Connect with us

Life

How to Properly Manage Your Time So You Can Fit More Into Your Day

Published

on

how to manage your time better
Image Credit: Unsplash

Time is the only actual resource that matters. Yet, as with the majority of things that people should take care of, most of us run short on time. No matter if you’re a busy entrepreneur trying to get your business tasks organized, programmist who’s working 9-to-5 and tries to get the most out of after-work time or even a university student who strives to harness his schedule.

We all need to organize our work to get things done on time. Without planning, we get lost, which leads to further panicking over our helplessness.

Below, you’ll learn how to properly manage your schedule so you can fit more into your day and be efficient with your time:

Materialize it

First, you have to make it all visible regardless of if it’s creating to-do lists or writing down a simple tasks list. Studies show that you’re much more likely to finish the task when you write it down.

Begin with whatever comes to your mind such as: laundry, grocery shopping, a programming class, or reading a new book. Then, group tasks into appropriate categories. I prefer to use three time-wise categories and five sub-categories for each of the tasks.

The three time-wise categories are: Before work, during work and after work.

Of course, this approach assumes that you’re working 9-to-5 but let’s be honest, most of the people who struggle to organize their time are the people who work standard eight hours a day.

After you’re done with the above, proceed to the next five subcategories: Low-result, manager, creative and learning, fun and health and exercise.

Low-result tasks – Everything that needs to be done but would gladly be outsourced. Things like commuting, shopping, cleaning, etc. Strive to limit the number of low-result tasks to the bare minimum.

Manager tasks – Everything related to planning, organizing, sending, or responding to people. You’ll want to fill it with meetings, replying to emails, and browsing through the inbox.

Creative and learning tasks – All creative, so-called “new tasks” like writing an article or coding. It can be anything from trying to learn a new language as well as doing courses, attending webinars, and reading books.

Fun tasks – What I also tend to call social tasks. It can be anything from a date to going out with friends and watching movies. Treat this time as a moment to relax and – yes – actually have fun.

Health and exercise – Everything from running, gym, eating. Group here everything that directly corresponds to your physical state of being.

At this point, you might be asking “Is it necessary to do all of that listing and grouping?” It might seem like overkill or a futile task, but believe me, there is no reason to plan things out if you’re planning to lose. Always plan to win and put necessary work upfront.

“Make use of time, let not advantage slip.” – William Shakespeare

Materializing and grouping what you want to do is the first step to harness your schedule and get things done on time. The next step, shown below, is to put them in the right place and order:

Map it out

After you’re done with listing your tasks and grouping them into appropriate categories and subcategories, go ahead and proceed to map them out. Here, it’ll be handy to use a task-planning tool like Google Calendar. The main purpose of using such a solution is to get all of the tasks in one place, sorted, and well-arranged.

Also, you’ll get push and email notifications that will help you stay on track with everything you’ve planned. Let’s proceed to the doing part. Start from the top to the bottom, whereas the top is the beginning of the day and bottom is its end.

Grab your “before work” tasks and put them into certain timeframes. At first, it will be a guessing game as you may not know how long  your morning bathroom fun takes. The first week or even a month will be all about tweaking and adjusting your schedule until it will reach its final form.

Now, to visually get a hint of which tasks relate to which subcategory you have to color code them. If you’re using Google Calendar you can right click on a certain event and choose the color.

Of course, you can use any color pattern you want. Just remember which color relates to which category. To save time you can use my framework which goes as follows:

  • Low-result – Tomato
  • Manager – Tangerine
  • Creative and learning – Basil
  • Fun tasks – Lavender
  • Health and exercise – Grape

No, I’m not making it up. All of the colors in Google Calendar are described as veggies, fruits, and herbs. Thanks to color coding you’ll see how much time you spend on particular tasks. Your goal will be to lower the amount of tomato-red and tangerine-orange. Strive to have a grape-violet time each day as well as the basil-green as the most frequent events.

