Time: there is never enough of it. Yet, “Time management techniques” have created an epidemic of stress and unhealthy living.
Ironically, people spend a lot of time worrying about time.
Let’s take a different approach. Get rid of fear and anxiety so that you can be the best version of you. Make your time and your ideas flow into happiness.
Let’s get to the root of how to enjoy building your business.
1. Focus on Greatness
The 80/20 principle states that 80% of your productive time is used to do 20% of your work. So, only 20% of your time is productive.
This 20% is usually when you are in flow: you are entirely immersed in our work, able to concentrate without getting distracted.
Think about when you feel this way. It happens when you have the skill set and inspiration to meet a challenging task head-on.
• Create a worthy goal for each task
• Try do daily tasks faster or better than you did yesterday
• Inspire yourself by reflecting on what you like about the task and what you can learn by achieving it
• Work within 2-4 hour periods to build up and employ inspiration
2. Prepare Yourself for Success
Another impediment to flow is skill. Sometimes, you don’t have the skills for a project. So, find out how to get them.
• Research a new project before you start. Identify where you are uncertain.
• Ask others with a different skill set. Try to keep a network of people who have different strengths to yours. You can learn from them and ask them for help.
• Take stock of the needed tools. Do you have the physical stuff to finish your task? If not, where and how can you get it?
3. Know your best time of day
At what time of day do you usually feel flow?
Follow your body’s natural rhythms. If you think more clearly at night, leave time to figure out problems after everyone else is asleep. If you are a morning person, get up even earlier and work hard for a few hours.
In times when your brain slows down, do less difficult tasks. Read through emails, organize your desk, or make a casual, work-related phone call.
It all depends what kind of energy you have when.
Think about how natural work can be if you just cater it to your own energy levels. Ask yourself:
• When am I most social? Schedule meetings around that time.
• When do I have the most physical energy? Exercise then.
• When am I most creative? Use that time to generate ideas.
• When am I most focused? That’s when you get the tough stuff done.
If you create a schedule around your best times, you will get used to working on certain tasks during them.
Over time, it will become natural to work harder for longer.
4. Take Breaks
Your mind and body need a rest.
Breaks are not counterproductive. Physics tells us that when we do work, we convert energy. Thinking, typing and talking all convert the energy in your brain and body into either an idea or a physical product.
Good breaks restock that energy.
• Eat. I used to tutor. One year, I tutored an anorexic girl who had failed Math 11 three times. She was neither stupid nor bad at math. But, she couldn’t focus or remember anything because her brain didn’t have the nutrients to think.
During your breaks, eat a balanced, healthy meal. Anything with omega three, such as fish, flaxseeds, walnuts and soybeans, are a great brain boost. Complex carbohydrates keep you full, but they may distract your brain for half an hour as your body is trying to digest them.
Eat a protein-rich breakfast with carbohydrates. The best breakfasts for healthy concentration are a bowl of oatmeal or two whole eggs.
• Meditate. Just five minutes to clear your mind will increase your concentration and ability to think.
Simply sit and focus on your breath. Or sit in a busy area (preferably in a space where you don’t know people) and look straight ahead. Try not to get distracted by passers-by, no matter how interesting they are.
• Move. Most people sit and stare at a computer all day. It’s not natural. So, break the monotony with some exercise.
Move large muscles first, then work towards smaller body parts. You can do squats, rotate your wrists and ankles, stretch by bending down to the ground, wiggle your toes, circle your head from side to side and twist your back. Or just shake out your body for a quick boost of energy.
You can also combine exercise and meditation by moving mindfully. Breathe deeply and think about your breath. Then move with your breath.
What techniques do you use to ease away stress and work in an inspired way? Leave your comments and questions below.