Category Archives: Time Management

A Beginner’s Guide to Intuitive Calendar Management

By | Time Management | No Comments
Calendar Management

Entrepreneurs and business professionals have a lot on their plates. There are forms to sign, meetings to attend, and a work-life balance that’s always teetering on edge. But, while the focus of business is almost always money at the end of the day, the real currency for businesspersons is time. The adage “time is money” is more true today than ever before.

If you can genuinely harness your time, there’s almost nothing you can’t accomplish. However, mastering time management is easier said than done. A lot of effort is required to manage time effectively, as well as a solid desire to structure your life and business with extra precision.

To satisfy the time management needs of every person possible, the calendar in its physical and digital forms was made. By learning better calendar management, you can make huge strides forward in your personal time management. Here is a beginner’s guide to help you get started:

Aim for Purpose and Results

When it comes to time management, everything you do should be intentional. Don’t just fill your calendar for the sake of looking busy. You will find a lot more success by aiming for a specific purpose and focusing on results.

One way to ensure that your scheduling remains intentional is to follow a tried-and-true planning method from a time management expert. For example, the Rapid Planning Method from renowned motivational speaker Tony Robbins is crafted with intentional time management in mind.

Use an Organizational System

Once you have a good idea of how you want to use your calendar to improve time management, you need to keep it nice. If you purchase a three-ring binder but fail to follow an organizational pattern, you’re not going to get much value out of it. However, if you’re utilizing a system by using things such as tabs and dividers, you’ll find the binder to be quite useful.

Your online calendar of choice will have various options and features you can use to stay organized. One of the most common and effective options available is color-coding. This will change how your events appear based on how you want to organize them. For example, you can match work events with your company’s logo to easily differentiate them from the rest of your schedule.

The great thing about online calendars is that they are highly flexible. You can use your own combination of color-coding and organize in a way that works specifically for you. Key points to remember are not doing too much and using a practical and memorable system. Too many colors can be challenging to keep track of.

Take Advantage of Recurring Events

As you’re setting up your calendar, note any repeat events you see. For example, you might have a team huddle every Monday morning or attend a spin class on Friday nights. Instead of manually inputting every single one of these events into your calendar, you can take advantage of recurring events.

When you set a recurring event, it pops up in your calendar at an automatic interval. This can be done for monthly, weekly, or even daily activities. This will save you a lot of time when planning out your schedule, as you don’t have to input the same event over and over again manually. This also will ensure that you never accidentally miss an event because you didn’t happen to add it to your calendar once.

Recurring events are also helpful for scheduling routines. You don’t always need to put a morning routine into your calendar, but doing so for a few weeks can help you adapt to a new schedule. For instance, if you’re moving from day shifts to night shifts, you might want to plan out the specifics in your calendar with recurring events until you’re used to the new schedule.

Learn How to Batch

At this point, you should have most of your calendar squared away. You can now start working on fine-tuning your calendar to make it work even better for you. One such thing you can learn to tune up your calendar is how to batch tasks. This will condense your calendar, making it appear less cluttered while still getting just as much done.

Most people batch tasks by starting with a to-do list. This is separate from the schedule that ends up in their calendar. Once you create a to-do list, you can organize each task by function and priority. This will give you batches of tasks that can be added to larger time blocks in your calendar instead of individual pieces that have you bouncing all over the place.

Don’t Forget Buffer Time

If you’re still concerned about how to fit everything into your busy schedule without overlapping, be sure not to forget about buffer time. Adding buffer time to all of your events can be a daily life saver. More often than not, you’ll be glad you included buffer time even if you didn’t need it.

Always leave some amount of time in between your meetings and events. For example, if you have back-to-back meetings, you might try and schedule them on the hour to fit them nicely into your calendar. Including 15 minutes of buffer time in between meetings will protect you if one meeting happens to run long and threatens to make you late for the next.

If you don’t need to use the buffer time, you can always have a backup plan for how you can use that time. For example, you can do some bonus prep as you move on to your next meeting, take care of some emails, or outline your next blog post. Of course, none of these tasks are urgent, but you might as well take advantage of any opportunities you find.

Who knew that something as simple as a Calendar could be used for so much. Simply using a calendar regularly is already a step in the right direction. Add these details along the way, and time management will begin to come naturally to you, and there won’t be anything you can’t achieve.

Image Credit: cottonbro; Pexels; Thank you! 

Time is All We Have

By | Scheduling, Time Management | No Comments
Time is All We Have

When we say time is all we have, we’re not just talking about showing up to work on time every day all year long. Punctuality really means getting to work ahead of time.

Punctuality, or being on time, is essential for workplace efficiency (and especially job interviews), but it might be even more critical for your personal branding.

“You can set your clock by him (or her)” is a phrase not heard much anymore. But it is still one of the most valuable compliments an employee can be paid. With modern technology like smartphones and GPS, it ought to be a no-brainer to make it to scheduled appointments on time. Yet so often, managers complain of workers who are still an ‘a day late and a dollar short.’

With this in mind, here are five compelling reasons why timeliness is a vital soft skill to strive towards.

Punctuality equals time equals efficiency.

Few things scream “disorganized,” like being late all of the time.
While being chaotic in social settings may appear eccentric and odd, it is terrible news in the business.

Employers want to know that their employees are productive, and wasting time looking for files, tracking down client notes, or looking for a missing invoice costs the organization money.
Being organized makes it much simpler to accomplish projects, arrive at meetings, and fulfill client needs every time.

You’re on time: so you’re a trustworthy coworker and employee.

When it comes to job advancement, your personal reputation is valuable.
When your coworkers think you’re on time, they’re more inclined to include you in new and exciting tasks.

After all, no one wants to entrust a crucial project to someone who is prone to miss deadlines.

You improve the image of your organization.

It’s a safe assumption that your boss values timeliness.
Customers quickly lose faith in organizations that do not regularly deliver on time in today’s competitive industry.

Whatever position you play in the supply chain, sticking to a schedule helps maintain your company’s excellent image, which is a benefit for its success – and your involvement in it.

Punctuality demonstrates professionalism and detail-oriented thinking.

Let’s face it: storming into a meeting room five minutes late with papers flying and a sweaty brow isn’t a good image.
Furthermore, you are denying yourself the opportunity to test out beneficial techniques.

Whether it’s a client meeting, a team debrief, or a staff training session, being on time allows you to double-check that you have everything you need (iPad, pencils, agenda, etc.) and go over your notes.
It’s also an opportunity to figure out the optimum sitting location for you – one that allows you to maintain eye contact with the primary speaker while also maximizing your personal visibility so you can make a meaningful contribution.
It’s difficult to be seen as a serious contributor when you’re locked in the back of a conference room, bobbing and weaving amongst coworkers simply to see what’s going on because you arrived late.

Being on time implies you’ll have all of the knowledge you need to finish a project.
Even being a few minutes late to a meeting might result in you missing out on essential data that provide the groundwork for the remainder of the conversation.

You hold your coworkers in high regard.

Few things are more aggravating than having your own fine work sabotaged by a colleague’s tardiness.

With good reason, teamwork is a fundamental driver of modern organizations. Being on time is the fuel that runs the machine. Moreover, workplaces are interconnected; when everyone completes duties on schedule, workflows smoothly across the company.

A snag in one location, on the other hand, slows down the entire line, causing everyone else to suffer.
Setting a deadline for yourself to complete your part of the process on time indicates your respect for your coworkers’ ability to fulfill their own deadlines.

Simple strategies to incorporate timeliness into your personal brand

There are several solutions available to help you reach your aim of timeliness. Here are just a few to consider:

  • A simple written diary note or an alert on your smartphone or computer may serve as a handy reminder of scheduled appointments, phone calls, and deadlines.
  • Use a time management tool like Remember the Milk or Time Doctor to keep track of your tasks.
  • Also, avoid attempting to outwit the clock.
  • Learn exactly how long a task, a meeting, or a phone conversation will take — and manage your time better.
  • Setting unreasonable, strict deadlines will almost always result in you falling behind.
  • Allow for unforeseen disruptions by allowing some wiggle room.

