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Are you always busy, yet not achieving much?

DSC05058Time management is such an important issue to me that in the early days of this blog, there was a huge focus on the subject. Plus, one of my very first posts, 10 Easy Steps to Improve Time Management and Reduce Stress, was featured on Freshly Pressed, which drove tons of traffic to this blog. It was obvious to me that time management was a huge issue for people, and for the first time in my life I was excelling in that area.

I periodically updated this blog with tips on time management, as I tried out new systems and shared what worked best for me. And then there was a dry spell as I focused on other things, until I came around the other day and wrote another post on time management. There were two great comments on the post, which inspired me to expand a little on one of my replies there. Continue Reading →

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Improve Time Management by Working in Blocks

DSC05002I was just listening to an audio recording at this gym this afternoon that gave some recommendations to improve time management. Most important: schedule your personal events first, then arrange your business activities around those.

How many people actually do that?!

Very few, I’m sure. It’s been a while since I updated you on my current time management system. It changes from time to time, and while I was really good about sharing my systems back in 2011, I haven’t shared anything with you in quite some time. So, how did I improve time management this year? Continue Reading →

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Are you happy on weekdays, or just on weekends?

The other day, I received an email from someone who ended the message with something like, “We’re one day closer to Friday.” There was a little smiley face at the end. Like it was a happy thing that this person had one less day in their life.

It made me a little sad to read this. Perhaps it was a simple work joke (I truly hope this is the case), but it gave me the sense that this person was actually hoping the week would speed by so Friday would come faster.

Have you ever felt like this?

Do you currently feel like this? Are you thrilled that today is Friday, because you know the weekend is just around the corner? Are you happy that your “real” life starts today at 5pm?

Continue Reading →

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Improve your time management with Wunderlist

It’s been a while since I wrote a post on time management, and I know that it’s still an issue for many people because my post 10 Easy steps to improve time management and reduce stress is still the #1 post on this blog. In the two years since I wrote that post, I’ve experimented with a number of different techniques.

To me, it all comes down to priorities and clearing the tasks out of your mind. But one of the tools that I’ve found most useful in the past several months is Wunderlist. It’s a free app, available for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Android, and Windows.

I’ve been using it to set up all of my tasks. Each day, I identify my top priority tasks and work on them. If any tasks are left at the end of the day, I re-program them for the following days. And if new tasks pop up during the day, when I think of new tasks to do, I just add them to my Wunderlist.

It’s been a fantastic way to get things out of my head and stay focused on the task at hand. Often, I’ll be looking for something online as part of one of my tasks and I’ll come across an interesting article or something that can help me with work. Rather than distracting myself by reading it at that time, I’ll just copy and paste the URL into my Wunderlist with a note to read the article later.

What time management tools are you currently using? What works for you in managing your daily and weekly tasks?

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Who am I? Taking a look at procrastination

Pink tulip flower

Image via Wikipedia

“The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.”

Jessica Hische

Today’s aspect of the Who am I? question involves taking a look at procrastination. It’s time to ask yourself the following question: what do you do when you procrastinate?

Do you blog? Wade through multiple social media sites? Call all your friends on the phone? Go to the gym? Read a book? Help a colleague with their work? Write an iPhone app? Play a computer game?

1. Make a list of all the things you do to procrastinate, no matter how small you think they are. Either write this down in your notebook or  journal, or on a piece of paper you can keep with you all day long. Procrastination doesn’t only happen at work. It can also happen when you’re at home and need to do the dishes, the laundry, clean out the cat’s litter box, go to the gym, whatever. Just be sure to get it all down.

2. After a week, review your list of procrastination activities and prioritise them in order of preference. Which activities do you most enjoy doing? Number them, alongside the activity.

3. Then, look your list over. Ask yourself: what is this an example of? Write that down next to the procrastination activity. Some ideas, to get you started, using the above activities:

  • Blogging is an example of writing.
  • Social media is an example of communication.
  • Calling friends is an example of communication.
  • Going to the gym is an example of healthcare and wellbeing.
  • Reading a book is an example of education. Or entertainment.
  • Helping a colleague is an example of education. Or mentoring.
  • Writing an iPhone app is an example of technology.
  • Playing a computer game is an example of entertainment. Or technology. Or communication. Or education.

There’s no right or wrong here. The important thing is how you see the activity. Maybe you’re a big fan of a flight simulator game, and you see what as education, rather than entertainment. What does each activity mean to you?

4. Next, look at your top three or five favourite procrastination activities and what they’re an example of. You may notice that you’ve got several in the communication category. Or maybe your top five are all different things. If so, take those five separate things, and see if they might apply to some of your other top five activities. For example, maybe you came up with the following:

  • Blogging is an example of writing.
  • Social media is an example of communication.
  • Going to the gym is an example of healthcare and wellbeing.
  • Reading a book is an example of education.
  • Writing an iPhone app is an example of technology.

Blogging first came to mind as an example of writing. But it can also be communication, education, and technology. Social media can also be a form of writing, education, and technology. Get it? And once you expand your definition of each activity, you then may see some common themes. Maybe it all comes down to communication for you.

The important thing here is getting to know yourself through your procrastination. If you find yourself consistently procrastinating when you’re “supposed” to be getting something done, then it might be a sign to make some changes.

This is an adaptation of a previous post, but it’s so relevant to the Who am I? question, that I decided to include it again. What did you learn from this exercise?

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