When you’re done with before work tasks, go ahead and fill the calendar with during work and after work activities. Some of you won’t be able to map out the entire work time due to the character of your job. In such a case, don’t try to come up with imaginary tasks, just plan what you can. Put placeholders if you’re not sure and fill in the gaps when you know what you’re about to do.

Next, focus on what you’d like to do during your after-work time. Be realistic, but fill it with tasks that you’d really want to do. Use this time to read a new book you’ve wanted to read or to start the course that would accelerate your career.

“Once you have mastered time, you will understand how true it is that most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year – and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade!” – Tony Robbins

Adjust and upgrade

Equipped with a calendar full of color-coded events is just the beginning of the road to getting things done on time. Now that the hard part is done, you can focus on adjusting the calendar to your actual needs.

As time goes by, you’ll see how much time certain things take you, what can be optimized, and what can be outsourced. Use that feedback to optimize the way you spend your time and upgrade your calendar every week and every month.

Remember that the hardest thing is always to start. Most people avoid doing these two things: Planning their time and goals and taking care of their money.

People simply fear to look into how they actually spend their time and money while these are one of the most important aspects of their lives! Don’t be that guy who doesn’t know where his last three hours had vanished. Take care of your time and use it to achieve your dreams.

How do you make sure you’re managing your time correctly? Do you have any tips for not wasting time? Let us know in the comments below!

Jakub Kliszczak is a Marketing Specialist at CrazyCall; cloud-based calling app which provides sales teams with essential tools reach their customers worldwide. He’s passionate about digital marketing, developing new businesses, and turning new ideas into real ventures. In his “free time”, he prefers to read non-fiction and hit the gym.

Life

What Les Misérables Taught Me About Our Values

Published

on

www.kellycatalfamo.com

Who am I? The ultimate question many of us try to answer. When I think of values, I think of Victor Hugo’s 1862 book, “Les’ Miserables”. In Hugo’s book, Jean Valjean, is used as a protagonist to highlight the power in redemptive love and compassion. Valjean goes into prison for stealing a loaf of bread, entering as a simple and decent man. His time in jail seems to have an unrepairable effect, where he emerges from the chain gang as a tough, bitter criminal who hates society for what it has done to him. (more…)

Continue Reading

Life

7 Ways You Can Increase Your Concentration Right Away

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

In today’s world, an overabundance of information and a large number of distractions is making it increasingly difficult to concentrate on performing the necessary tasks. In this article, I propose 7 simple methods that will train your ability to concentrate, while not taking you from your usual activities. (more…)

Continue Reading

Life

5 Simple Hacks to Help You Develop the Habit That Will Transform Your Life

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

It’s excruciating when we know what’s killing us but we can’t do anything about it because as you know, it is not easy to pull the brake on a high way. According to Napoleon Hill, “remember this always – the best (and one might say the only) way in which old habits may be removed is to form new habits to counteract and replace the undesirable ones”. (more…)

Continue Reading

Life

Why Do We Have An Unconscious Bias and How Can We Manage It?

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

When I hear someone using my name once in a while throughout the conversation we are having, I cannot stop myself thinking “this person must have read Dale Carnegie’s books or must have been influenced by someone who read them…” Have you just recalled a similar moment and it felt nice?

As Dale Carnegie famously said, “Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and the most important sound in any language”. Why did Dale Carnegie highlight the importance of an individual’s name to that person in his “How to Win Friends and Influence People” book published in 1936?

Each and every one of us wants to feel special and unique. I guess he recommends using the person’s name in the conversation because that is one of the easiest ways to grab that person’s attention so that we can enhance the chances of getting our point across. However, I am more interested in this from the other side; hearing our names directly addresses our individuality, our need or desire to feel special and unique.  

Let’s park this one for now and we will come back. 

Categorization is essential to our survival

There is countless scientific research telling us about how our brains recognize similarities and put things into categories, which has been crucial to our survival in evolution and still helps us with a lot of things from learning new things to coping with the continuous influx of massive amounts of information through our senses. 