These tips might assist you in maintaining your timeliness without being concerned about falling behind schedule.

Image Credit: DS Stories; Pexels; Thanks!

12 Time Management Errors That Will Sink You in 2022

By | Time Management | No Comments
12 Time Management Errors That Will Sink You in 2022

Is time management a recurring goal or resolution that you make year after year? Well, you’re not alone. But, unfortunately, it’s been found that a staggering 82% of people don’t have a time management system. And, in my opinion, that can only lead to chaos.

Thankfully, this is the time of the year to rectify this problem. But, the key is to eliminate time management errors, such as the following 12 mistakes that will sink you in 2022.

1. Falling into the time management trap.

“Time management promises us that if we become more efficient, we can make space to accommodate all of our to-dos comfortably,” writes Dane Jensen for HBR. “And yet, time management is like digging a hole at the beach: the bigger the hole, the more water that rushes in to fill it.” After all, with so many demands, blocking out an hour for downtime in your calendar “is akin to setting off a signal flare announcing your capacity.”

As a result, you tackle a new project, assist someone else with their priorities, or commit to unnecessary meetings.

“This is not to say that time management has no value,” adds Jensen. “Productivity is important. But in a world where burnout is running rampant, we also need strategies for eliminating volume instead of simply accommodating it.”

So, how can we avoid the time management trap? Give the following three strategies a test drive.

Reduce the volume of tasks.

Obvious? Sure. But, a lot of us struggle with this nonetheless.

It’s recommended that you merge your calendar and to-do list to have a complete view of your commitments. Then, if you’re already booked, either decline time requests, delegate or outsource them, or reschedule them when you have availability.

Replace decisions with principles.

Too many decisions can lead to cognitive overload. As a result, you’ll feel overwhelmed and more likely to make errors. To prevent this, establish principles like “No Meeting Wednesdays” or wearing the same outfit daily ala Steve Jobs.

Use structure, not willpower, to minimize distractions.

We waste a lot of time on distractions like email or social media. Use structure to your advantage rather than draining your energy fighting against these distractions.

For example, blocking certain apps and websites when you need to focus on your most important task. Or, check your inbox and social accounts at determined intervals, such as first thing in the morning, after lunch, and before the end of the workday.

2. Not setting personal goals.

“Personal goal setting is essential to managing your time well,” states the Mind Tools Content Team. Why? “Because goals give you a destination and vision to work toward.”

“When you know where you want to go, you can manage your priorities, time, and resources to get there,” they add. “Goals also help you decide what’s worth spending your time on and what’s just a distraction.”

That’s all well and good. But, how can you actually achieve your goals? Well, here are six strategies that Angela Ruth recommends in a previous Calendar piece;

  • Take action right now. Don’t wait until the New Year, or the perfect time, for that matter, to get the ball moving. It won’t be easy, but you’ll “never achieve your goals if you fail to take action,” says Angela.
  • Consider your skills and adjust your plan accordingly. Then, for larger goals, break them down into more manageable chunks. From there, “think about what it’s going to take to accomplish each one of those tasks,” Ruth adds. “This includes looking inwardly and considering your talents and expertise,” as well as admitting your weaknesses.
  • Delegate tasks. Behind every successful individual is a team that complimented their skillsets and gave support when needed.
  • Write down a plan of action. “An action plan is a basic roadmap that you can follow that will get you to your goal,” states Angela. “This is extremely important as it will ensure you won’t miss any major steps along the way.”
  • Make sure that everything is measurable. Not only will this keep you accountable, but it will also help you track your progress.
  • Create accountability and hold yourself to it. At the get-go, you need to define your responsibilities and make them crystal clear so that you’ll follow through.

3. Making everything a top priority.

You’re undoubtedly an essential person with more than your fair share of responsibilities. But, and I can’t stress this enough, not everything is a top priority.

“Instead of believing that everything needs to be done right now, determine which actions indeed are your priorities,” advises Calendar co-founder John Hall. “Ideally, these should be the tasks that move you closer to achieving your goals.” You could also take into account “urgency, due dates, ROI, or the consequences of not completing the task or project.”

Do you still have trouble prioritizing? “Try using a priorities matrix, such as the popular Eisenhower Matrix,” suggests John. “Here, you would list all of your tasks into a four-quadrant box.” After that, you would organize them in the following ways.

  • Urgent and important. These should be considered your top priorities and deserve your attention first.
  • Important, but not urgent. Schedule these tasks when you have the time.
  • Urgent, but not important. These tasks should probably be delegated or outsourced to someone else.
  • Neither urgent nor important. Remove these items from both your to-do list and calendar entirely.

4. Fighting against your circadian rhythms.

If you’ve ever searched for time management tips, I’m positive that you’ve been told to wake up earlier. After all, the most successful people in the world, from Tim Cook to Dwayne “The Rock Johnson,” follow this practice. But, unfortunately, while I get why this could work, it can be counterproductive.

For instance, if you’re an early bird, this makes a ton of sense. You’re less likely to get distracted by waking up before everyone else. But, more importantly, this allows you to work during your prime biological time.

However, this may not be effective if you’re a night owl. Why? Because instead of working with your internal clock, aka your circadian rhythm, you’re going against the grain.

To put this another way, if you’re at peak productivity in the morning, then, by all means, wake up earlier. But, if the opposite is true, don’t force yourself to wake up at three or four in the morning.

5. Using the wrong equipment and methods.

“Everything from desks to chairs matters when you’re trying to achieve a goal,” notes the folks over at Autonomous. “Something like the SmartDesk 4 and the ErgoChair 2 can significantly help you work more productively in the office than some of their counterparts.”

I can personally vouch for the SmartDesk 4 and its excellent sit-stand function. While standing up has been found to increase productivity and combat a sedentary lifestyle, you can take a seat when you need a breather.

In addition to the wrong equipment, you may also be using improper time management methods. For example, the Pomodoro Technique is a popular and effective way to manage your time and encourage breaks. But, some feel this is too restrictive and prefer an attentive like the Flowtime Technique.

6. Being busy, not present.

“Are there obligations that must be met?” asks Deanna Ritchie, Editor-in-Chief at Calendar. “Absolutely. But that doesn’t mean you have to be doing something constantly.”

“It’s been found that being a member of ‘the cult of busy’ creates a chronic stress response in your body and mind.” Eventually, you could experience “symptoms like fatigue, insomnia, headaches, and gastrointestinal discomforts,” she adds. “You’re also asking for possible cardiac issues as well.”

“But, it’s not merely our physical well-being that we’re putting in harm’s way,” Deanna says. “There’s also a link between stress and depression.” Furthermore, this can put a strain on relationships and hinder your performance.

Specifically, when you’re busy, you miss out on new opportunities and aren’t working to your full potential. Additionally, this prevents you from effectively prioritizing your time, neglecting self-care, and failing to set boundaries.

How can you leave the cult of busy? By focusing on the present by;

  • Don’t ignore the past or future. Instead, allocate specific periods to plan and worry.
  • Do less. I’ve already alluded to this above. Try using the Eisenhower mentioned above Matrix to simplify your to-do lists.
  • Consider the opportunity cost. For example, before accepting a meeting invite, ask yourself if it’s genuinely worth the two hours of your time.
  • Let go of the narrative so that you can focus. Instead, acknowledge what’s holding you back, such as fear. Then, even if valid, imagine them as a soap bubble so that you can pop them.
  • Bring more mindfulness into your life. Make this a part of your daily life by visualizing your goals, practicing gratitude, and going for walks without your phone.
  • Stop overscheduling yourself. “If you’re not saying ‘HELL YEAH!’ about something, say ‘no,’” recommends Derek Sivers.

