start of this article, your brain has frozen and your carefully crafted words are lost somewhere inside your head: What do you do? Most people panic, and, despite their careful preparation and rehearsal, one part they did not rehearse is when or if something goes wrong.

Freezing on stage can happen to even the most seasoned presenter, and having a script or a set of queue cards on hand can quickly refresh/reboot your brain to get you back on track and avoid the torturous feeling of being in a slow-motion crash.

Steve Jobs was a very experienced presenter. One of the best. Yet even though his preparation was meticulous — often taking as much as six months to put together a keynote presentation — things still went wrong. In this famous clip of a keynote Steve Jobs gave back in 2010, the WIFI network was very slow. When you watch the clip, it feels like it goes on forever, yet it only lasts around two and a half minutes. For a presentation that lasted about two hours, two and a half minutes is around two per cent. Not at all long, yet for Steve Jobs and the audience, the whole incident felt a lot longer.

Fortunately, as a seasoned presenter, Steve Jobs broke the tension and the feeling that time was slowing down by using humor and eventually moving on to the next part of the keynote. He had a backup, and his backup was to quickly, and without fuss, move on to the next segment.

Always have a backup plan and an exit strategy. Be prepared for the worst and be ready to switch to your backup plan if things do go wrong.

2. Focus on What You Have Control Over

You have control over three things: your thoughts, your emotions, and your actions. Nothing else. You cannot control events, how other people judge you, or whether another person will get upset by what you say or do.

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Most bad days are a result of the way we react to something we have no control over. A client takes their business to your rival. You had no control over that. That was a decision your client made based on a set of circumstances and the way they felt about those circumstances. The only control you have in this situation is how you feel about losing a client. You could be angry; you might look around for someone to blame or for an excuse. But in the end, none of that will change the fact you no longer serve that client.

In these situations, always begin by reminding yourself about what you have control over. Are there any positive action steps you can take that will solve the problem? Are you allowing your emotions to influence your mood? Are you thinking negatively or positively about this situation?

In all these scenarios, you can instantly decide to change your thoughts, your feelings, and the action you take. You have to make that decision.

If you do lose an important client, and there is no solution, you can use the experience to learn. Use it as an opportunity to analyze what went wrong and implement changes to the way you do things that minimize the chances of a similar situation happening with your other clients in the future.

Dwelling on the loss will prolong your suffering, slowing down perceived time and making you feel dreadful. Using the situation to learn from your mistakes will help you to get back on track and keep time moving forward at a pace you are satisfied with.

3. Take Full Responsibility for the Situation

Accepting full responsibility for your life allows you to overcome adversity and difficulties. While a massive viral pandemic may not be your fault, what you do in the circumstances is your responsibility.

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Being in lockdown, where you must remain in your home, is something beyond your control (see number 2), but what you do with your time, how you manage your work, and how you maintain your health is your responsibility.

Governments may order you to stay at home, but what you do with your time while you are at home is something you are responsible for.

In these situations, you have a choice. Use the extra time you have positively, or pass responsibility for your life to the daily negative news cycles.

When you take responsibility for your life, you take back control[3].

Complaining about the situation only ensures you stay stuck in the same miserable place. Accepting responsibility for your life gives you so many more options.

You could take that online course you have been thinking about doing, or paint that picture you have wanted to do for years. You could clean out your old clothes, do the spring cleaning, or clear out your garage. There are hundreds of things you could do that, before this global pandemic, you always complained you had no time for. Now you do have time.

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Busying yourself with these tasks turns any bad situation into an opportunity, and time will no longer seem such a drudge; instead, it will feel like a godsend.

Key Takeaways

There are many inevitabilities in life. One of those inevitabilities is that you will have bad times. Dwelling on your lousy situation, complaining, and reliving the experience over and over will only cause time to slow down perceptually.

Accepting the inevitable, approaching it with a “cest la vie” mindset. and looking for the positives will soon pull you away from the difficult times and back to more fertile areas where you can thrive and grow, and time will begin to feel much faster.

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Featured photo credit: Johnny Cohen via unsplash.com

Reference

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