Updated: Aug 23, 2019
Do you often find yourself looking for ways to improve your time management skills?
After continuously trying, are you still unable to stick to your schedules and TO-DO lists?
What about work/life balance? Are you content with the time you are allowing between professional and personal relationships?
If more than one question was answered with a 'No', here’s 5 ways you could improve self-discipline and make healthier choices that prepare you to manage your everyday activities and fulfilling relationships.
1. WRITE DOWN YOUR PRIORITIES:
To do this answer the following questions -
· Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
· What kind of work will you be doing?
· Describe the lifestyle you will be living
· What stage is your family at? Will you need to consider children and their education or ageing parents?
· Who/What are the most important people/things in your life?
Reflect and write down your responses to these questions in a relaxed state of mind and consider this the goal you are working towards. Then write down how you can give each of the priorities your time and attention. It could be starting off a guitar lessons again or carving out time with your kids every evening after work. Think of how you could add value to each of these interactions to make them fulfilling! You will slowly start to appreciate this time/effort and feel increasingly content in your everyday.
2. LIST (OUT) YOUR AUTOPILOT BEHAVIORS:
Have you ever arrived at work and thought, “what route did I take to get here?’ or “what was that I confirmed for dinner with my wife tonight?” Can you recall your thoughts from when you were brushing your teeth this morning or eating breakfast?
This behavior pattern is called the ‘AUTOPILOT’ mode, where the brain takes over the actions the body does. So, you are doing the activity, only subconsciously. List these activities in your schedule and replace them with healthier activity choices. Activities like checking emails, social media messages are increasingly making it to these lists!
For example, if you picked your phone first thing after you wake up, replace the habit with a routine of changing into an exercise outfit, so you are surer going to the gym. Small changes in your daily habits could really go a long way! The adage, every drop makes an ocean – is quite the idea.
3. MANAGE YOUR ENERGY AND ATTENTION TO MANAGE YOUR TIME BETTER:
· Find out more about your energy cycles, what time of the day are you at your creative/effective best? Set the most draining/difficult tasks to get done at a time that you have most energy.
· What kind of activities energize or drain you? Listening to music, reading and exercise are some activities you could incorporate into your daily schedules.
· Create specific blocks of time where you can take frequent breaks pay full attention to the activity on hand.
· List (out) mental / physical distractions to managing attention. How do you react to the sound of the printer in the adjacent office? Would it better to have it moved to a different room?
Persist with intentional changes in your routine, these will slowly but surely create space for your most important priorities in the day.
4. INCORPORATE A MINDFULNESS RELATED ROUTINE:
Meditation has proven to increase focus and attention to detail. Develop a habit to sit down for 15 minutes every morning in complete silence with a sole objective to focus your attention on your breath. Between every thought, the compulsive act of bringing awareness to the breath, is the habit that will sharpen your attention. This is when you will be able to leave the distraction behind without getting involved in it.
Headspace and Insight Timer are wonderful apps to begin this journey.
5. CELEBRATE YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS:
Commend yourself for the self-discipline when you are complete tasks without distractions. You will see that gradually; you will be able to go on without distractions for much longer periods of time.
Use these tips and tools to improve your time management, reaching your desired outcomes and a fulfilled NEW you! With intention and conscious awareness of your habits, your goals are sure to come your way!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Avanti Bammanhalli has been working with clients to become more conscious in creating their future, mindfully. She has 15 years of corporate working experience in the Leadership Development field across Hong Kong, Shanghai and India and is currently pursuing a post graduate degree in Psychology. Her articles focus on translating self-management into practical tips. To reach her, write to Coach.Mindfully@gmail.com.