We all have the same hours in the day. With the volume of news and social media that we are inundated with, along with our jobs, responsibilities, and past-times, we can quickly get overwhelmed. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance has never been more critical to our well-being.
I follow a simple routine that encourages me to form positive habits that help me stay on track throughout the day.
Just do this
Write down a key thought or quote that can help you focus. Then write down a handful (no more than 7) key things you want to accomplish that day. These can be both personal and professional tasks.
Look at your list throughout the day and cross off the items that are completed with a single strikethrough. If you are like me, you may chose to avoid the things that you don't want to do. Resist this temptation, but don't beat yourself up about it either.
At the end of the day, take a moment to think about what went well in doing your tasks and what could have gone better. Did you have enough mental breaks? What kind of distractions did you come across?
Capture thoughts on improvements and review them the next morning after your morning meditation.
This may seem anti-climatic, but the simplicity is the point. In the world of many productivity apps, emails, to do lists, etc... I've discovered that I spend more time managing the tools than actually getting work done. This isn't to say those tools aren't helpful (I use them every day), but I focus on this foundation first.
By being mindful of the time you spend on tasks, you create a feedback loop for continuous improvement.
And that is pretty much it!
There are lots of programs like Paul Allen's "Getting Things Done" or tips from publishers like Inc. Magazine on productivity. All of these can be helpful, but they latter-up to the simple process below.
If I were to summarize it even further, I would say that time management is a mindful and scientific process where you are constantly testing and seeing how you can improve each day.
One last note-
Diet and exercise are indirectly related to your motivation to manage your time. If you are slacking off on those things, you will find it harder to focus your mind here and in other aspects of your life. It's crazy how our brain connects these things, but part of flexing your time management muscle will help you make progress on flexing your real muscles!