The continuous influx of information is mostly handled by our subconscious mind rather than conscious. It is estimated that our brains receive about 11 million bits of information every second through our senses, of which only 40-50 bits can be processed by our conscious mind. We process more information than we are aware of. The magic here is the subconscious mind.

An example is when you are at a very loud party where you hear a lot of words flying around without you recognizing each one of them, then suddenly, you immediately catch it when you hear your name. Your subconscious had been processing all of those words, without your awareness, but informed your conscious mind when your name was out there because it was relevant to you.

In order to most effectively process this much information and inform the conscious mind with only the relevant ones, our subconscious employs categorization as one of its strategies.

When our ancestors encountered some deadly predators in the African savanna, their subconscious prompted their conscious mind to immediately fight or flight by categorizing the information gathered through their senses into “predator / life threat / take action”. Most probably we are not descendants of the ones that were frozen rather than fighting or flighting! 

Although it is a completely different situation, the same strategy applied in remembering lists. Let’s look at the below two lists.

  1. lion, eagle, shark, leopard, hawk, whale, panther, falcon and dolphin 
  2. lion, leopard, panther, eagle, hawk, falcon, shark, whale and dolphin

The second list is easy to remember because it is reordered into relevant groups even though the content of the both lists are identical.

Subconsciousness is the magic and categorization is one of its key strategies. It is essential to our survival, learning new skills and processing information as well as bringing back the information we had processed and stored. 

This amazing skill has its drawbacks

As a result of our brains’ categorization strategy, we also categorize people, especially if we don’t know them as well as our closest ones.

Imagine I am sitting at the table next to yours while you are having your favorite coffee and working on your computer or reading your novel at your neighborhood coffee shop. I stand up, very calmly grab your bag, and start walking away. Your reaction might be quite different depending on my outfit. It could be much more vocal and harsh if I have a dirty T-Shirt and a pair of torn jeans on. However, if I have some navy colored, 3-piece suit and well-pressed white button up shirt on, you might even say something like “Excuse me, you might have picked up my bag by mistake”. (There is an experiment done by social psychologists which reported similar results)

Similarly, I would not be surprised to hear that my co-worker’s spouse is very skilled and knowledgeable in English grammar and literature because he is an English teacher. However, I would not expect it from my co-worker herself because she is an outstanding chemical engineer.  

This is defined as unconscious bias or stereotyping, as a result of our subconscious brain’s categorization strategy. The outfit I have at the coffee shop impacts your response to my action, because it puts me into a different category in your mind depending on my outfit. My co-worker’s and her spouse’s backgrounds make me put them into different categories, which might mislead me sometimes.

Just like we categorize things, it is very natural that we categorize people.  

The key question here for me is; how do we truly treat people as individuals so that they feel unique, just like as they would want, while we know that our brains categorize people

We can overcome unconscious bias 

Leonard Mlodinow, in his enlightening book “Subliminal”, suggests that “if we are aware of our bias and motivated to overcome it, we can.” That doesn’t mean that we need to fight our brain’s categorization strategy. We just need to employ our conscious mind more when we are working or dealing with individuals. 

Our unconscious bias might tell us scientists are bunch of technical nerds who cannot understand abstract concepts that marketers are talking about or it might say that marketers are some daydreamers who need to be grounded by scientists to the real world all the time. I am an engineer and I love thinking in abstract terms and I worked with quite a lot of marketers who thought primarily in factual and concrete terms. 

Spending some effort to learn more about individuals will help overcome unconscious bias. Gathering more information and qualities about them will make it easier for us to treat them as individuals rather than a member of the category we put them in our minds. 

The moral of the story here is to recognize the fact that our brains do categorize, and it is essential; but also, to recognize that every individual wants to feel unique. When we appreciate these two and keep reminding them to ourselves, we are one step closer to figuring out our own way to overcome unconscious bias and treat people more like individuals. 

What was the most interesting part of this article for you? Share your thoughts below!

Continue Reading

Trending