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Tackling Time Management: Separating Myths from "Go To" Habits

Updated on January 22, 2016
The fight against time, alarm clocks and our time cards...
The fight against time, alarm clocks and our time cards...

Re-Associating Time

We all come to a point in our lives, where we have more tasks to complete, than we do hours in the day to complete them. It's far too easy to overlook the variants between clock time and real time. The difference, is that real time is created, and because it's created; it can be managed. We all find ourselves racing against the clock and wishing there were more hours in the day. These simple changes I will be writing about, have the power to fix the race. What it comes down to, is three categories under which our time dissipates i.e. actions, thoughts and conversations e.g. social interactions.

When Nothing Is Accomplished

depiction of how a useless day feels
depiction of how a useless day feels | Source

The Myth Behind Multi-Tasking

In 2016, statistics determined that approximately half of adults feel like the hour glass is half-empty; take a second to think about how you perform tasks throughout the day. Do you work on more than one task at a time? We all know that multi-tasking has been promoted as the "go to" ability of a strong employee for years. It's listed in resumes, it's elaborated on in interviews. This is one of the most widely accepted myths today and it's likely hindering your productivity, efficacy and relative sanity. It could even be costing you that promotion you've been patiently waiting for.

So many of us strive to be good at what we do and in doing so, we associate speed with quality and status. We fall victim to the belief that speed is a determining factor in our relative social or professional standing in the world. The irony here, is that speed does not generate accomplishment; unless you run track for a living. How many times have you literally been running all day, only to realize that nothing you set out to do was accomplished? Speed is the entire concept behind multi-tasking. The idea of completing tasks in a shorter amount of time is ideal, but here-in lies the problem; the brain is simply not capable of this.

Scientific and Neurological Proof

The cerebral cortex is only capable of focusing on one task at a time. The illusion of "multi-tasking" is your brain shifting it's focus from one task to another, in repeat. While speed may be at play, this reduces your capability to provide high quality work. Each time your attention shifts you're losing milliseconds of your attention span that could've been applied to your work. The result is inefficient, low quality work and high levels of stress. Now, that we've unlocked the truth behind this myth, lets look at some simple changes we can implement to reverse these issues, and simply our lives. As you read through the remaining aspects of this article, keep in mind that the actions we neglect, are the ones that consume the most of our time. Lets look at the bare necessities; the tasks that cannot be cancelled out. We all have to eat, be able to function in our own homes and make sure were doing our jobs and not getting fired.

Easy Dinners in 15 minutes

Preparing a meal can be done in fifteen minutes. Prep a simple slow cooker meal the evening before a long day, and pop it in the crock pot before you go to work. It's safe to leave on, without worrying about coming home to your house engulfed in flames and will save you a ton of time and effort. Roasts and potatoes, whole chickens work great for this kind of slow cooking and if this is new to you; there are tons of recipes online. Dinner will be ready and waiting for you when you return home!

Always Start With The Machines

Don't fall into the Washer!
Don't fall into the Washer! | Source

Simple Tips to Quickly Cleaning House

The most demanding task is cleaning house. Start making yourself aware of how you do things each day. Do you clean as the messes are created or do you leave it for later? I've learned through experiences, professional and personal; it is always easier to clean them as they appear. Leaving messes for later, puts a hamper on your day and your mood, and none of us have a bank of extra energy after work. It will take a few weeks to get this habit down, but it will bring a feeling of ease into your everyday life. If you got em, direct your kids to pick up some of the slack for you; a few sets of helping hands are always better than one. Most kids will find a sense of accomplishment and it will work towards your common goal to spend more time together as a family.

Always get the machines working for you first, when cleaning house. Start the laundry and the dishwasher. Sweep or vacuum next. Wipe down bathroom and kitchen counter-tops while the machines are still running. Implementing these little tips, along with the habit you just picked up will keep your home clean, free up your time and make room for some much needed sanity in your life.

Losing Your Concentration?

Too much time in front of any type of screen can be detrimental to your focus if you don't allow your brain time for breaks.
Too much time in front of any type of screen can be detrimental to your focus if you don't allow your brain time for breaks. | Source

Tactics To Increase Productivity At Work

Take short breaks throughout the work day, to get up and move around, get some fresh air. If your job is too demanding for breaks, offer to take on a small task you don't usually perform e.g. making a coffee run or retrieving office supplies from the supply closet. The key is to only take on one project at a time. Your boss might assign you five projects at once and that's okay-but focusing at one at a time, through completion will result in better output in the long run. Your co-workers will appreciate your added effort and the change in pace will help your mind to reset. You will be able to focus better, when you resume your regular tasks and you'll discover you are able to work more efficiently. More efficient work ethics bring on reductions in stress, and deadlines, allowing you to actually relax after work. This is a great tactic for students as well, when it comes to studying.

Allow Yourself Time To Make Room For Change

Give yourself time to implement these habits into your everyday life. It takes a minimum of a few weeks to make or break a habit. Do your best to tweak these habits to fit your life better. Once they've become habit, you'll find that you're less stressed, your home life is far less hectic and your free time will increase immensely.


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