Stop Wasting Time Accessible Life Tweaks for Efficient Time Management
The average human being wastes about 80,000 hours watching television throughout his or her entire lifespan. For those who aren’t mathematical geniuses, that’s about 6 full years of watching television.
Shocking! Isn’t it?
This is just one among many activities that add nothing to our overall productivity in our lives.
Imagine if we were able to add 10 years to our life into developing ourselves into the best versions that we possibly can be.
- We’d be so much smarter and healthier.
- We’d also improve our overall financial goals and
- We’d achieve all our life goals in less time, leaving us to do more with our lives.
Before we teach you how to add 10 years into your life, let’s walk you through on how you can start by adding an extra hour into your day.
A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF TIME MANAGEMENT AND PRODUCTIVITY
By focusing productivity, we don’t mean strip all the essential fun out of life and work your socks off.
Recreation is as much a necessity to human life as working towards your career goals. After all, what good is all the money earned if you can’t spend it to enjoy the good life, right?
But how much fun is considered too much?
One deceiving myth that does the rounds is the fact that “Time-management should be pitch perfect and it’s impossible for humans to achieve”.
Time management isn’t about working every single hour of your waking day. It isn’t about receiving an uninterrupted stream of knowledge every second. You don’t live your entire life by a system of codes or exist to become an uninteresting person. That’s not what time management is about.
Effective time planning is to gain precious few minutes by eliminating procrastination from your life. It’s about bringing a schedule to your life and how a few minutes saved every hour can transition into saving an hour or two throughout the day.
It’s about minimizing your time on unproductive actions and maximizing your work-ethics to their fullest.
Here’s an example of the first 4 hours of an average day in a person’s life upon waking up.
- Brushes teeth and finishes up with his personal hygienic activities – (30 minutes.)
- Morning coffee while reading the newspaper – (30 minutes)
- Begins to watch Television – (30 minutes)
- Physical Activity – (30 minutes)
- Calls up a friend to talk about the latest gossip doing the rounds in office – (30 minutes)
- Gets ready for office – (30 minutes)
- Commute time to the office – (30 minutes)
- Spends time chatting up a colleague in the office – (30 minutes)
All activities above are taken on the assumption that a person spends 30 minutes to complete each of his or her daily tasks.
As you can see in the above example, #4, #5, and #8 are considered as unproductive activities. They add nothing to his daily routine and if he were to change his daily routine by adding productive activities in these slots such as scheduling his work goals, cooking meals for the entire day to save time, or start an hour early to work to finish up any pending projects.
Here’s where productivity begins to kick in.
90 minutes saved a day in just a 4-hour margin adds to saving around 450 minutes on a 5-day work week which is roughly 7.5 hours of productivity time gained. So, imagine if you were to add these productivity tweaks to your entire 16-hour activity time – that’s 7.5 X 4 = 30 hours.
30 hours! of time gained in a single work week. Leaving you with the entire weekend to do as you please and yet gain an entire day.
Unbelievable, isn’t it? By saving 30 minutes of your time you end up saving 30 hours throughout the week.
This is what time productivity is all about, it’s about looking to save small portions of your time where you feel you aren’t being productive enough. The benefits of time management are numerous and can be found further below.
The Self-Evaluating Productivity Test
Let’s understand a little bit about how you spend your day by taking this quiz. There’re no long answers, just a simple Yes or No.
The quiz will also give you a better understanding of yourself and how you spend your time.
- Are you easily distracted by media – YouTube, movies, games, social media, etc.?
- Out of 24 hours, if you were to sleep for 8 hours, are you more likely to do non-productive activities during the remaining 16 hours.
- Do you suffer from productivity issues? (Examples, pending projects, bad sleep, not enough family time, etc.?)
- Do you often take short naps during the day at work?
- Does your mind wander when working causing difficulty in concentration?
- Do you suffer from not being able to track time while the day goes by without you realizing it?
- Are you always asking someone in your office to cover up for you for not finishing your projects at the prescribed date?
- Has your boss or any senior level manager provided you with a verbal lecture on how you should improve your work ethics anywhere in the last three months?
