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Forward15: Your Future in 15 Minutes a Day

Forward15: Your Future in 15 Minutes a Day

15 minutes a day to plan your future

    Planning to plan your future is a waste of time. Has talking about planning ever been useful? Has it moved your life forward?

    I think we can agree that’s a big “no”.

    For me, I’ve found I’m happiest when I’m doing something…accomplishing something. By “something”, I mean anything that I feel is bettering my life in some way –- furthering a hobby, honing a job skill, learning a bit of knowledge, making travel plans, etc. The problem is that I’ve found it difficult to stop talking about what I’m hoping to accomplish and to actually make strides towards something actually happening.

    The excuses:

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    “I don’t have time.”

    “My job keeps me too busy.”

    “Hey look, that generic show about that thing is on.”

    But like I said, planning to plan doesn’t work. What I’ve found does for me is Forward15.

    What is Forward15?

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    Well, Forward15 is when you take fifteen minutes out of the day, every day, to do something that makes you feel like you did “something”.

    Who should do it

    That would be you.

    It’s not like you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment if you outsource planning your future. Feel free to bring in that special someone in your life (they also don’t have to be that special). Doing Forward15 as a couple gives you someone to bounce ideas off of and to “tag team” your efforts.

    What you should do

    Whether it’s making a decision, submitting a payment, reserving an appointment, or researching an option, you have to have made progress that you can build on for your next Forward15. If it helps, focus on a theme per session. Travel Forward15, Education Forward15, Fitness Forward15, etc. It’ll help the time fly by and really make you feel like you didn’t waste it.

    Forward15 examples:

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    • Sign up for that course you’ve been meaning to take.
    • Research the Mexican resorts you are trying to choose between.
    • Come up with a schedule for the next month of fitness classes you’re going to attend.

    When you should do Forward15

    What works best for you? Right after work, first thing in the morning, right before bed? Whether it’s scheduled or just a matter of finding 15 minutes in a day, it’s really up to you. The only thing you can’t say is you don’t have time for it. It’s only 15 minutes!

    I don’t care if you’re the CEO of a company or the mother of a 2 year old, you can find 15 minutes. If you don’t feel you can’t, here’s how you can do just that.

    Where you should do it

    Where do you feel you can focus for 15 minutes? Do it there.

    You’re not limited by location. If your focus that day needs Google and there’s no wifi to be found, pick a different focus.

    Why you should try Forward15

    Really the most important question to answer when doing anything is: Why?

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    In 15 minutes you can make decisions that will affect your life and make you feel better doing it. Just the act of taking action in your life can help make you happier about your future and where it’s going — because it’s going somewhere.

    Think about it: a quarter of an hour, 15 minutes, 900 seconds can make you feel better about the next year, 365 days, 21,900 seconds. If it helps, picture some late-night infomercial host saying, “for just 15 minutes a day…”

    After all, isn’t it time for some forward thinking?

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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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