7. Undervaluing the time something will take to finish.

“Overachievers are especially guilty of this time-management sin,” writes Lisa Evans in Fast Company. “Thinking something will only take a few minutes, and it ends up eating up a half-hour is a common pitfall of A-type overachievers who never want to turn down an opportunity but don’t calculate how much of their time that opportunity will eat up.”

How can you avoid this? Productivity coach Kimberly Medlock suggests writing down how long each task on your to-do list will take to complete.

“If a task takes 25 or 30 minutes, it should be scheduled on your calendar,” adds Evans. “Another trick is to double the amount of time you think each task will take.” So that you anticipate a task taking you a half-hour, you should block out an hour to play it safe.

You should also map out your day either the night before or first thing in the morning. “Every 10 minutes you spend on planning saves you an hour in execution,” says Toggl CEO Alari Aho. I’ll go more detail into this in a minute, but just make sure to leave some white space in your calendar so that it’s flexible.

8. Skipping breaks.

I get it. You’ve got a million things to do and only a finite amount of time to get them done. But, even though it sounds counterintuitive, you can’t afford to skip breaks.

There’s no shortage of evidence on why breaks are so beneficial. But, the main consensus is that breaks give you the chance to reset mentally. As a result, you’ll feel less stressed and have the energy to make it through the workday.

More specifically, frequent breaks have prevented decision fatigue, restored long-term goals motivation, and sparked an “Aha” moment. Best of all? These can be microbreaks, like going for a 10-minute after completing a to-do list item.

9. Wasting time searching for documents and items.

In all honesty, this has long been a problem in the workplace. For instance, an IDC white paper published in 2012 found that information workers and IT professionals spent an average of 4.5 hours per week looking for paper documents. Similar studies show that the average office worker wastes 50 minutes a day trying to locate misplaced files and items.

The obvious solution, in my opinion, is to keep your workspace clean and organized. It doesn’t have to Mr. Clean levels of cleanliness. But, you should give everything a home and return these items to where they belong after you’ve used them. I usually do this on Friday afternoons before calling it a week.

You could also go digital and move relevant paper documents to the cloud. But, this also presents a findability issue and information overload and multitasking. For example, it’s been reported that “54% of US office professionals surveyed agreed that they spend more time searching for documents and files they need than responding to emails and messages.”

To get around this, you could turn to a unified search solution.

Elastic describes this as “a single search bar for your most-critical content — a one-stop answer shop if you will. With unified search, you can search across all your productivity, collaboration, and storage tools all in one place.” And, ideally, this solution should be;

  • Relevant. “Top-ranked content is surfaced across all the indexed sources, in a single, unified set of results.”
  • Personalized. Since everyone uses different tools, they should be customized based on the user’s preferences.
  • Secure. The solution offers security features like encryption and proper authorization to prevent cyberattacks.
  • Scalable. “A solution that seamlessly scales provides versatility and peace of mind as your search needs grow.”

10. Rigid planning.

Perhaps one of the most significant debates this side of Star Wars or Star Trek or who’s the best Chris in the MCU, is scheduling your time or going with the flow.

Here’s the thing. It’s a balancing act.

Scheduling your priorities, for example, is a must if you want to protect your valuable time. If you don’t, you might end up spending your time and energy on less important tasks. In turn, you could fall behind on deadlines or fail to reach your goals.

Having too much free time can also be detrimental. As mentioned earlier, you need to have some sort of idea of where you’re going and how to get there.

If your schedule is too rigid, then you don’t have the wiggle room and flexibility to address emergencies or unavoidable interruptions. Or, maybe you got a late start to your day because you were procrastinating. If you don’t have free blocks of time in your schedule, then you can’t adjust your plans accordingly.

11. Taking the “ready, aim, fire” approach.

“Always adopt the mindset of ‘ready, fire and aim’ instead of ‘ready, aim and fire’ approach,” writes Shawn Lim over Lifehack. “Always remember that no one is perfect in this world.” And, more importantly, we learn best from our failures and mistakes.

“You don’t have to understand every detail to start,” adds Lim. “You can start right away and figure the rest of the details which you don’t know.” After all, as long as you’re in motion, you’ll “have the edge over people who are always thinking but are not doing anything.”

At the same time, this doesn’t mean you can toss planning and brainstorming by the wayside. Instead, getting started should always be one of your top strategies.

12. Not relieving stress.

Physician and neuroscientist Paul MacLean developed the famous triune brain theory in the 1960s. While his theory has been revised, it mainly argues that we all have three brains.

“The most ancient structure is the reptilian brain, so named because it is made up of the stem and cerebellum,” explains David Hassell, CEO of 15Five. “These structures also appear in reptiles, animals that lack the more developed brain components described below.” Its purpose is to keep us protected as it regulates our heart rate and breathing.

The limbic brain is the next structure. The limbic brain is shared by all mammals “is where emotions, memories, and aggression live,” adds Hassell. It also “controls much of our behavior.”

“When we worry about our social lives and relationships, we recede into our limbic brains,” he explains.

“Finally, we humans and other primates have a specialized structure called the neo-cortex,” says Hassell. Also known as the frontal lobe, it’s “responsible for language and abstract and creative thinking.”

How does this impact time management? “When people feel unsafe at work, their more primitive brain structures are activated, and they can’t access their frontal lobes to innovate,” clarifies Hassell.

Additionally, fear “will trigger their brains to start producing adrenaline and cortisol, and their creative minds will shut down.” In short, stress management and time management go hand-in-hand.

You can use proven techniques like guided meditation and deep breathing exercises to relieve stress. Other suggestions would be physical activity and productively venting to others. Also, create a stress-free work environment by personalizing your workspace and avoiding toxic co-workers.

5 Ideas for Staying Busy During the Slow Season

By | Time Management | No Comments
Ideas for Staying Busy During the Slow Season

For many businesses, the winter months tend to slow down considerably. Unfortunately, a slower season is a reality for those businesses who depend on seasonal tourism in the summer months — or reduced activity due to colder weather, among other things. During this time, the challenge for business owners is finding ways to keep themselves and their employees busy until things pick up again.

If your business has started to slow down and you want to keep productivity high, there’s no need to fret. This list will help get your gears turning as you fill your Calendar with meaningful activities that will boost your business even during a slow season:

1. Start a Deep Clean

Sometimes your business is just too busy to put together a proper spring cleaning. With that being said, now is the perfect time to start a deep clean while you have the time. A clean business space leaves a good impression on customers and creates a better workspace for all employees.

Start by making a list of all the deep cleaning needs to be done. Year-round you’re staying on top of basic cleanings like taking out the trash and vacuuming, but now that there are fewer customers to take care of, it’s time to put in a little extra elbow grease. Carpet cleaning, painting, and digging through old files to see what can be shredded are all examples of deep cleaning activities you can add to your to-do list.

Once you have a list of tasks, use your Calendar to schedule appropriate times to tackle your list. For example, you can schedule times for cleaning between meetings and appointments, or designate the closing hours of each shift for some deep cleaning.

2. Dive Into Your Data

All year you’ve been gathering data. If you haven’t, you’re really missing out on the benefits of data and should start doing so immediately. Assuming you have some data to work with, now is as good a time as any to do some thorough analysis to see how it can improve your business during the upcoming year.

Take a look at all of your data from the past year. This will include sales data, customer data, as well as marketing numbers, and statistics. Can you spot any trend lines that might be of importance? Then, you can use data patterns to try and repeat your success in the coming year.

For example, data gathered from your website might show you that most of your site traffic occurs after five P.M. You can use this information to alter your marketing strategy so that your ads are pushed harder in the afternoon than in the morning. If the data holds true, this should lead to an even more significant increase in traffic and sales growth.

3. Experiment With Something New

If your busiest time of year is the summer, as is familiar with many industries, there isn’t much time to experiment with new things. All of your time and attention is focused on taking care of all the customers lining out your door or flooding your website. However, during a slow season, there’s more wiggle room for trial and error and taking a careful approach to a new experiment.

