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The Secret Techniques to Master Your Time

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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.

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“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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Published on September 21, 2021

How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

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How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

The internet is flooded with articles about remote work and its benefits or drawbacks. But in reality, the remote work experience is so subjective that it’s impossible to draw general conclusions and issue one-size-fits-all advice about it. However, one thing that’s universal and rock-solid is data. Data-backed findings and research about remote work productivity give us a clear picture of how our workdays have changed and how work from home affects us—because data doesn’t lie.

In this article, we’ll look at three decisive findings from a recent data study and two survey reports concerning remote work productivity and worker well-being.

1. We Take Less Frequent Breaks

Your home can be a peaceful or a distracting place depending on your living and family conditions. While some of us might find it hard to focus amidst the sounds of our everyday life, other people will tell you that the peace and quiet while working from home (WFH) is a major productivity booster. Then there are those who find it hard to take proper breaks at home and switch off at the end of the workday.

But what does data say about remote work productivity? Do we work more or less in a remote setting?

Let’s take a step back to pre-pandemic times (2014, to be exact) when a time tracking application called DeskTime discovered that 10% of most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

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Recently, the same time tracking app repeated that study to reveal working and breaking patterns during the pandemic. They found that remote work has caused an increase in time worked, with the most productive people now working for 112 minutes and breaking for 26 minutes.[1]

Now, this may seem rather innocent at first—so what if we work for extended periods of time as long as we also take longer breaks? But let’s take a closer look at this proportion.

While breaks have become only nine minutes longer, work sprints have more than doubled. That’s nearly two hours of work, meaning that the most hard-working people only take three to four breaks per 8-hour workday. This discovery makes us question if working from home (WFH) really is as good a thing for our well-being as we thought it was. In addition, in the WFH format, breaks are no longer a treat but rather a time to squeeze in a chore or help children with schoolwork.

Online meetings are among the main reasons for less frequent breaks. Pre-pandemic meetings meant going to another room, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer. In a remote setting, all meetings happen on screen, sometimes back-to-back, which could be one of the main factors explaining the longer work hours recorded.

2. We Face a Higher Risk of Burnout

At first, many were optimistic about remote work’s benefits in terms of work-life balance as we save time on commuting and have more time to spend with family—at least in theory. But for many people, this was quickly counterbalanced by a struggle to separate their work and personal lives. Buffer’s 2021 survey for the State of Remote Work report found that the biggest struggle of remote workers is not being able to unplug, with collaboration difficulties and loneliness sharing second place.[2]

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Buffer’s respondents were also asked if they are working more or less since their shift to remote work, and 45 percent admitted to working more. Forty-two percent said they are working the same amount, while 13 percent responded that they are working less.

Longer work hours and fewer quality breaks can dramatically affect our health, as long-term sitting and computer use can cause eye strain, mental fatigue, and other issues. These, in turn, can lead to more severe consequences, such as burnout and heart disease.

Let’s have a closer look at the connection between burnout and remote work.

McKinsey’s report about the Future of work states that 49% of people say they’re feeling some symptoms of burnout.[3] And that may be an understatement since employees experiencing burnout are less likely to respond to survey requests and may have even left the workforce.

From the viewpoint of the employer, remote workers may seem like they are more productive and working longer hours. However, managers must be aware of the risks associated with increased employee anxiety. Otherwise, the productivity gains won’t be long-lasting. It’s no secret that prolonged anxiety can reduce job satisfaction, decrease work performance, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues.[4]

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3. Despite everything, We Love Remote Work

An overwhelming majority—97 percent—of Buffer report’s survey respondents say they would like to continue working remotely to some extent. The two main benefits mentioned by the respondents are the ability to have a flexible schedule and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

McKinsey’s report found that more than half of employees would like their workplace to adopt a more flexible hybrid virtual-working model, with some days of work on-premises and some days working remotely. To be more exact, more than half of employees report that they would like at least three work-from-home days a week once the pandemic is over.

Companies will increasingly be forced to find ways to satisfy these workforce demands while implementing policies to minimize the risks associated with overworking and burnout. Smart companies will embrace this new trend and realize that adopting hybrid models can also be a win for them—for example, for accessing talent in different locations and at a lower cost.

Remote Work: Blessing or Plight?

Understandably, workers worldwide are tempted to keep the good work-life aspects that have come out of the pandemic—professional flexibility, fewer commutes, and extra time with family. But with the once strict boundaries between work and life fading, we must remain cautious. We try to squeeze in house chores during breaks. We do online meetings from the kitchen or the same couch we watch TV shows from, and many of us report difficulties switching off after work.

So, how do we keep our private and professional lives from hopelessly blending together?

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The answer is that we try to replicate the physical and virtual boundaries that come naturally in an office setting. This doesn’t only mean having a dedicated workspace but also tracking your work time and stopping when your working hours are finished. In addition, it means working breaks into your schedule because watercooler chats don’t just naturally happen at home.

If necessary, we need to introduce new rituals that resemble a normal office day—for example, going for a walk around the block in the morning to simulate “arriving at work.” Remote work is here to stay. If we want to enjoy the advantages it offers, then we need to learn how to cope with the personal challenges that come with it.

Learn how to stay productive while working remotely with these tips: How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive

Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com

Reference

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