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Why You Never Have Enough Time and What You Need to Do About It

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Has this ever happened to you? You had an assignment, and the deadline was far away. You didn’t work on it much, but in the back of your mind, that insistent little voice was always whispering, “I gotta get this assignment done.”

Suddenly, the assignment is due in two days, and you’ve barely even started! You panic. You skim through the reading, type at lightning speed, guzzling down enough caffeine to keep you awake for days. Your assignment was on your boss’s desk on time.

Your strategy worked, but the rest of the day, you were left struggling to keep your eyes open, and your grade wasn’t that great. The assignment didn’t take long to complete. You had all the time in the world to work on it, so you didn’t. This story is all-too-common.

Procrastinating and then stressing yourself out to get all of our stuff done is something you probably still do today, albeit to a lesser degree. Because of it, you’re less effective than you could be, and you are spending more time than you should on easy tasks.

The More Time You Give A Task, The Longer It Will Take

Have you ever heard the saying, “work expands to fill the time available for its completion”? This saying is Parkinson’s Law. Your tasks are like water…if you pour a cup of water into a bowl, the water will spread out, covering the extra space you gave it. A task that could fit into one hour will spread out to fill a week if you allow it.

Parkinson’s Law is all around you. You can find it at work, at home, and in schools with projects, chores, and pre-exam cramming. I doubt it will take you more than a minute to find an example from your own life. Unfortunately, Parkinson’s Law doesn’t work the other way around. Your work won’t shrink to fit the time you’ve allocated it.

People tend to give tasks a lot more time than needed, giving themselves room for procrastination and overthinking. Eliminating that extra time makes you focus on doing the work instead.

By acknowledging Parkinson’s Law, not only will you be able to complete most of your tasks in half the time and gain more free time, but you’ll also have a clearer mind as you’re not stressing over all the tasks have to do this week.

Now that you know what Parkinson’s Law is, it’s time to put that knowledge into action. Here are a few strategies to help you regain your time:

1. Assign All Your Tasks A Time Limit

The problem with to-do lists is that they tell you what to do but not when or for how long to do each activity. One way to fix this is to give each of your tasks a deadline and a time limit. Which tasks take longer to complete, the ones that bring you closer to your goals or the ones your boss assigns you?

I’ll bet it’s the ones your boss assigns you. Your boss gives you deadlines. You either complete it within the given timeline or you start looking for a new job. Most people have trouble sticking to deadlines they assign themselves. With no one holding them accountable, they know there will be no consequences for their inaction. If that’s you, have a friend hold you accountable or gamify the tasks by setting rewards and penalties.

2. Track Your Time

Now all your tasks have time limits, but how do you know whether that time limit is realistic? The answer is time tracking. Time trackers help you get a feel for how long certain activities take you. They give you insights into how you’re spending your time and how much time you’re wasting on distractions.

After using the time tracker, you’ll have a pretty good estimate of how long a certain task should take. You could even challenge yourself to complete that task quicker than you did the previous day.

“The most efficient way to live reasonably is every morning to make a plan of one’s day and every night to examine the results obtained.” – Alexis Carrel

3. Schedule Your Tasks In 30-Minute Chunks

People usually schedule their days by the hours. At 9:00, do this and at 10:00, do that. But, many tasks don’t need an hour. You could easily complete them in 15-30 minutes. So instead of giving each of your tasks an hour, try scheduling your day in 30-minute chunks.

Use the insights you discovered from your time tracking to determine how many portions a task requires. Using the Pomodoro technique has the same effect; work in short sprints, giving your full attention to one task for 25 minutes, then take a 5-minute break.

4. Break Down Complex Projects

Some projects are so complicated you don’t even know where to start. For these tasks, it’s very easy to overestimate the time required to complete them. The truth is projects like these are just a group of many tasks. By breaking down the project into individual tasks, you can set a time limit for each task, and from there, determine how long the entire project will take you.

For example, say you wanted to start a blog. The tasks would be to set up web hosting, design the blog, and write 10 posts. By knowing what the tasks are and estimating how long each of these tasks would take, you can create a relatively accurate timeline.

