Raise your hand if you’ve ever taken a time management class. How about read a book on the topic? Or maybe just downloaded an app to help plan and organize your day?
Now, put down your hands if you still feel like you can’t get everything done.
The problem with these classes, books, and apps is that they often act as Band-Aids. They’re not getting to the root cause of your use (or misuse, really) of time.
But before you can start managing your time, you must understand what it is. Time is a guiding figure in your life. And like any person, it has the ability to communicate with you — as long as you’re listening.
Ask yourself, “What is time saying to me?” Is it chastising you for being wasteful or patting you on the back for your productivity?
I’ve past the 45-yard line in terms of age and when I look back to my earlier years, I know time was sometimes upset with me. I wasn’t using time wisely, and I definitely wasn’t picking up on its cues.
To master your own time, try the following techniques:
1. Get 50 more minutes of sleep a night.
It may sound counterproductive to spend more time sleeping, but studies show that increased sleep can help you be more productive. A study by the Journal of Vision found that the length of time it takes to complete tasks often increases as you become more sleep deprived.
I was getting about 5 ½ hours of sleep a night and thought my productivity was at its peak. Once I decide to up my sleep to 7 hours, I started accomplishing more. Heck, I even wrote a book — those sleep studies can’t be wrong, right?
2. Work in 50-minute increments.
Have you ever sat down at your desk only to look up to find that hours have passed on by? It’s happened to me on more than one occasion. While it may sound counterintuitive, you’ll often accomplish more by working in 50-minute increments of time with scheduled breaks to help you recharge.
But what if you have meetings, patients, or clients all day and no breaks in between? I’d tell you to find for a new job… kidding, of course. Now, what I’d recommend is to become more self-aware with your time.
What would happen if you didn’t attend that meeting, see that client, or ask to shorten an appointment by 10 minutes? Never assume without asking the difficult questions. You may be surprised at how accommodating people can be.
3. Move the body 50 minutes a day.
I’m no doctor, so consult your physician before you amp up your level of activity, but exercise can give your body more energy. As a result, it can provide more fuel in your day—not to mention create a path to productivity.
I know I haven’t always felt like I should take time away from what I’m working on to exercise, but I certainly have more energy for the rest of the day. After all, the human body wasn’t made to sit all day.
4. Take 50 minutes of breaks in 10-minute increments.
Use these 10-minute periods to clear your mind, stretch, walk, or just get some fresh air. Implementing these intentional periods throughout your day will refresh you mind, soul and spirit.
To help ensure I stick to my 50/10-plan, I use focus@will, which allows me to set the time and play background music to enhance my productivity. Having a reminder set to prompt me to take a break is necessary. Consider doing the same for yourself.
5. Nourish the mind for 50 minutes a day.
Be it in thought, reading, or journaling, set aside at least 50 minutes to nourish the mind. This habit isn’t about surfing the web or checking social media, it’s about intentionally
Take journaling, for example. You can learn a lot about yourself by writing down how your day went, what you learned, and what you’re grateful for. You can boost your mental capacity by reading that book you’ve been putting off, or you can grow personally by attending that an online webinar. Try to feed your brain at least once a day.
If you choose to implement these 50-minute daily habits, you’ll often become more productive. You’ll start using your time more effectively, which can definitely help in reaching your goals and life dreams.
Can you hear time whispering in your ear, “Nice, you’re finally using me the right way. I’ll reward you for your efficiency.” That voice can be heard, all you need to do is decide.
Please let me know if you decide to implement these 5 habits. I’d love to feature you in a future blog and share your success story.