- Do you find yourself finishing up tasks at the very last minute?
- Are you always in the habit of postponing work to do something fun?
Give yourself 10 points for every No, that you answered. 0 points for every Yes. Now let’s see which of the following groups you belong to
0-30 points (Non-Productive) – You fill your day with meaningless tasks. You prefer to escape from real work and commitment and find shelter in entertainment. The sound of “productivity” scares you and you run in the opposite direction when you’re supposed to be accountable. Unless you change your entire lifestyle, you’ll hardly find success in the things you perform. This guide is the A-Z on how to improve yourself into a more productive version of yourself.
40-60 points (Average Productivity) – You’ve got the productivity meter filled halfway but it isn’t enough to meet all your life goals. You could gain an extra hour or two if you were to work towards attaining productivity by reading further. By implementing the resources gained from this guide, you’ll attain more hours in your overall week.
70-90 points (Great Productivity) – Almost a perfect circle! You’re already on your way in completing your goals but falter in just a few scenarios. To become an absolute perfect version of yourself, this guide will show you techniques to tweak yourself even further.
100 points (Extremely Productive) – Unbelievable! You’re a productive guru! You’ve got the entire basics and advanced mechanisms perfected. The article is purely a fun read.
THE MANY ADVANTAGES OF TIME MANAGEMENT IN OUR DAILY LIVES
Why even bother with saving a few hours here and there? Isn’t life all about “The Surreal Experience” and going with the flow of things?
Shouldn’t we all just let life run its course and let the mistakes happen?
If you’re someone who agrees with the above statements, then you’re sure in for a surprise when you least expect it. And it’s certainly not a joyful one at that.
In a survey conducted on over hundreds of test subjects whose age was over 65, professor Karl Pillemer of Cornell University found that older people regretted not planning their life goals and wished to turn back time to rectify their mistakes.
Goals are something that allow a human to achieve his or her inner desires over a period through hard work and success.
If your goal is to scale Mount Everest and experience what only few have dared to accomplish, then prepare for the hardships that you’ll encounter such as climbing in extreme cold temperatures and being able to survive on perishable food.
Similarly, when planning your goals, it’s important to invest your time wisely and create milestones along the way.
Time is a finite resource and it gets lesser the more you waste it. Below are a few benefits you can redeem by utilizing time in the right manner to reach your milestones.
This goes without saying, the more time you have the more money you make. Imagine if you were given a day with 100 hours instead of the usual — 24 hours.
Wouldn’t you be able to accomplish more in that additional timespan compared to others?
But what good is 100 hours to someone that spends time doing non-productive activities when someone who is productive can achieve more in 24 hours?
Every financial expert agrees unanimously that without effective time management as a key ingredient, you’ll never be able to create a surplus of wealth.
To create money, you need to plan a path. There’s no two ways about it.
Let’s say your goal is to gain a million dollars. While it might sound like an uphill battle, it’s not impossible. Certainly not with a plan in mind. You’ll need to stake out your financial options and understand the needs of your community, you’ll need to invest an ample amount of time in understanding your audience and product. Finally, when you do execute your business, it’s necessary to spend as much time as you can in fine-tuning it. Iron out the issues and ensure your product is a success.
Once you’ve achieved your first milestone of a $10,000. It’s time to set a new one at $50,000 and so on. Once you’ve managed to rake in a million dollars, you’ll see just how effective time management is in creating wealth.
Similarly, if you’re an employee looking to move up the ranks and increase your remuneration, you’ll need to effectively plan out the best course of action to achieve your milestones. Your goals could be something like – a promotion to manager, senior manager, executive manager, etc.
Climb the ladder while utilizing productivity to provide the best work possible for your company and proving exactly why you make the cut apart from the rest would be your first two milestones.
In no time, your company would take notice of you and would be prepared to bump your salary to your requirement while also opening options for promotion.
Increased Knowledge and Skill-acquirement
Let’s say you’re able to finish a 300-page book over 10 hours but since you’ve got other work commitments and family time to consider, it might take a week to finish a 300-page book.
