Author Rhys Skellern / Category Lifestyle / Published: Jul-12-2019
Have you ever wished for more hours in the day? Sick of waking up and being stressed from the start, wondering how you’re going to squeeze in work, school, exercise, clean eating, kids sport, and trying to do it all with a smile on your face? Of course we all have busy lives, but one thing they fail to teach us growing up is how to properly manage our time, not just live within it. Understanding how to prioritize your day to get the most from your tasks will free up the much-needed time you need to focus on you!
The Pareto Principle
The Pareto principle, otherwise known as the 80/20 rule, suggests that 80% of your results come from 20% of the work. It in a nutshell, it is a way of thinking that encourages you to consciously break down your tasks and identify where you will get the greatest results from the smallest amount of work.
Too often, we delay tackling the larger, harder tasks in lieu of smaller inconsequential ones. Not only does this nagging create stress (which is wholly self inflicted), we end up making very little progress in a lot of directions, instead of real progress in the right direction. This principle, when applied correctly, forces you to stop, sit and actually analyse what needs to be done in order to achieve your goals, regardless of whether they are in work, health and fitness, or any other aspect of your life.
You can then prioritize your time properly to achieve these tasks, or identify where your time is being spent inefficiently.
To integrate the Pareto principle, start each day by identifying, and writing down your biggest and toughest challenge of the day- not your week, or year, or life. Just the day. Then, get it done first.
Not only will you be more satisfied at having achieved it, it will make everything else you do that day more achievable. The key is to physically write it down, so you have a means of keeping yourself accountable, and over time you will begin to prioritise the hardest tasks first out of habit.
It is also important to note that when implementing this rule of time management, the biggest trap people tend to fall into here is recording 5, or 10 of the ‘most important’ daily goals. If you have 10 ‘absolute must do’s’ that day, you aren’t prioritizing properly. Make it one. Once you have knocked it over you’ll be on a roll and get to work on the rest of the list.
Who Are You Working For?
Another key element of time management is in prioritising whom you are actually performing a task for. Of course when it comes to work, we all have a job to do, and if it comes from the boss then chances are you have to do it.
But before you take on something outside of your scope, or that isn’t part of your job, you need to ask yourself who it’s for, and why you are doing it. Are you just doing it because you want to be liked? Is it actually a task worth your time, or are you just making a longer list of inefficient and ineffective tasks?
You have to remember that it is OK to say no. Simply asking yourself the question of who or why can be the difference between having the time to spend with family, or to go for that walk you always promise yourself you’ll do ‘tomorrow,’ or even just having some time to switch off and relax at the end of the day.
This fundamental of time management will not only help to re-organise your life, it will help you to build valuable skills in self-awareness, the flow on of which can help you identify:
- Your stressors
- Where you could be spending time more effectively
- How to prioritise, and have more of the things that make you happy
- How to transition to a healthier lifestyle, for both your mind and body.
The key is not to prioritize what's on
your schedule, but to
schedule your priorities!
- Stephen R Covey
Procrastination is Just Hesitation in Disguise
You aren’t the only one in the world that procrastinates, and we both know after reading this you’ll procrastinate some more. The truth of procrastination, however, is that is starts with hesitation.
Human psychology affects how we interpret tasks, or challenges, and for most people the idea of a challenge (stressor) actually implicates our fight or flight response. In simple terms, we are less likely to start with the harder tasks because they represent a bigger source of stress, which we are biologically programmed to avoid. Link in here somewhere to the ‘good bad and fad.’
This has applications across everything we do, from getting our job done, to talking to someone new, or dallying about going to the gym. If you hesitate, you will procrastinate. So rather than being ruled by our biology, we have a very simple trick to help you kick into gear. Are you ready?
Count yourself down.
Whenever you are facing something difficult, or really just something you don’t want to do, take a breath and count down from 5. Remember how effective it was when you were a child? Chances are you use this trick with your own children!
It is truly amazing how well this works to break our own mental blocks, and counting down is such a simple, and yet powerful tool to stop us from delaying the things we need to do. If you can break the hesitation, you will break the procrastination!
Note: in order for this trick to work, you must count DOWN. The finality of zero is key here. If you count up, you can just keep on counting and chances are you’ll spend your day counting to 1000 and achieving even less.
The next time you have a task to perform, or are trying to implement change in your life, start with improving your time management skills. It doesn’t have to be a long arduous task of scheduling everything- I mean really this is just another way to procrastinate. Rather, you can use these simple tricks to better prioritize your day, and stop hesitation leading to procrastination.
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Author Rhys Skellern / Lifestyle / Published: Jul -12-2019