“If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I would spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln

5. Set a Time To Stop Working For The Day

You have a lot to do. I get that. Usually, this means you have work overflowing out of the office and into your home. You have to get this work done today—it doesn’t matter whether it’s done in the office or at home. You let the work expand to fill the extra time you gave it.

Instead, try setting a deadline for your office work. For example, your entire to-do list must be done by 5 PM…no negotiations allowed. You’ll be surprised how much quicker your work will be done. Without that overflowing work, you can relax and enjoy the rest of your day.

Parkinson’s Law is an observation based on how people use their time. By acknowledging this law, you can take the steps to avoid falling in its snare. 

How do you prioritize your time to get everything done? Share your advice with us below!

Layla Ashraf, founder of ShutUpAndAchieve.com, is a driven achiever who inspires people to take control of their lives. She spreads the idea of wholesome productivity, helping achievers multiply their time, set realizable goals, and live their wildest dreams while still having time to focus on what matters most. Double your productivity by joining the FREE 15-Day Productivity Challenge.

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3 Ways to Take Better Care of Yourself and Live an Optimized Life

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The secret to happiness lies in the way you live your life. People think of happiness as some destination they’ll reach when they’ve accomplished the hundred things on their life to-do list. Happiness is often associated with money, material possessions, or even great relationships. (more…)

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These 7 Daily Resolutions Can Change Your Life

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We all strive to be better every day. Most of us want a new day to bring something new, and we plan for it as well. Of course, the execution is debatable as procrastination is real and it becomes an overwhelming feeling at times. Also, not to forget the customary practice of making resolutions on new year’s eve!  All of us are fascinated by the thought of preparing long lists of resolves to mark the beginning of a new year. Not sure how many people are able to translate these resolutions into functional realities. (more…)

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4 Reasons Why Content Is Pivotal For Mental Health Healing

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One of the most important things for an entrepreneur’s mental health is expressing their feelings, thoughts, and emotions. This is where content creation and writing becomes pivotal. Whether you read something that resonates with you or you write a compelling blog post, the act of expressing yourself through content can help to put a smile on your face and make you feel better about things.

Most entrepreneurs don’t spend as much time taking care of their mental health as they should. Over the course of your career, you will experience a lot of ups and downs; these emotions have the potential to take a toll on your mind and body if you don’t learn to manage them properly.

Here are four reasons why expression through content is pivotal for healing, slowing yourself down, and giving yourself grace when the going gets tough.

1. Content can be a form of self-expression

When you are an entrepreneur, you frequently face feelings of insecurity, doubt, fear, apathy, and exhaustion, just to name a few. Some days it feels like no one is on your business’s side and everyone else has it all figured out. On those days some of us try to look at our website’s analytics to cheer up. 

But an even more freeing task is creating content. You create content to improve your business and reach more people’s lives. But, there is something special that happens when you write with the intention of expressing your thoughts and feelings — you open a door to yourself. 

Content is inherently personal, which means content creators open themselves up when they share their thoughts on a platform. Everything from the title of the post, the keywords they choose to include, and even the content itself helps you to understand who the author of that post truly is. And as an entrepreneur, this can be an important experience because it allows others to empathize with you.

2. Self-reflection will lift you up

As you think through what to write about and how to express yourself, the process of self reflection is a valuable step you need to go through. You’re able to reflect on the blessings you have, assess what you learned from the negative experiences, and create a plan on how to maintain the positive experiences you’ve had. 

There are a few ways that self reflection can help you with mental health healing. The act of reflecting on your experiences helps to create clarity in feelings, thoughts and emotions which will eventually lead into acceptance for what has happened or is happening currently without feeling overwhelmed by it all. This process also leads people towards finding new things they enjoy doing. Self reflection is therapeutic and can be implemented anytime you feel the need to overcome overwhelm.

“Writing in a journal each day allows you to direct your focus to what you accomplished, what you’re grateful for and what you’re committed to doing better tomorrow. Thus, you more deeply enjoy your journey each day.” – Hal Elrod

3. A sense of belonging and camaraderie

It is important to have a support network of people who will listen and understand what you are going through. When you post a blog or upload a video on YouTube, there are others who feel the same way and experience a sense of connection with you.