Let’s say you’ve been wanting to try using video as a marketing tool. There simply isn’t the time to plan out and produce videos for your business during the busy season. This is the perfect time to try out video production now that you’re able. You can even stock up on content to release over the course of the year. Having videos to post during the summer could pay off handsomely for your business.

An off-season or slow season is also a great time to do some product development, try new marketing platforms, or experiment with a new vendor. If things don’t go your way, you have time before the busy season starts to get realigned.

4. Focus on Training

You can fill your employees’ extra downtime with some quality training. Training is never a mistake and will up your business game by better equipping them for when business picks up again and help them feel more capable for any challenge they will face. In many cases, employees won’t pursue this training independently, so take advantage of this time to give them a lift.

Every industry could do with some customer service training. Look up some courses online or look into adding a seminar into your Calendar with a certified instructor. Of course, industry-specific training will always be a good idea, so look into options that fit your organization as well.

Other general training like marketing, writing, and public speaking will also be beneficial. This training will also prepare your employees to take more significant roles within your company or elsewhere. Finally, employees that leave for greener pastures are sure to leave a good word behind in gratitude for your assistance.

5. Run a Promotion

If you really want your off-season productivity to bring in revenue, try and run a special promotion. The holiday season is chock-full of opportunities for promos, such as Black Friday deals, Christmas events, and even a New Year’s special. A great deal can bring in extra customers in an otherwise slow-paced season.

Get creative with the promotions you run. Since business is slow, you can put a little extra effort into the promotions you put together. Just make sure your team is prepared for things to pick up the pace all of a sudden once a promotion is launched.

Just because you’re in a slow season doesn’t mean it has to be a slog. Filling up your Calendar with these activities will ensure you’re staying just as productive as you always do, even if it’s a different way than usual.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Time Blocking

By | Time Management | No Comments
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Time Blocking

For most of us, we’re at least familiar with the concept of time blocking. After all, the practice of time blocking has been around for nearly as long we’ve been using calendars. In fact, Bronze Age calendars seem to have reflected specific agricultural activities to prevent crop spoilage.

While time blocking for personal use is a more recent development, it’s still been practiced for years. So, it was somewhat surprising to read that it’s all the rage on TikTok. As USA Today notes, over 3.1 million views have been generated on the video-sharing platform using the hashtag #timeblocking.

But, before you jump on the time blocking bandwagon, let’s describe what it is, who’s it for, and the pros and cons.

What’s Time Blocking and Who Should Use It?

As the name implies, blocking your time is a way to plan your day into manageable chunks. More specifically, each block of time is devoted to one particular task or a group of similar activities.

Simple, right?

In contrast to a to-do list, time blocking tells you when and what to do at any given time. The idea may seem counterintuitive at first. However, having your Calendar divided into blocks makes you task-focused. And, it also limits others from invading your valuable time.

Furthermore, time blocking lets you begin each day with a set of specific tasks to complete rather than following an ever-expanding to-do list.

Unfortunately, time blocking won’t help you manage your attention and focus better if your Calendar is chock-full of meetings and overlapping meetings. On the flip side, the use of time blocking can be used to increase productivity when you have an abundance of available time. As Parkinson’s Law states, “work expands to fill the time available for its completion.” So, time blocking can be used to regain control over your Calendar and schedule work strategically.

You may want to consider time blocking if:

  • Multitasking is something you do frequently
  • You have trouble focusing on one task
  • You’re prone to getting distracted
  • Meetings rule your days, and you’re unable to focus on what matters most
  • At work, you want to be intentional with your time and energy
  • You need more insight into how you spend each day
  • Overworking is a problem for you
  • You must handle a lot of different responsibilities, tasks, and projects as part of your job
  • You want to achieve more goals and boost your productivity

Advantages of Time Blocking

Highlights your priorities.

In my opinion, the main advantage of time blocking is that it clarifies what your priorities are. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with using a to-do list, they don’t account for time. That means you could underestimate how long a task takes you to complete. In turn, you can end up with an unrealistically long list that won’t be completed. And that can leave you deflated when there are still items that haven’t been crossed off.

You can only schedule your most important tasks for each day because your Calendar only has so many blocks each day. Therefore, you should prioritize your three or five most important and urgent responsibilities for today. As for everything, they can be scheduled for another time or delegated to someone else.

Replaces to-do lists.

The NY Times best-selling author and LEADx founder Kevin Kruse found that after interviewing over 200 billionaires, including Olympians, straight-A students, and entrepreneurs, they shared a similar trait. “Ultra-productive people don’t work from a to-do list, but they do live and work from their calendar.”

As previously mentioned, and as Kruse further explains in a piece for Forbesto-do lists don’t take time into consideration. “When we have a long list of tasks, we tend to tackle those that can be completed quickly in a few minutes, leaving the longer items left undone.” Research shows “that 41% of all to-do list items are never completed!”

In addition, Kruse believes lists aren’t able to distinguish between urgent and essential items. Lists can also cause stress through the Zeigarnik effect. This concept states that we generally remember what has been completed better than what has been unfinished. Due to this, we may feel overwhelmed due to these “intrusive, uncontrolled thoughts.” And, for some, lists can cause insomnia.

Fights against perfectionism and procrastination.

Procrastination and perfectionism. Arguably, these are the biggest enemies of time management. Thankfully, Both of these adversaries can be foiled using time blocking.

Generally, it’s recommended that you block your Calendar with your most challenging tasks first when using the blocking method. As a result, this will allow you to conserve your energy and willpower for the remainder of the day.

In addition, time blocks can help you break larger projects into smaller, more manageable chunks.

Enhances concentration and focus.

“High-quality work produced is a function of two things—the amount of time you spend on the work and the intensity of your focus during this time,” Cal Newport, author of “Deep Work,” told Fast Company. “If you can increase your focus, you’ll get more done in less time.”

By discouraging multitasking, time blocking helps you to improve your focus. It also keeps you from being distracted and context switching. You could, for instance, use an app to block distracting smartphone notifications for an hour as you dive into deep work.

Additionally, this will improve your quality of work as well as your productivity. Why? As opposed to spreading your focus and energy across multiple tasks, you dedicate 100% of your attention and energy to the current task.

Ensures you follow through with goals.

Making a concrete plan helps people achieve their goals, according to researchers. As such, you’re more likely to accomplish your goals and tasks if you schedule them.

As you might have guessed, creating concrete plans becomes much easier when you block time in your Calendar. Mainly this is because it forces you to focus on specific tasks that can help you reach your goals and when you’ll work on them.

Protects your health.

I might sound like a broken here. But, if you want to improve or protect both your physical and mental health, then you need to eat healthy, exercise, and get enough sleep. When we overcommit ourselves, however, this becomes a challenge.

As a result of that, we feel more stressed and have less time to attend to our health during the day. Therefore, you should schedule time for physical activity, eating a real meal, and sleeping times to stay in excellent form.

Also, schedule time to stay mentally sharp, which can also reduce stress. Specifically, set aside times for reading, learning something new, or bringing a skill into play.

Helps you stop being a people pleaser.

Being a people pleaser isn’t always a bad trait. After all, having a meaningful relationship with others depends on being concerned and caring. However, this does become a problem if you say “yes” to gain approval to bolster your self-esteem or if you put the happiness and goals of others ahead of your own.

As a result of being a people pleaser, you may experience more stress and anxiety. What’s more, this can lead to anger, frustration, and less resolve to pursue your own goals. And, oddly enough, this can actually weaken relationships.

While time blocking won’t be the sole solution, it can help you stop being a people pleaser. How so? Well, let’s say that a colleague asks you to help them on a project. If you have already blocked out your Calendar for your own work, you can say “no” to them because you’re busy. As a compromise, you could lend them a hand when you’re available.

Disadvantages of Time Blocking

Using the time blocking technique takes a lot of time.

There’s no way around this. Time blocking takes a lot of time and effort. And, depending on how detailed you are, it can also be stressful. I mean, just close your eyes for a minute and imagine the stress of breaking your day into 5-minute slots like Elon Musk.