By eliminating time spent on television and other activities, you reduce the time required to read a book by 2-3 days and thus gain more knowledge in less time. Sounds great right?
Imagine being able to learn new subjects and topics related to your field and being able to complete it in months instead of years.
You’ll be able to learn all the tricks of the trades of your business field and will be in a better spot to provide support to your employees or to your boss(as an employee).
Saving an hour or two every day can add to your overall skill-acquirement.
When you cut time into little blocks such as 30-minute time-frames, it gives you more reason to use the valued resource wisely.
Give yourself reminders often, alert yourself frequently to wake up and take notice of what’s important. In this way, you’ll have your daily tasks completed in the given timeframe without procrastinating.
By acquiring new skills you’ll impress your employers or employees. You’ll be in a better position to learn all the latest trends and implement them without delay.
You’ll be ahead of your competition in every department by acquiring skills at a fast and steady pace. Therefore, time management is crucial to your professional life.
Following a time schedule shows character and responsibility. For every hour less spent in regret is one hour added towards your overall productivity.
Keep this formula in mind – 1 Hour of Productivity = 1 Hour saved from Regret and Complaints.
A responsible person never wastes time in anguishing over the past. Instead, if a mistake is made, he takes responsibility and immediately moves on to avoid any further mistakes in the future.
Time management is all about understanding that productivity is all that counts to achieving success and every time you sulk and drain your energy, you spend less time on the job doing things that are closer to your goal.
With increased productivity comes increased efficiency in completing tasks on time. Being able to cook your dinner while also listening to a podcast concerning your business skills is a great way to learn without wasting any valuable time.
Checking out the news while having your dinner is another great way to relax and be informed on the latest events happening around you.
Clubbing together activities that you normally would do by themselves will save you a lot of time to do more important things.
Remember, it’s ok to multitask your leisure activities with something that is productive. But multitasking when you work causes you to lose concentration and fail and hence, it’s ill-advised.
More Family Time & Improved Personal Health
Time management isn’t just about growing yourself and your professional side. Family time is just as important to your life, maybe even more important than other aspects.
That’s why with time management, you’ll be able to create an extra hour or two to be spent with your family and giving them the much-needed attention.
You’ll also have a greater sense of purpose by being able to balance work and family. Very few individuals can achieve success in both fields of life but with effective time management, it isn’t too hard to commit to an ideal work-life balance.
Personal health is another aspect that you’ll be able to control with a schedule. You’ll gain much-needed rest and will remain stress-free to meet your financial goals on time.
There’s no need to delay that appointment with the dentist or the outing with the kids and the wife.
By not delaying your projects and having them completed on time, you’ll be able to enjoy the both portions of your life with a smile and have all the quality time left for your own personal time as well.
THE 6 COMMON HURDLES OF PRODUCTIVITY
Every person is unique. There are many reasons that cause them to not handle time management effectively.
It’s extremely important for you to identify the non-productive triggers that cause you to waste so much time doing unnecessary things. Here are 8 common obstacles to productivity –
No objectives in life
Imagine being blindfolded and left in a crowded street to find your way back home. You’ll find yourself tumbling over people and objects and soon you’ll find that you’ve hurt yourself bad.
This is how walking through life without goals and objective feels like. In the long run, you’d have hurt your financial and family goals without having a clear motive on what you should be doing next.
An objective provides direction to your life. It opens your eyes to all the dangers ahead of time and prepares you well for a worst-case scenario. You’ll be alert at all times when facing disastrous situations and will be more mindful to the happenings around your financial goals.
A word that is often misunderstood and thrown around often. Procrastination is one of the biggest enemies of productivity. Quite simply put, procrastinating is the trick used by your mind to do something fun right now and delay meaningful work. Every person in the world has at some time or the other been a victim of procrastination. Yes! Even the successful ones.
Procrastination itself isn’t bad when you do it occasionally. The problem arises when it creeps into your daily life and begins to derail your productive train.
How many times have you found yourself watching a video on YouTube while mindlessly clicking onto the next one without realizing you’ve just wasted the entire day?