When you put time, attention and thoughtfulness into your writing, it is amazing when someone reads what you’ve written and comments on it thanking you or expressing how they resonate with what you’re going through. It’s hard to put into words how powerful it feels when someone who has gone through the same experience and reads your words then reaches out.  There is power in expression but miracles happen when people bond over a similar experience.

4. Library of content to share with more people

It can be very difficult to know what content to share with people as the symptoms of mental health disorders (anxiety, depression, etc.) vary from person to person. But as you accumulate more and more content, this will increase the number of articles or videos available for readers to choose from depending on their specific purpose. It also builds your personal library of resources you’re able to share to different people you encounter or engage directly with.

As chaotic and distracting social media can be, it can also be a beacon of hope with the right content. Many people share viral posts, or content that interest them. Since your content is valuable and personal, the more you share it, the more likely it is to be shared with the right audience.

You never know who is watching (reading)

Your content is speaking to someone and even though they may not be actively engaged, their experiences with your work are impacting them. Think about the last time you watched TV: did everyone in the room have something entertaining to say? 

You never know who’s watching because there’s always somebody reading your posts or viewing your videos-even if they just skim through it briefly. This is why creating content worth consuming is critical, not only to get you out of your funk, but also to serve your audience.  Be authentic and stay true to yourself; make every post count as an opportunity for connection with your best self and for potential readers to bond with you.

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5 Ways To Invest In Yourself and Change Your Life

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Warren Buffett once said, the best investment you can ever make is in yourself. Time and money spent on bettering yourself are never considered a waste. Whether it’s through learning how to make money online, exploring new ways to increase your financial security, or watching TED talks to expand your knowledge. Do not be stingy when it comes to self-improvement because it will definitely pay off in the end. 

Need some ideas to get started on your journey to becoming a better you? Here are 5 ways to invest in yourself and transform your life. 

1. Change Your Self-Concept

Having a negative self-concept can have a tremendous impact on your life. Limiting beliefs and self-doubt are some of the main reasons why many never achieve or attempt to pursue their dreams. Take a moment and think about all the negative thoughts you have repeated to yourself throughout your life. How have these thoughts impacted the way you live life? From now on, create a new self-image by turning these negative thoughts into positive ones and appreciate your good qualities. 

2. Sign Up For An Online Course

If you’ve been wanting to brush up on your Photoshop skills or learn how to code professionally, this is the perfect time to get started. As long as you have a stable internet connection, you can access an endless amount of valuable information online. For example, sites like Coursera and Youtube are both awesome resources for online learning. With a few search strings and clicks, you can find all the information you need. 

“Investing in yourself is the best investment you can make. It will not only improve your life, it will improve the lives of all those around you.” – Robin Sharma

3. Learn From a Mentor

No matter which stage of your life you are currently in, working with a mentor can help you stay motivated and focused on your goals. Not only can they guide you in the right direction, but also transform your vision, provide you with new insights, and connect you with amazing resources. If you’re feeling unmotivated or unsure about what you want to do in life, consider finding a mentor to help you navigate this process. 

4. Start A Side Hustle

The salary from a 9-5 job would rarely allow you to reach your maximum income potential. Why not achieve financial success while pursuing your passion by starting a side hustle? Whether it’s through starting an ecommerce business, freelance writing on the side, or starting a Youtube channel. There are infinite numbers of ways to make money, and there is bound to be one out there that fits your passion and skills. 

5. Nourish Your Body

As many may say, “health is the new wealth”. Without a healthy and functioning body, living a fulfilling and comfortable life becomes difficult. To take care of your body and prioritize your wellbeing, start with small habits such as eating healthier foods and exercising regularly. Bike or walk to work instead of taking the car, and opt for a healthy protein bowl instead of greasy burgers at Burger King. With time, these small habits can make an incredible difference.

Check out the infographic below, to see more ways you can invest in yourself:

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