Time management is a skill that even the best of us can struggle with. Keeping a proper work, life balance is no simple task. It is however, essential for a healthy lifestyle. Mastering the art of time management is key in freeing yourself from that struggle to keep a balance. There are a few tips for time management that I would consider important to getting closer to mastering your balance. Now that’s not to say they’re the only ones out there or the only path to mastering time management but those that I will cover have played a role in my own path to a better balance. These would include, keeping a focus, killing procrastination, setting a routine and a few more.
In order to keep a strong focus you have to remember to keep your eyes on the prize. Don’t spend so much time thinking about “all the work you have to do,” too often people focus on “when should I do this? How should I do it better?” First you have to think about what it is that you want, the end game result. Often this gets misinterpreted, you have to take the statement literally and set a specific ‘prize’. An example of a specific prize to set would be anything from “I want a house like this, with a pool like this, and this many square feet” to “I want to travel and not have to ask somebody to do so” or “I want to work on my own schedule, waking up at the time that I want” anything that will help you keep motivated and grind on. visualization and positive association are also key in this process. When you’re able to visualize the the end goal and associate the positive reward with an action, or work, it becomes easier and even rewarding to stay diligent.
However, when you do end up procrastinating, it’s due to a misalignment in what I would call the reward-to-pain ratio. When pain becomes what you focus on the most and you don’t contemplate the reward enough then the pain seems to become too much. The second that the pain is too great you’ll begin to push things off and procrastinate. Remember that you’re doing things for a purpose not just to work, it’s easy to push things off but the more you push things off the harder it gets to actually finish them, not to mention you get closer to the deadline, if there is one. Take advantage of the time you get to finish tasks before rewarding yourself with relaxing or lounging, then it also feels rewarding.
This is where setting a routine can come in handy. We as people are creatures of routine and feel the most comfortable and even motivated to do things when there is a solid routine set in place. An example would be people working out. Too often the workout or the diet is the focus, when in reality it’s not those things that matter that much. There’s people who gain weight and lose weight as vegans, or as Paleo or doing high intensity workouts versus weightlifting. At the end of the day the people that stick to a solid and consistent routine are the ones that get in shape. It may be easier said than done but it is certainly possible. You may have to shift your priorities a little and maybe sacrifice some time here and there, but it’s nothing that can’t be done.
When it comes to prioritizing you have to identify urgent versus important; what needs to be completed within the next day or several hours? What are the consequences of not getting it done? Is any future task dependent on a task now? Something else that helps is ordering tasks by the effort they will take. Productivity experts suggest the tactic of taking out the longest tasks first and then moving on to the small ones. However, it’s important that you do whatever you feel is necessary to keep you motivated. Make sure to take things out strategically, there are things that probably must be done and things that could be held off until the dire things are taken care of first.
That’s where you can use lists and reminders, so that you don’t forget tasks that need to be taken care of. If things are forgotten they often pile up and then become more time consuming to finish, and even daunting to begin to tackle. Using lists will certainly help clear that hurtle. Reminders are also important, write down things you want on a piece of paper and put it somewhere where you see it every morning, like a mirror. This is to remind yourself of what you want every chance you have, because if you want it bad enough, you’ll never run out of motivation, and as long as you keep going, eventually you will get there.
There you have it everyone. It’s important to stay motivated and keep focused so you don’t procrastinate and loose track of the work you have to do. Lists and reminders will always help you remember and make it a lot harder to fall off the rails and loose track of your priorities. And first and foremost, remember to always keep your eyes on the prize. There is a purpose behind what you’re doing; all your hard work, the sweat equity, emotion and maybe even tears. There is an end and it is absolutely attainable. Keep motivated and stay strong.