For most, that’s counterintuitive and exceedingly inflexible. Perhaps this is why some people abandon the time blocking method.

Murphy’s Law.

I’m sure that you’re familiar with Murphy’s Life, which in its simplest form states, “If anything can go wrong, it will.” But, what exactly does this have to do with time blocking?

Again, if you block out every minute of your day, there isn’t wiggle room for constant interruptions, urgent tasks, and the unexpected. For example, last week, I had an internet outage while trying to meet a deadline. Not only was I irritated that this threw off my schedule, but the thought of missing the deadline also increased my stress level.

Your stress level is even more significant if you require more flexibility in your business life — like executives or salespeople.

We’re terrible at estimating time.

“Most people overestimate what they can do in a day and underestimate what they can do in a month. Likewise, we overestimate what we can do in a year, and underestimate what we can accomplish in a decade,” Matthew Kelly wrote in “The Long View.”

Even if you believe you’re decent at estimating time, there will be times when you’re still off. For instance, you might block out an hour to analyze data, write a blog post, or winterize your car. But, in reality, it takes closer to two. The result is that time is eaten up by one task after another. And, eventually, your day is thrown into chaos after a series of errors like this.

It kicks you out of the zone.

Let’s say that you only planned to write for an hour. So, you block that time out in your Calendar for this. When the hour is up, though, you want to keep going because you’re in the zone. If you’re going to follow your schedule diligently, then you have to stop writing, or you’re going to bleed into another block.

We rarely have the same schedule.

Even if you have the traditional 9-to-5 gig, each day is still different. For example, one day, you’re working on administrative tasks, another, you’re in meetings, and another, you’re tackling a project. That can make time blocking tricky and more complicated. Time blocking issues can be especially tricky unless you only schedule for the day what has to be done of that day — don’t add other obligations.

Or, even if you do have the same schedule day in and out, this can lead to monotony. Over time, monotony can put you in a rut where you accomplish less.

Sunk costs can cause you to make the wrong decisions.

According to the sunk cost fallacy, once people have invested money, effort, or time into an endeavor, they tend to carry on. Accordingly, if you are more deliberate about your time blocks, it could be more challenging to let go if things don’t go as planned.

It doesn’t help you begin the work you have scheduled.

Just because you’re supposed to start a task at 10 a.m. doesn’t mean that’s going to happen if you’re not feeling it. While sometimes just sucking it up and just starting can help, there are days when you’re dragging. So, if you begin working 30-minutes later than scheduled, this can throw off the rest of your day.

How to Time Block Correctly

Is time blocking for everyone? Of course not. But, if you believe that it can be beneficial for you, here are some recommendations on how to time block correctly.

  • Block your priorities. Create a daily to-do list of all the tasks you must complete. Then, sort each task by priority. Now, take your list and block out the most important and urgent for first thing in the morning.
  • Stop working on clock time — work when you’re most productive. Instead, plan your schedule based on when you’re most productive. Usually, this is based on your circadian rhythm.
  • Create theme days. As an example, spend Mondays recruiting, Tuesdays in meetings, and Wednesdays on creative projects.
  • Reserve breaks and time off. Keep an empty block of time on your schedule at all times. These blocks can be used for meditation, walks, or staring out the window. They also give you more flexibility in your schedule.
  • Set boundaries — but be flexible. Despite your best efforts to plan ahead, life is full of surprises. To accommodate this, leave empty blocks of time for adjustments or unexpected events.
  • Create time blocks for things that happen. You should also block out specific times for your priorities and rest as well as those things that really matter, such as administrative and creative tasks, family time, and self-care.
  • Use a calendar to track your blocks. Having the top calendar app is paramount to successful time blocking, mainly because it can track your blocks and avoid conflicts.
  • Revise. Last but not least, track your progress every week or month and revise your schedule if necessary. For instance, if you planned to write a blog post for two hours, but it only took you one, adjust your schedule to reflect that by advancing your next task.

Parental Time Management Hacks that Work

By | Time Management | No Comments
Parental Time Management Hacks that Work

Parents who work full-time provide a little magic and grace throughout the day. The Covid-19 pandemic punishes working parents.

Parents who work full-time are the best people to provide a little magic and grace throughout the day to their own children — But don’t underestimate the care they take with your team, either.

Parental Time Management Hacks that Work

The Covid-19 pandemic has made it almost impossible to be productive and totally engaged at work for working parents. Although everyone is ready to return to normal, even a “new normal” after the pandemic, working parents will likely feel overwhelmed and stressed.

These hacks are tried and tested and have helped many manage a busy household while helping people and teams maximize efficiency and productivity for decades. Add all of your duties and on your Calendar each month. 

Do a time audit every month.

You know that a lot of time is wasted, but most parents don’t spend the time evaluating what could be done differently. A “time audit” is a process that helps you identify where you are wasting your precious time. A time audit is like a financial-wellness audit that a financial advisor might recommend.

Take a copy of your calendar from the previous month, go through each activity and ask these questions:

  • Was this an efficient use of my time?
  • Could this be outsourced, delegated, or simplified?
  • What should I do to respond to this request?

A time audit helps you save time and money in the long term. It is too easy to fill up our calendar with requests and priorities from other people. But if we want to take control of our time, we need to take a proactive approach. Know how you use your time and assess how you use your time.

As a boss, if you are also doing a time audit — keep in mind the office chatter, the water cooler trips, and the lunches, and don’t count those “times” against your “at home” working parents.

Establish work-life friendly team ground rules

The biggest obstacle to setting boundaries about how late you can work responding to emails and other after-hour chores — or working on vacation lies in the legitimate concern that these boundaries might not be compatible with the corporate culture.

All of the extra-long-hour work you did before children are the reason you’ll want to have an essential conversation with your team.

While it is one thing to have your own habits or practices to help you leave work at home, it’s another to be able to discuss these issues as a team and set boundaries that they can all agree on when you have half the team at the office and the other half at home.

Some examples of ground rules could include:

  • Meetings after 3:00 p.m.
  • End times for meetings have always been met — keep it that way. 
  • Please leave work at work—no emails or calls after 7:00 p.m.
  • Vacation is vacation. Emailing while you are sick or on vacation is not permitted.
  • All critical path activities will have backup owners.

These “rules” might not work for you, but it is vital to have a group discussion about how your team can support each other in achieving work/life balance.

Turn Waiting Time into Audio Book Time

Remembering to turn on an audiobook is one of my favorite gifts, and it doesn’t take any extra time. So many individuals have a long list of books we want to read. But who has the time?

Tuning in to the value of audiobooks was transformative for me. The practice has turned a lot of my regular wait times into audiobook listening time.

These 15-minute listening sessions have been a big part of my self-care and my professional and personal development. Listening to audio is a regular part of my daily life, especially while waiting in the carpool line or grocery shopping; it energizes and gives you new thoughts and vision for your work.

Many people would find commute time to be an excellent opportunity for audiobooks or podcasts. It’s simple to take advantage of the downtime throughout the week and read at least one book per week. One book a week has had a significant impact on my life and makes for exciting conversations in all parts of life.

Contrary to popular belief, consuming every minute of your day with an activity (regardless of whether it’s enjoyable or not) isn’t healthy and doesn’t feel like self-care. Your body is the best timekeeper you have. So you will know how much time to spend on this new venture.

Coming out of Covid — you don’t have to accept every party invitation for your kids’ happiness.

You’ve probably accepted a birthday invitation because your child wanted to go, but then you are dragging them around all weekend you haven’t taken care of yourself. 

Many teens want to stay in bed and play vids until noon, which isn’t always a bad idea — but you need help with the house cleaning and pick up so that you are refreshed to get back to work on Monday.

It’s all too common to look at the kid’s invitation with the party theme and be excited for them — but then you don’t get your weekend catch-up done, and maybe you should consider other priorities like extra sleep, lounging, downtime, or additional sleep.