How many times have you set out to do something productive and ended up daydreaming on what you could purchase if you were wealthy?
These are all examples of procrastination and you can see why it’s an obstacle for productivity. Further below, we’ll learn strategies on how to deal with procrastination and its negative influence on our minds.
Contrary to popular belief, multitasking isn’t being productive. Human beings need to concentrate on the job at hand to be able to give their best work. Have you ever heard of an F1 racer that has won the Grand Prix by driving whilst talking on the phone to his friend? We don’t think so.
Concentration is about completing an individual task by diverting 100% of your focus onto it.
Don’t try to read a book while watching the news. You won’t catch up on the news feed and you won’t understand the plot of your book. In the end, you end up gaining very little information when doing both activities.
A stressful individual is unlikely to follow his goals or plans to the last instruction. Stress brings down the whole house of productivity as it causes you to spend more time thinking about the negative factors affecting your life than following the plan of time management. Think of it as a kryptonite to your superhuman abilities.
Eliminating stress isn’t as easy as it sounds and is most probably easier said than done. Dealing with stress is a complicated affair, you need to first root out the problem and begin to work towards it. There are plenty of triggers for stress-related disorders – Examples like verbal abuse at work, strained relationships, medical conditions, financial constraints, etc.
The best step is to reach out to the problem headfirst and find an answer to it. For example, if you are suffering from financial problems then convince yourself to deal with it by creating a monthly financial goal and cutting your loans into little pieces. Take the help of a few financial institutions if you can but ensure that by increasing your overall productivity, you’ll be loan free. Once this is taken care of, you’ll never have a nagging thought at the back of your mind regarding an outstanding loan.
You are working on your project while sipping on your late-night coffee.
You receive a notification via social-media from your friend about a fun video that has just gone viral. You decide to look at it and you begin chatting with your friend on how funny it is.
Before long, you go back to your project and have forgotten exactly where you left off and how the pattern was. This is a classic case of interruptions.
An interruptive lifestyle is quite common with the digital and modern age. Youngsters messaging during school hours or playing games on your smartphone before an interview instead of staying focused are great examples of interruptions.
A Korean study demonstrated that lack of nutrition is linked to attention deficit disorder.
What this means is whenever we eat food with absolutely no nutrition benefits such as potato chips, colas, fried fast foods, and sugar high foods, our overall attention is at risk of failing on us when we most need it.
Diet is an important part of time management and we’ll further show you how to prepare your own meals by utilizing the least time possible in our meal prepping section below.
Distractions are a major problem to time management. It denies you from staying focused to your goals. A key strategy to eliminate distractions is to follow rules and stick by them. Here are a few tips to consider –
- Keep your phone on airplane mode when working to eliminate notifications and other calls from bothering you
- Ensure your television and other entertainment systems are switched off and are kept far from your work desk
- A work desk is a sacred space where you generate positive energy. Don’t let anything disruptive to ever enter this space such as smartphones or music systems.
- Politely advise your family to not interrupt you during your work, instead ask them to write down conversations on sticky notes if they have anything important to say while leaving the house.
- On your computer, have two different user-based desktops. One for your general stuff and other for your work. This way when you sign in, you won’t have to worry about noisy news alerts and other notifications distracting you.
By adding a few tweaks to your interruptive lifestyle, you’ll soon convert your working time into a blissful period to conduct only positive and productive operations.
3 CONVENIENT TRICKS TO BE PRODUCTIVE DURING THE DAY
The science behind productivity is to add more value to yourself and your time. Imagine if you could finish work that was assigned to you in 48 hours instead of a week?
You’ll not only impress your seniors but will also have the extra deadline time to get more work done.
That’s why we have come up with these 3 tricks to ensure your time is used in the best possible way —
1. Limiting the Use of Social Media
It’s almost impossible to challenge yourself to stay off social media. In fact, training your brain to not think of incoming notifications will immediately distract you from your work.
So how do you get yourself productive when you are unable to keep your curiosity in check?
By following a schedule that you abide to. Here is a checklist to stick by to ensure your social media addiction is under control.
- Unsubscribe from all marketing email. They’re junk.
- Ensure your phone notifications are on silent during work hours.
- Keep your phone away from your immediate sight.
- Set aside 1 hour every day to ensure you read news and social media. Split them into 30 minutes during the morning and 30 minutes before you get off work.
- If you have something important to add to your social media. Add it to a “Do it Later” notepad. This way you’ll continue with your work without thinking about it.
- Delete unwanted social apps from your phone and have only a few ones. More apps lead to more downtime when you decide to check all.
- An alarm clock is a great way to notify when your free time is over and it’s time to refocus back to work.
- If you absolutely must contact someone, use email or send them a text message. You can use the inbuilt messaging service but avoid logging on to social media platforms or phone calling.
- AppDetox is an android application that automatically locks your apps during your work time. It makes it impossible for you to procrastinate during work hours.
2. Dealing with Procrastination
Where did all my time go?
I promised myself I wouldn’t waste my time today, yet I have let my mind wander off.
If you’ve been repeating these things in your mind constantly without any positive results, you’re a victim of procrastination.
While all of us procrastinate frequently, it’s the main cause for people to disable their productive defenses and fall victim to laziness.
The worst part about procrastination is we aren’t sure we are doing it until we realize our entire day has just passed us by.
Here are 3 steps to deal with procrastination —
Step 1: Accept Procrastination and Make a List of Tasks to Complete
As much as you’d like to deny it, the simplest way to get rid of procrastination is by accepting it. Whether you do it for 2 hours a day or 6 hours, time is a precious resource you can’t get back. Don’t wait for the right day to deal with procrastination as that day will never come. Instead, force yourself to believe today is the day you’ll finally shake off the problem once and for all.
Begin by making a list on your notepad of all the high-priority things that you want to finish. Next write low-priority tasks.
Let’s say you have 10 high-priority tasks and 20 low priority ones that need to be done within a month. Now that you have a timeframe, you can begin by completing 1 high priority task and 2 low priority ones every day. This way you’ll not burden yourself with too much to do and still enjoy doing it.
This will also give you a lot of time during the month to finish all your tasks and still have time to complete more.
Step 2: Get to the Bottom of your Procrastination
Everyone has a reason to why they procrastinate. Even if it isn’t obvious to them at first glance. Some procrastinate because they find their work boring, others do it because they are easily distracted by entertainment and many have a fear of failing that causes them to procrastinate to seek comfort.
If you thought procrastinating was just a harmless activity, think again. Psychologists have reports that patients that delay putting off their work usually tend to suffer from increased hypertension resulting in serious cardiovascular complications. Procrastination isn’t just some common vulnerability, it’s important to ask yourself several questions to understand where your procrastination stems from.
Questions such as —
- What are the consequences of procrastination?
- Why do I feel depressed all the time? (List down the points on a piece of paper)
- What compels me to procrastinate often?
- Am I working in the wrong job?
- What is my dream career?
- Do I have any stress relieving activities that I perform when I am unhappy?
- What does my daily diet consist of?
Questions like this get you to reflect on why you procrastinate every day.
Once you’ve got the answers on paper, it’s time to put a solution into action and solve these issues once and for all. Procrastination often starts with an underlying causes and chances are you’ve just not identified yours.
Step 3: Prevent Procrastination from entering again
Now that you’ve managed to shake off your procrastination, you haven’t completely gotten rid of it. It’s necessary to bolt the doors by creating anti-procrastinating strategies. One of the best ways to keep procrastination at bay is by following these tips.
- Reward yourself: Not just a pat on your back but provide yourself with a much-needed reward for finishing a task. In this way, you’ll proactively complete tasks to attain the rewards. For example, let’s say you’ve got a 3-month project that’s been handed over to you, gift yourself a week-long vacation once you’ve completed it.
- Create a morning routine: One of the first things we tell ourselves every night is we’ll never repeat the same mistake again. By morning, we forget that promise as we repeat the same mistakes consistently. That’s why it’s important to create a morning routine such as:
- Keeping an alarm clock and waking the same time every day
- Ensuring you write down your tasks the night before and check up on it the next morning
- Keep an internal dialogue that you repeat every day upon waking up such as “No matter what, I’ll see to it that my dream becomes a reality.”
