Running a business, a family and yes – cooking three meals a day, traveling from one end of Bangalore to another everyday and be all dressed up 🙂 . I get this question all the time – “how do you manage it all?”.
We all have 24 hours in a day. How do we use them more effectively? And most importantly, how can we manage our time to live healthier and happier, do the things that we know are important, and still handle the tasks that are urgent? I’m battling with that question just like you are, but in my experience there are three time management tips that actually work in real life and will help you improve your health and productivity.
- No more ‘half work’
So what is half work? I call this division of your time and energy “half-work.” Here are some examples of half-work…
- You start writing a report, but stop randomly to check your phone for no reason or to open up Facebook or Twitter.
- You try out a new workout routine. Two days later, you read about another “new” fitness program and try a little bit of that. You make little progress in either program and so you start searching for something better.
- Your attention wanders to your email inbox while you are on the phone with someone.
Where and how you fall into the trap of half-work is unimportant. The result is always the same: you are never fully engaged in the task at hand, you rarely commit to a task for extended periods of time, and it takes you twice as long to accomplish half as much. Half-work is the reason why you’re able to get more done on your last day before vacation (when you really focus) than you get done in the 2 weeks prior (when you’re constantly distracted). One technique that I use, is to block out everything else so I can focus on one project. For starters,I have started telling people not to call me or ping me on facebook or on whatsapp unless urgent. To avoid interruptions for sure, I switch off all the gadgets for 2-3 hours so I can focus on my time with kids or on new article/ collection that I am might be working on. I pick one exercise and make it my only focus for the entire workout. I’ll leave my phone while going for a jog also my way of getting myself some “me” time This complete elimination of distractions is the only way I know to get things done. In that way I am not worried or feeling guilty about that ‘half – done ‘ work .
- Do the most important thing first.
I do my best to make sure that if there is something important that I need to do, then I do it first. If I have an important article to write, I just grab a cup of hot chai and start typing as soon as I wake up. The same thing applies to my meetings too. I try to finish or schedule these in the first half of the day . If you do the most important thing first, then you’ll never have a day when you didn’t get something important done.
- Stick to the schedule.
There might be occasions when deadlines make sense, (like reaching a place at particular time or serving dinner at home by 7:30pm) but I’m convinced that when it comes to doing important work over the long-term, following a schedule is much more effective. When it comes to the day-to-day grind, however, following a schedule is easier said than done. Ask anyone who plans to workout every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and they will tell you how hard it is to actually stick to their schedule every time without fail. To counteract the unplanned distractions that occur and overcome the tendency to be pulled off track, I’ve made a small shift in how I approach my schedule. My goal is to put the schedule first and not the scope, which is the opposite of how we usually approach our goals. For example, let’s say you wake up today with the intention of running 5 km in the evening ( it is another thing that I have started doing it in the morning itself ) . During the day, your schedule gets crazy and time starts slipping away. In the evening, you only have 20 minutes to workout. At this point, you have two options. The first is to say, “I don’t have enough time to workout today,” and spend the little time you have left working on something else. The second option is to reduce the time, but stick to the schedule. Instead of running 5KM , you run 1KM or dance to a bollywood song or skip ropes for half an hour . But you stick to the schedule and get a workout in no matter what. I have found far more long-term success using the this approach than the first. The cumulative impact of always staying on schedule is huge. No matter what the circumstance and no matter how small the workout, you know you’re going to finish today’s task.
Dressing up and taking care of myself is also part of my schedule 🙂 If i have time i may spend a little more time on my eye makeup or i would at least put a kajal , lip gloss and rush off .
That’s how little goals become lifetime habits. Finish something today, even if the scope is smaller than you anticipated.
Love Babita Jaishankar