You might want to pause before accepting invitations if your weekends are not relaxing and reenergizing but rather too busy.

You can wait until the day before the party to make a decision or even suggest writing a fabulous birthday card to your child instead of going to the party.

Your Work-Life Balance Down Time

You need to have downtime as a working parent. But, when weekends are too busy, even with pleasant events such as birthday parties, you won’t have the opportunity (and need) to recharge your batteries — the batteries that will sustain you throughout your l.o.n.g week.

Sometimes, small incremental changes can lead to significant changes in your power and energy.

No one magic bullet will give you a lot of extra time, even for busy professionals.

Parents who work full-time will struggle to prioritize and make it all work. Therefore, it is essential to be thoughtful and intentional about how you spend your most valuable resource — time.

Fall Back Into Productivity: 100 Quotes to Get More Done

By | Time Management | No Comments
Fall Back Into Productivity: 100 Quotes to Get More Done

It may not seem like it. But, a lot is going on in the autumn. Between getting back to a routine after your summer vacay to getting the kids back to school and adjusting to the end of daylight saving time (which happened on Sunday, November 7th), now you’ll have to finalize business plans for the holiday season. It’s easy for your productivity to get derailed.

The good news? If you find that you’re struggling with productivity this fall, use the following quotes to get you back on track.

Planning Quotes

If there is one secret to being productive — it’s planning.

You’re more likely to operate at peak productivity when you plan how you’re going to spend your time in advance. The alternative is taking things as they come and without a plan.

In turn, this almost guarantees both low efficiency and productivity. It’s also a chaotic way to live when you have a full plate.

1. “By Failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

2. “Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.”– Paul J. Meyer

3. “Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.” – Gloria Steinem

4. “Long-range planning works best in the short term.”– Doug Evelyn

5. “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln

6. “You’ve got to get up every morning with determination if you’re going to go to bed with satisfaction.”– George Lorimer

7. “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” – Yogi Berra

8. “You don’t need a new plan for next year. You need a commitment.”– Seth Godin

9. “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.” – John F. Kennedy

10. “Your daily choices and actions should be rational and productive.”– Sunday Adelaja

11. “The more time you spend contemplating what you should have done…you lose valuable time planning what you can and will do.” – Lil Wayne

12. “Plans are nothing; planning is everything.”– Dwight D. Eisenhower

13. “A man who does not plan long ahead will find trouble at his door.” – Confucius

14. “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” – Alexander Graham Bell

15. “Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” – Pablo Picasso

16. “Unless you have definite, precise, clearly set goals, you are not going to realize the maximum potential that lies within you.” – Zig Ziglar

17. “Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.” – Tom Landry

18. “Always plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.” – Richard Cushing

19. “To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.” – Leonard Bernstein

20. “Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning.” – Thomas Edison

Priority Quotes

The definition of productivity means being more than just busy. Being productive requires that you remain focused on achieving all of your goals in the most accurate and efficient way possible. And, that’s only possible when you do the right things at the right time.

21. “Life is short. Focus on what really matters most; you should change your priorities over time.” – Roy T. Bennett

22. “When my company started really growing, I didn’t have any help in my house at all. I had the upkeep of my daily life, I had a one-year-old and a three-year-old, and I had my house. So I had to prioritize.” – Julie Aigner Clark

23. “It is not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?”– Henry David Thoreau

24. “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” – Albert Einstein

25. “Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.” – Stephen R. Covey

26. “Simplicity boils down to two steps: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest.”– Leo Babauta

27. “Set aside time to plan how you will spend your time. Think about what’s most important. Then do those things first.” – Frank Bettger

28. “Our greatest danger in life is in permitting the urgent things to crowd out the important.” – Charles E. Hummel

29. “The necessary has never been man’s top priority. The passionate pursuit of the nonessential and the extravagant is one of the chief traits of human uniqueness.” – Eric Hoffer

30. “Learn how to separate the majors and the minors. A lot of people don’t do well simply because they major in minor things.” – Jim Rohn

31. “Desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our actions.” – Dallin H. Oaks

32. “Instead of saying ‘I don’t have time’ try saying ‘it’s not a priority and see how that feels.” – Laura Vanderkam

33. “When you have too many top priorities, you effectively have no top priorities.” – Stephen Covey

34. “Let us reflect on what is truly of value in life, what gives meaning to our lives, and set our priorities on the basis of that.” – Dalai Lama

35. “When you’re clear about your purpose and your priorities, you can painlessly discard whatever does not support these, whether it’s clutter in your cabinets or commitments on your calendar.” – Victoria Moran

36. “Decide what you want, decide what you are willing to exchange for it. Establish your priorities and go to work.” – H. L. Hunt

37. “If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.” – Russian Proverb

38. “Think of priorities, not in terms of what activities you do, but when you do them. Timing is everything.” – Dan Millman

39. “The Principe of Priority states (a) you must know the difference between what is urgent and what is important, and (b) you must do what’s important first.” – Steven Pressfield

40. “Times of transition are strenuous, but I love them. They are an opportunity to purge, rethink priorities, and be intentional about new habits. We can make our new normal any way we want.” – Kristin Armstrong

Quotes to Help You Eliminate Obstacles and Adversity

No matter what task you try to accomplish, and how the amount of planning you did, there are always going to be obstacles in the way. These challenges aren’t just frustrating; they can also interfere with focus and flow state. In some cases, they may cause procrastination.

41. “If you have time to whine, then you have time to find a solution.”– Dee Dee Artner

42. “When someone tells me “no,” it doesn’t mean I can’t do it, it simply means I can’t do it with them.”– Karen E. Quinones Miller

43. “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”– Winston Churchill

44. “Sometimes, things may not go your way, but the effort should be there every single night.” – Michael Jordan

45. “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”– Earl Nightingale

46. “One who conquers the sea today is ready to conquer the ocean tomorrow.”– Matshona Dhliwayo

47. “We don’t develop courage by being happy every day. We develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.”– Barbara De Angelis

48. “A challenge only becomes an obstacle when you bow to it.”– Ray Davis

49. “Sometimes you don’t realize your own strength until you come face to face with your greatest weakness.”– Susan Gale

50. “The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.”– Jean-Baptiste Poqeulin (Moliere)

51. “And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”– Haruki Murakami

52. “Because some people see a wall, and assume that’s the end of their journey. Others see it, and decide it’s just the beginning.”-  Angeline Trevena

53. “There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.”– Malcolm X

54. “A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”– Christopher Reeve

55. “If you are facing a new challenge or being asked to do something that you have never done before, don’t be afraid to step out. You have more capability than you think you do, but you will never see it unless you place a demand on yourself for more.”– Joyce Meyer

56. “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you’re doing the impossible.”– Francis of Assisi

57. “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”– Robert Kennedy

58. “The individual who says it is not possible should move out of the way of those doing it.”– Tricia Cunningham

59. “You can’t get much done in life if you only work on days when you feel good.”– Jerry West

60. “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”– Wayne Gretzky

Quotes to Inspire, Motivate, and Take Action

Need a shot in the arm? Use the following quotes to get you inspired, motivated, and take action.

