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The Secret Techniques to Master Your Time

The Secret Techniques to Master Your Time

It seems that we all want a few extra hours a week to get through everything we want to. When was the last time you found yourself saying that you’ll do something when you find time for it? Everyone agrees that time is something we all want more of; more time to get through all our work, more time to be with friends and family, and more time to relax. However, how often do you find yourself rushing around like a headless chicken desperately trying to get everything done. or feeling frustrated and bordering  on rage because you just simply don’t have the time you want? Feeling stressed and overwhelmed constantly is not fun at all, so why is change so hard?

We live in a world where we want instant solutions and gratification, but for a price, of course, and the least amount of effort on our part. When we need something to be fixed or changed, it’s easy to go and buy a solution, but what about those problems that aren’t so tangible, like time? Of course, those who master their time have developed skills and learnt techniques, but they all share something else which is the root of their success—a mindset that enables them to manage their time effortlessly. Improving the way you manage your time really starts with the way you view time, your perspective.

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Getting Organized

Everyone has the same 24 hours in their day, yet it’s obvious that many people achieve more in a few months than most people do in years. Why is that? I have heard so many different excuses, and among my favorite are definitely “I was born this way, I’ve always been disorganized“—really? I didn’t know there was a gene for disorganization. Another is, “it will make me less creative and restrict my freedom“—on the contrary, being organized actually frees your mind up to be more creative! Let me ask you a question, do you believe that managing your time is in your control? In other words, do you believe it is possible? If you don’t, I’m glad you are reading this because your mindset is definitely influencing your results.

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If you think that you don’t have time to do anything, you will most probably find that you don’t. If you think that you are unable to take control of the reins and manage your time, that is what your experience will be. Your external world reflects your internal world, your thinking. If you are disorganized on the outside, you most likely feel disorganized on the inside, which is why you need to start with mastering your mindset. We cannot buy or create more time, but we can make more time by creating a time management mindset.

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Tips to Get You Started:

  1. The blame game: Stop blaming others for your results; you are responsible for how you spend your time and what you achieve with it—it’s that simple. It’s easy to blame others for not being able to accomplish what you needed to, but you have to take responsibility.
  1. Self sabotage: Stop telling yourself that you won’t get things finished on time, or you won’t be able to find time to do something. Those who manage their time successfully never set themselves up negatively, because that is what you are doing by affirming before you have even started that it will turn out badly and not work out. Remember that what you expect, you get! Catch yourself from limiting phrases like this, and be more positive. You will feel more empowered and in control by affirming to yourself that it will work out well, and your actions will be directed accordingly.
  1. Think: This might seem like a strange tip, but I’m not referring to your daily thoughts—I am referring to the way you think habitually. What normally happens when you have to plan your day ahead of time, or rearrange your schedule? Develop the habit of always looking for opportunities to leverage your time, prioritizing your actions in your mind, and knowing the best way to focus your actions. The way you plan your days and perform your tasks are directly related to your thinking, so if you are not seeing the results you want, change the way you think in that area.

You can learn all the techniques and tools in the book, but if you don’t believe that it will help or your negative thoughts keep you struggling with time, you won’t ever really master your time—until you master your mindset.

“A man must be master of his hours and days, not their servant.“ – William Frederick Book

Three questions to ponder:

  • How does your way of thinking influence the way you manage your time?
  • What are the consequences of keeping the same mindset you have now?
  • And what are the benefits if you change the parts that don’t support you?
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More by this author

Kirstin O´Donovan

Certified Life and Productivity Coach, Founder and CEO of TopResultsCoaching

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The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

“You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

What is the productivity paradox?

There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

He wrote in his conclusion:

“Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

How do we measure productivity anyway?

And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

Possible causes of the productivity paradox

Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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  • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
  • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
  • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
  • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

The paradox and the recession

The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

“Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

Looking forward

A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

“Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

“Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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