Archive - Systems & Tips

The Best Approach Is Often the New One

New System

As the years have gone on, I’ve tried a variety of time management systems and have a big collection of tricks I’ve used.

You want to know what I’ve found to often be the best method for me?

The one that’s new.

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Thursday Time Tip: Better Productivity with Annoying 5-Minute Deadlines

annoying-deadlines

Sometimes time management is about large, sweeping goals and major projects that affect our lives. Other times, it’s just about a quick trick or two that will help us have a little fun and shave some minutes off of your workday.

This Thursday Time Tip is definitely one of the latter – a fun technique that can give you a little drive to close out some tasks.

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Thursday Time Tip: Taking a Break by Switching Tasks

Task Switching

There’s only so much mental effort that you can pour into a particular task before you need a break.

These breaks aren’t giving in to temptation. As mentioned in The Power of Full Engagement, taking the occasional breather helps you increase your energy levels before you tackle that difficult project again.

But there’s another strategy that I’ve toyed with that has allowed me to be quite productive and still enjoy the energizing effects of a break.

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Thursday Time Tip: Opening Your Eyes with a Time Audit

Time Audit

How do you spend the 24 hours you have in a day?

I mean, how do you really spend them?

By performing a time audit, you can find out. And with a realistic perspective on how your time is actually spent, you have the information to find areas of improvement.

In fact, this audit has been one of the tools that has helped me the most over the past few years.

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Thursday Time Tip: Avoiding the Dangers of Our Own High Standards

Dangers of High Standards

For many people, we are our own harshest critics. We have high expectations for ourselves. We push for perfect performance.

But sometimes having high standards can backfire.

Expecting perfection can lead to a psychological phenomenon that I will call the “might as well” effect.

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Thursday Time Tip: The Zeigarnik Effect

Zeigarnik Effect

Here’s another tip that didn’t fit into Your Procrastination Solution but may be quite helpful to some.

As explained by Richard Wiseman in 59 Seconds, dive into a project and trick your psychology using the Zeigarnik effect.

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Thursday Time Tip: Fighting Procrastination with Clarity

Fighting Procrastination with Clarity

I left this out of Your Procrastination Solution, but I think it’s worth a mention here.

Although it’s not necessarily a cause of procrastination, often confusion can be a large contributing factor.

If you don’t have a clear idea of what you should be doing right now, it’s much more likely that you’ll procrastinate in order to relieve the tension.

Maybe a task seems overly complex. If so, break it down into steps and get started on your first item.

Maybe your to-do list is lengthy and unprioritized. If so, establish what’s your number one priority at the moment.

This isn’t a revolutionary approach – it seems like so much common sense. But I bet you’d be surprised how often confusion throws a monkey wrench into your productivity. Oftentimes a little confusion is all it takes to tip the balance over to procrastination.

And, of course, I don’t want to forget to mention my new (and free!) ebook, Your Procrastination Solution.

Don’t procrastinate and grab your copy right now.

Photo Credit: Marcos (Creative Commons)

Your Procrastination Solution Is Here

Your Procrastination Solution

You undoubtedly struggle with procrastination. It seems as common to the human condition as breathing.

Scripture tells us it’s foolish, time management experts tell us it’s wasteful, and even our own common sense tells us it’s something to be avoided. But yet we still scratch that procrastination itch.

We don’t need more guilt trips. We don’t need more motivational posters. We need real solutions.

That’s why I’m excited today to announce the release of my new (and free) ebook, Your Procrastination Solution.

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Thursday Time Tip: Protecting Your Time from Your Spouse (and Respecting Their Time)

Protecting Your Time from Your Spouse

Do you know what the two easiest tasks in the world are?

The first is creating work for others. The second is saying yes to work others create for you.

Of course, this leads to a breakdown as commitments vastly outpace our ability to meet them. It’s crucial we learn to say no.

And as I think back in my life, the person that most often creates work for me is my wife. By far, I’m the person in my wife’s life that creates the most work for her. I’d imagine your marriage may be the same.

We need to learn how to lovingly and respectfully navigate this situation – guarding our time and learning to protect our spouse’s schedule from our own demands.

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Thursday Time Tip: Focus on Outcomes, Not Activity

Focus on Outcomes Not Activity

A costly mistake we can make is to measure our productivity the wrong way: how many hours we work, how early we woke up, how much time we’ve blocked off without interruptions to focus on that latest project.

But we all realize that what really matters is the results, not how long we worked. So obviously let’s shift our focus to what’s truly important to measure.

It’s a simple mindset switch, but it’s powerful.

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