- Eat a healthy breakfast
Of course, you can add your own pointers to your daily routine but the message here is quite simple — if you can stay focused on your productive goals when you wake up then there’s nothing stopping you from achieving it throughout the day.
That’s why the morning routine is the most important part of preventing procrastination.
- Forgive yourself and others: Forgiveness is the first step to completely eradicating distractions. If you’ve blamed yourself recently or someone else for something that wasn’t supposed to happen, it’s time to let go of it. Forgiveness leads to lesser procrastination and you’ll thank yourself in the long run for adopting an enlightened habit.
3. Meal Prepping
At this point, you’re probably wondering what food from your kitchen has to do with your overall productivity. Bear with us, it plays an important and vital role.
Apart from helping you fuel your body with the right nutrients, preparing food in your kitchen and storing it well in advance for the entire week saves up on precious time.
The process of creating your food in advance and storing them is known as “Meal prep” or meal preparation.
Still not convinced? Let’s show you with these 4 benefits —
Meal prepping helps you create a schedule by which you’ll completely commit to. By this we mean you’ll not have to waste 30-40 minutes of your time cooking your lunch and another 30-40 minutes at night for your supper. A food schedule is created, and you’ll immediately know exactly what to eat without any loss of time.
You’ll Never Skip Meals
One of the biggest benefits of meal prepping is you’ll never skip them. A full stomach is a content stomach that can go back to working long hours if needed as compared to wasting time deciding on what to eat or eating fast food.
Meal prepping allows you to always have your meal at the right time without having to consider skipping them altogether.
Complete Control on your Food
Less sick days means more work completed and more productivity harnessed. When you create your own meals, you create them in the safety of your kitchen and you’ll have the greatest control of your food — know expiration dates of all your food items.
This prevents you from falling sick often and allows you to completely tweak your nutrition control knob to the fullest.
Some more nutritious salmon? Yes, please!
And of course, meal prepping helps you create all the meals for the week in just one sitting. It might take longer than your average dinner, but the amount of time and resources saved is substantial. Let’s say you take 40 minutes to prepare your dinner every night.
If you were to prepare the same portion of meal for 7 days, let’s say it takes you 40 minutes to prepare. You’d have saved yourself the time of cooking for 6 other days which is 6 x 40 = 240 minutes (4 hours). You’ll also save up on gas and electricity in the long run.
Here’s a checklist to guide you in the right way to meal prep
- Always pick a day to prepare your meals. Sunday is usually preferred.
- Begin by deciding on what meals you’d like to prepare first — Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner
- Ensure you’ve got a nutrition chart to see if you’re getting the recommended dose of all vital macronutrients
- Utilize a scale to help measure things and prepare them accordingly
- As a rule of thumb, always meal prep every week and not for longer periods. Stored food can begin to lose its taste after this duration.
- Always use a good storage container. Ensure all containers are airtight and don’t leak odor.
- Label your storage containers according to their day and meal time.
- Transparent containers are recommended as you can identify your food immediately
- Ensure the containers are microwavable to immediately heat your food for consumption
- Fruits and vegetables can be consumed safely even after a week
- Don’t freeze your food. Use the refrigerator section to store them.
- Finally, consult a dietician if you need help in identifying your nutrition values
And that’s it. Once you’ve started this healthy and time-saving habit you’ll gain lots of time over the course of the month.
CONCLUDING THOUGHTS ON PRODUCTIVITY & TIME MANAGEMENT
Implementation is what needs to be done to achieve productivity. While many people might find Monday mornings to be the worst day of the week, it’s important to maintain your willpower and keep pushing through your commitment. Only then will you be able to truly gain an hour or two every day.
If you still decide to give up along the way, here’s a nice reminder as to why you should continue to pursue your successful goals — Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter sleeps for just 4 hours a day and keeps to a strict morning routine. If you thought success was without sacrifices, we urge you to think again.