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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

How to Be More Productive: 4 Tiny Tweaks to Make 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2020 Updated) How To Break the Procrastination Cycle Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That) How To Control Your Emotions Effectively

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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