61. “Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.” – Thomas Jefferson

62. “Dream big, start small, but most of all, start.” – Simon Sinek

63. “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

64. “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” – Zig Ziglar

65. “An idea not coupled with action will never get any bigger than the brain cell it occupied.” – Arnold Glasow

66. “Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot, but make it hot by striking.” – William B. Sprague

67. “Be content to act, and leave the talking to others.” – Baltasar Gracian

68. “Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes but don’t quit.” – Conrad Hilton

69. “People may doubt what you say, but they will believe what you do.” – Lewis Cass

70. “Many great ideas go unexecuted, and many great executioners are without ideas. One without the other is worthless.” – Tim Blixseth

71. “Let your performance do the thinking.” – Charlotte Brontë

72. “Take action! An inch of movement will bring you closer to your goals than a mile of action.” – Steve Maraboli

73. “Well done is better than well said.”- Benjamin Franklin

74. “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” – John Wooden

75. “Action is the antidote to despair.” – Joan Baez

76. “Doing nothing gets you nothing.” – Sean Reichle

77. “Stay focused and don’t allow distractions to fill your mind or derail you from taking continued action.” – Byron Pulsifer

78. “You cannot score a goal when you are sitting on the bench. To do so, you have to dress up and enter the game.” – Israelmore Ayivor

79. “You’re a doer, because you’re prepared to make the necessary effort to translate your dream into action.” – Paul McCabe

80. “There is only one proof of ability—action.” – Marie Ebner-Eschenbach

81. “Nothing is impossible; the word itself says ‘I’m possible!’” – Audrey Hepburn

82. “The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today.” – Nolan Bushnell

83. “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney

84. “Productivity is being able to do things that you were never able to do before.” – Franz Kafka

85. Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence. – Vince Lombardi

86. “You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.” – Zig Ziglar

87. “Time is at once the most valuable and the most perishable of all our possessions” – John Randolph

88. “Both good and bad days should end with productivity. Your mood affairs should never influence your work.” – Greg Evans

89. “Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers, you cannot be successful or happy.” – Norman Vincent Peale

90. “Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure, or you can learn from it, so go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.” – Thomas Watson

91. “If you don’t pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves.” – David Allen

92. “Action is the foundational key to all success.” – Picasso

93. “If you commit to giving more time than you have to spend, you will constantly be running from time debt collectors.” – Elizabeth Grace Saunders

94. “You don’t actually do a project; you can only do action steps related to it. When enough of the right action steps have been taken, some situation will have been created that matches your initial picture of the outcome closely enough that you can call it ‘done.’” – David Allen

95. “Never allow a person to tell you no who doesn’t have the power to say yes.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

96. “The path to success is to take massive, determined actions.” – Tony Robbins

97. “Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.” – Japanese Proverb

98. “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” – Dale Carnegie

99. “Use the word PERHAPS to change your negative beliefs to possibilities that invite ACTION and, ultimately, to positive beliefs and probabilities.” – Anita Foley

100. “If you spend time getting ready to be perfect and do not start out to accomplish your dreams, you will find out later that you could have accomplished your dream if you had just acted.” – David DeNotaris

How to Recognize and Destroy Time Wasters

By | Time Management | No Comments

They are everywhere. Time wasters. Chronological cat burglars. Minute moochers. Is there any way to stop them? You bet your sundial there is!

There are chronological criminals among us. So here is some lighthearted advice to take or not as you see fit.

Time is an interesting concept. Babies don’t know anything about it. Children bend it to suit their own selfish needs. Teenagers can be big-time wasters, as long as it makes their parents mad. Adults become enslaved by it. Seniors are threatened by it. And, of course, the deceased don’t worry about it anymore. That’s why you see so many sundials on graves. They’re laughing at the rest of us.

So what does time really mean to us? The living. The working. The anxious. The serfs. All you rich people who might be reading this article at the moment can go hop on your private jets and fly to Bermuda because you don’t care about time one way or the other, do you?

But for the average Joe Timex, time is a nagging presence that hovers over us — giving an evil chuckle from time to time when our schedules go awry. And what makes our schedules go awry? Time wasters!

Now when you’re at home or away from the office, you can deal with time wasters any way you want, legal or otherwise. But, right now, we are dealing with those insidious time wasters in the office, on the factory floor, who keep you from finishing your work.

Time is money, and you’re already in debt!

Let’s start in the home office. Many poor deluded souls believe working at home saves them time. But, of course, that might be true for the lucky few who don’t have spouses, children, neighbors, or pets just waiting to bushwhack them their schedule.

Take children, for instance. They have a built-in radar that knows precisely when you are in a Zoom conference with your manager. When they sense this opportunity, they go into action. Cereal is spilled. Knees are cut. Fights break out. In other words, all hell breaks loose. And for some strange reason, you are the one they expect to take charge of the situation.

By the time you get things settled, your boss has gone off to happy hour, and you wish you could too.

Here’s what to do . . .

  • When your spouse doesn’t respect your work schedule at home, try divorce. If that’s too expensive or emotional, try earplugs.
  • Perchance earplugs are too itchy for you — use that golden question: “Can we talk about this when I take you out to dinner tonight?”
  • If worst comes to worst, prepare a hidey-hole in your home office where you can secret yourself from the tender attentions of your spouse.
  • For pesky neighbors, the best recourse is a vicious dog. One that would bite the leg off of the Dalai Lama.
  • The only exception to this rule would be if your neighbors bring you good things to eat. If that’s the case, use land mines. So they have a sporting chance to get through.
  • Children should be treated with kindness and consideration. They are unaware of the awful burden you bear as a slave in the salt mines. So when they come to you with their petty squabbles and tears, do not turn them away. Just give them lots of candy and lead them to the TV. You’ll never be bothered by them again.
  • (The ASPCA has approved the following recommendations.) Cats should be sedated with catnip. Dogs should be given the biggest bone the butcher has. Birds should be let out of their cages into the great outdoors. Lizards and snakes, which don’t make any noise anyway, should be donated to the local zoo. You don’t have time to take care of them properly.

In the office . . .

time thief may be your own boss. If that’s the case, just grit your dentures and suck it up. It might help to daydream about the beaches of Thailand while your boss is bloviating. On the other hand, if it’s a coworker who constantly purloins your need to count the bottle caps in your desk drawer, then the answer is just put some cotton dipped in red food coloring in your ears.  And if a colleague still attempts to take your time, just point to your ears and shake your head. If this doesn’t discourage them, then try a piteous groan or two. They should take the hint.

In conclusion . . .

Although this has been a lighthearted look at time wasters — and maybe, perchance a time waster to read — the problem of time wasters is real and it is serious. The best way to keep busy and uninterrupted is to look extraordinarily harried and busy and like you will not stand for any interruption. That’s all you really need to know. That will keep most time parasites away.

The 5 Habits that can Change Your Life

By | Time Management | No Comments
Habits that can Change Your Life

Having habits and routines are essential aspects of our everyday lives. Whether you want to meet a goal, be more productive, or live a more balanced life, habits are those small changes that can add up to significant results over time.

One of my favorite books, Atomic Habits by James Clear, talks about how developing habits doesn’t have to be complicated or feel foreign. You have the power to select the habits you want that will help you make progress. If you’re not quite sure which habits to add to your daily routine, here are five key habits to start that can change your life.

1. Wake Up At a Reasonable Time

Getting up early can make a significant impact on how your day is going to shape out. Of course, this isn’t to say that you have to get up at five am each day. However, training your body to wake up earlier is an excellent habit that will provide a big reward.

Getting up early gives you the time to complete your morning to-do list and be able to craft the best routine to tackle the day. Even getting up 15-20 minutes earlier than you usually do can be a great habit to develop. It might not seem like much, but it’s a start and will add more time back into your day, so you’re not overwhelmed with your schedule.

Waking up earlier doesn’t have to mean you’re getting less sleep either. In 2019, Sleep Cycle, a free app to track sleeping routines, released a study of their three million active monthly users. They concluded the average person sleeps 7 hours and 18 minutes each night. In addition, the average bedtime was 11:39 pm, and wake-up time was 7:09 am. So Americans are getting sleep, but also not oversleeping.

Getting enough sleep but still being able to wake up early is key to starting your day on the right track. Not everybody needs an alarm to wake up, though, and that’s okay. Waking up around 7:00 am is actually something that leaders like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg practice each day. Waking up early will set you in a nice daily routine that can help you be productive.

2. Schedule Out Your Day

Scheduling out your day is another vital addition to this list of habits that can change your life. It’s important to know what you’re doing for the day to avoid getting distracted and losing focus. In addition, scheduling out your day can give you an idea of your priorities so you can accomplish what’s most important to you.

