Remember the last time you didn’t have to cancel on your friends because you had something else to deal with? The last time you made plans that you could actually follow up on?
Hey, I’m doing something for my future, one might think, but is it really something that benefits you? After all the activities you’re involved in during an average day, is there any time left for actually doing what you like? For the things that will help your personal growth?
In reality, being always busy sucks, hands down. It does.
It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be actively pursuing what we want though, or that it isn’t important to keep moving in the right direction. When trying to balance your life out, be careful to not just drop whatever you’re doing and contemplate life because, truth be told, that’s also a waste of time.
This right here – this isn’t an article about finding what makes happy you in life, but about learning to manage your time in order to find it and pursue it.
As thoroughly described by Mindtools, these are 3 steps concepts that will help you improve time management.
1-Are you procrastinating?
Sometimes the sole reason we are not able to achieve something is that we tend to postpone it by engaging in meaningless activities. You may have your reasons to do this, it may be an unpleasant or boring chore, but in the end it doesn’t matter – it needs to get done.
Did something come to mind? Surely it did, and fortunately, there’s an antidote: eat an elephant beetle first thing, every day. We don’t actually mean you have to eat a bug (or if you’re into it, then go ahead); what this means is that you do the thing you dread most first, so it clears up space during the day for more personal growth. You could start reading that book you always wanted, take singing lessons or do anything else that you love. As a bonus, you’ll feel motivated because you already achieved something at the beginning of the day. Awesome, right?
Easy? Knowing what’s important to you should be a piece of cake – except that it isn’t, which might end up being another reason for procrastination.
If you are one of the people that isn’t quite sure – and don’t be ashamed if you are – you could benefit from using Eisenhower’s Principle:
Step 1: Understand the difference between Important and Urgent and act accordingly.
- Important: Activities that create results which help you achieve YOUR goals.
- Urgent: Activities that demand immediate action, usually helping achieve SOMEBODY ELSE’S goals.
Step 2: List all the activities you need to get done, then classify them in the next 4 quadrants:
- a) Important and urgent: Emergencies or the results of procrastination.
- b) Important but not urgent: Endeavours that will help you reach your goals.
- c) Not important but urgent: Frequently external requests, that you can try delegating or saying no to, if the activity doesn’t benefit you.
- d) Not important and not urgent: Distractions that should be avoided.
From top to bottom, the first quadrant contains the situations you should deal with first; the last one the least prioritized.
3-Effective Scheduling Your Time
We talk a lot about how to schedule, but here are the steps to actually be able to do so:
- a) Identify time available for your wok.
- b) Schedule essential actions: things you need to do no matter what, like office hours or school time.
- c) Schedule high-priority activities: things that top your To-Do list, usually the first two quadrants of the Eisenhower Principle.
- d) Schedule contingency time: space for solving emergencies.
- e) Schedule discretionary time: all the IMPORTANT activities, i.e. your me time.
At the end of the day, it’s about self awareness and self respect. Spending time doing the activities that are important to you should be a non-negotiable!
Now that you’re all set with useful tips and tricks, there are no excuses for not catching up with family or friends, watching that movie, volunteering, developing your professional skills, setting up that start-up, etc. Let us know in the comments below how your daily life changes once you apply these! And remember:
“Being free is (…) spending most of the time of our lives on what we enjoy doing”
*For more information about these concepts visit: