We often mistake a lack of time management skills for a lack of time.
We think we don’t have enough of it when in truth we are simply not using it right.
Watch out for these five sneaky things if you want to make the most out of your time.
# 1 — The inability to say no
Honestly, if you did all of the things that people asked/expected you to do, would you have time for anything else?
Especially in the workplace, people will ask you to do things.
It’s not their job to take your schedule into consideration or to think twice about you being able to do it all — that’s your job.
Some people have a hard time saying “no”.
They would take on any task and clutter their agenda with a million things that get their focus away from the important projects they’ve been trying to tackle for a while.
Just before quitting my 9-to-5, a colleague of mine was promoted to manager.
The dedication to prove herself worthy in the eyes of the top managers made her take everything on her shoulders. She was not able to say no, delegate, or postpone.
The sad downsides of this were that:
- she wasn’t able to be the kind of manager she wanted to be, because she was too busy being the kind of manager she thought she had to be, and
- people kept asking her to do stuff because she made it look like she could handle it all.
That’s the recipe for burnout.
# 2 — Lack of sleep
According to research, lack of sleep has damaging effects on our ability to focus, decision-making, and productivity in general.
It’s funny how culturally we seem to be headed in the exact opposite direction.
People often think of sleep as “a waste of time”.
I’ll sleep when I’m dead.
How many times have you heard this nonsense?
Body-mind is a system that needs sleep, nourishment, and exercise among other things to function well.
Fall short in meeting any of your basic human needs and rest assured (no pun intended) — your ability to focus and get things done will suffer.
# 3 — Multitasking
We are conditioned to think of multitasking as a remarkable skill.
I myself have been pushed to take on more duties because “women are masters at multitasking”.
It’s not a skill. It’s a dumb thing to do, and it’s damaging.
Instead of focusing your attention on one thing, and doing that well, you are doing multiple things poorly.
Research now shows that in the long run, this tendency causes memory loss and poor attention.
Focus and undivided attention — that’s what you should aim at in every single thing you do.
# 4 — Disorganization
Planning ahead properly means getting more done when you actually sit down to do it.
I have 1.5 hours per day to write.
I could just open my laptop and sit there waiting for inspiration or I could use the quiet moments in my day to think about what I want to write in advance and start gathering bits and pieces so that when the time comes I’ll get straight to writing.
If you don’t plan ahead properly you’ll waste time getting ready to get something done.
The same goes for keeping order around you.
Clean space = clean mind
# 5 — Bad mood
People often say:
Don’t take decisions while angry or sad.
Work on your anger or sadness before getting anything else done at all.
Emotions always deserve attention.
Suppressing them because “you don’t have time for it” will only perpetuate the negative feelings. You push them down, and they come back stronger than before.
Besides, being in a bad mood often gets us stuck in our heads and sees us unable to focus on what we are doing.
We are busy ruminating and thinking about whatever it is that’s causing us that negativity, and we can’t really put our intention and attention into what we are doing.
Being in a positive mood, on the other hand, means being able to really focus, take inspired action, and operate from a state of flow.
This leads to being more productive, organized, and focused, which translates to getting sh*t done faster and better and having more time in your day.
Here’s what to do to make the most out of your time:
- Learn to say no
- Take proper care of yourself
- Be intentional in whatever you are doing
- Get organized
- Feel good
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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Photo credit: Minh Pham on Unsplash