With a clear schedule, you can be productive and not overwhelmed and bogged down by all your responsibilities. But, of course, there are some things that just won’t make it into your schedule, and that’s okay. We want to have a plan but also don’t want to work ourselves to the point of exhaustion.

If your current schedule isn’t working, that’s okay; there are ways to fix it. We’ve highlighted a few tips on how you can get your schedule catered to you. Of course, some things are more important to schedule into your day than others. We’ve mentioned seven crucial components that should be included in your daily routine.

Expressing gratitude and scheduling downtime are just a few of the habits that can be added to your day. Sure, you can prioritize productivity, but you also need to be kind to yourself in mind as well. Time is our most valuable resource, and something we can’t get back once it’s gone. Having a schedule will help you successfully use those minutes and hours and help establish a good routine instead of wasting away time.

3. Give Yourself Deadlines

Giving yourself deadlines to achieve each day is one of the best habits you can develop. Most people don’t like deadlines or the pressure that comes with them, but this can actually be helpful when you change your perspective.

Having a goal in mind when a task should be completed can greatly impact your day. Instead of never having a time in mind when something should be done, give yourself that timeline with a deadline. Deadlines have helped me so much in the past because I often procrastinate. There are some things I probably never would have gotten done if I didn’t have a specific deadline.

There are a few key benefits you can gain working under a deadline. Accountability is a big one. Hold yourself accountable if your deadline comes and goes and you still don’t have the task completed. Do you have someone you can count on to be your accountability partner? If not, consider asking a trusted friend or family member to help you.

Having that accountability allows us to access why the task wasn’t finished and how we will improve by hitting a deadline in the future. Having a deadline in place can also help you build momentum. Knowing you have that completion time in mind can help you stay motivated and limit distractions.

4. Make Time For Movement

Establishing a habit of moving your body throughout the day can change your life. It’s not good for us to be sitting all day without getting up and moving. According to a Mayo Clinic 2019 study, people who sit for eight hours a day with no physical activity have the same risk of dying similar to someone who smokes or is obese. This is bad news for many Americans because sedentary jobs in America have increased more than 83% since 1953, according to the American Heart Association. According to the same survey, only 20% of Americans have physically active jobs. The average office worker actually sits 15 hours a day.

That number is even higher for people who are still commuting to the office every day. Sitting without exercise can raise our chances of many different health risks, including high blood pressure, stroke. Heart disease, obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and more. What can we do to offset these health risks and work from our seat lifestyle?

Well, we need physical activity in our lives. Something as simple as using a treadmill or walking around the block can make a significant impact on your health. Make sure to take breaks and get up from your chair. Standing up as often as every 30 minutes can be huge for you. If you can even stand while doing phone calls, this can be an excellent way to move around and get your legs moving while also getting working done as well.

5. Prioritize Practicing Self Care

Believe it or not, you are your most important asset. We need to take care of ourselves above all else. Make sure you are making time daily to address your self-care. It could be something as simple as meditation, prayer, reading, journaling, or even just focusing on a non-work-related goal you have in mind. Prioritize passion projects that you have as well.

Self-care focuses on both your mental and physical health. We need to keep our health in mind and shouldn’t overwork ourselves. If your time allows scheduling a course can be good for you. It can be job-related or just in a passion that you’ve had. It’s essential to prioritize ourselves and our well-being.

Summary

There has been a shift to working from our desks that hasn’t been seen before. We can’t let our physical or mental health be affected by this way of life. Work is vital, of course, but we are our most important asset. These habits can help you prioritize yourself and improve your life in every way.

Planning for Retirement With Calendar

By | Time Management | No Comments
Planning for Retirement With Calendar

It’s never too early to start planning for retirement! In fact, it’s encouraged to begin planning for the day you retire as early as possible. The sooner you begin planning for retirement, the more contributions you can make to ultimately live out your dream.

It’s also ok to realize that it’s not too late to start making retirement plans. If you don’t know where to start, let’s work through some of the basic steps you should take to begin creating your retirement plan and turning it into a reality:

Start to Visualize

Picture in your mind the ideal retirement scenario. Do you find yourself in a house on the beach or a cabin in the mountains? Do you go golfing every week, or is your time spent woodworking in the shop? Ironing out these details allows you to create goals to work for and implement into your retirement plan.

Make sure you write down your retirement goals somewhere. You can refer to these goals over the years and adjust them as needs and interests change. You might have to change your overall retirement plan to match your new trajectory. Regardless of how often you change your mind, you’ll always have a set plan to work toward.

Your goals and aspirations will need dollar signs attached to them. How much money will you need each month to live out your dreams? An estimation of your cost of living will give you a tangible target goal for your retirement fund.

Set Money Aside

Retirement isn’t cheap. It takes quite a bit of money set aside to live the life you want without earning a steady paycheck. Fortunately, if you start setting money aside now, you should be able to retire comfortably by the time you’re in your 60’s.

Between paying bills and shopping on Amazon, people tend to forget to make contributions to a retirement or savings account. Your Calendar can help with that. Set a monthly reminder to move some money into one of these accounts.

The day you set aside money doesn’t matter as much as making sure you have committed to the process. Your day could be the day you receive your paycheck so that you always make that contribution before spending it on something else.

Be sure to note that retirement accounts such as a 401k have limits to which you can contribute each year. But for most of us — we don’t have $58,000 to drop in our 401s — so just make sure you contribute to your fund.

Be sure to get a tax person to look at your info. Even the Forbes article says $57,000 ($63,500 for those 50 and older) after it tells about the limit being $19,500 — plus another catch-up of $6K.

Nonetheless — getting as close to that savings maximum limit as possible gives your account a greater ability to accrue interest over time, so it’s a good goal to reach if you’re living within your means.

Take Advantage of Company Plans

Most companies offer retirement benefits to their full-time employees. If you qualify for such a plan, take advantage of it while you can. With the help of your employer, you can significantly expand your saving and investing potential over the years.

The benefits you’ll typically get are employer contributions to your retirement account, usually in the form of a 401k. The contributions made by your employer stack on top of the contributions you make on your own up to a certain percentage. You set aside much more money, which generates a more significant return as interest piles up over the years.

Choosing retirement benefits may even impact where you decide to work in the future. A typical employer contribution is 50 cents on the dollar up to 6% of your income. Don’t worry; they’ll do the math for you, but this is a good benchmark for deciding which retirement benefits package you lean toward the most.

Get a Grip on Your Time

You only have so long to prepare for retirement, so there’s no time to waste. However, by improving your time management, you can do more to work toward retirement before it’s too late.

For instance, using an online calendar can help you plan out your days better to get more done in the same eight-hour shift. Getting more done can lead to entrepreneurial advances, promotions, or other career jumps that augment your income. Proper time management can also open doors for side hustles and other forms of income to be added to a retirement fund.

Be sure to remember that you should enjoy life leading up to retirement as well. Time management with your Calendar allows you to get your work done while spending quality time with family, pursuing hobbies, and getting proper rest. These aspects of life are just as important now as they will be when you ultimately retire.

Find Alternate Sources of Income

Speaking of additional income, this is a great time to address the need for more than one source of monthly stipend. The reality is that many Americans don’t make a great deal of money from a single paycheck to pay their expenses, keep up a healthy savings balance, and save enough for retirement. Many have found success by generating additional income through a variety of means.

Investing is one way retirement dreams have become a reality for many Americans. Unlike a 401k or IRA account, investment portfolios don’t have a contribution limit. You can invest as much money as you’d like and withdraw it at all. Make smart, calculated investing decisions on stocks and bonds, and you can watch your money grow from year to year.

Starting your own business is another excellent way to increase your income. You can do some freelance work on the side using one of your skills or look at getting into real estate and collecting rent on a couple of properties. Each option has risks and labor involved, so choose wisely the paths you wish to take.

If you want retirement to be everything you hoped it would be, start preparing now. Draft out some preliminary plans in your Calendar and begin taking steps forward, and by the time you wish to retire, you will have the resources to do so.

Register Now & Get a 30 Day Trial Register Now