We live in the 21st century, at the time when the competition is high and we have a lot of responsibilities expected of us and a lot of tasks to be completed. This is draining and most of the time it feels like it is easier to lie on the bed rather than get up to all this which is awaiting us. Very often the absence of strategy and management life hacks is the main reason for procrastination, which has become a catchy word for the past decade. Very often people who have mastered time management skills are the people who have found balance in their life: this includes their professional and private life, self-growth, health, psychological well-being, managing their interests and etc. All of them were not born with a guide on how to become happy and satisfied with their life. This came with the experience of experimenting with what helps to boost focus and productivity over the course of the day. In this article, we are going to have a look at some ideas and principles which can help you organize your daily routine, find your work and study balance, and become more efficient.
Google Founders’ Strategies
Sergey Brin and Larry Page at the start of their Google days granted their employees 20 percent of their working time to work on the projects they are passionate about. They believed this should stimulate people’s motivation for producing amazing things at work. And it definitely did: the outcomes of this benefit include Google News and Gmail. In this book — The Google Guys: Inside the Brilliant Minds of Google Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin — you can find more interesting insights about the internal organizational processes of Google.
By calculating the number of hours per day that you dedicate to work and taking 20% of it for working on the things you really enjoy will help you to stay motivated and avoid dreading your tasks.
To organize your work in an efficient manner, you need to understand when you can focus better and get less distracted. But also it is helpful to know that our brain concentrates best at 90 min intervals and in-between we need to let it rest for a bit. Now you can see why your lectures at uni are that long as well! You can try to use a Pomodoro time-management technique to employ this working style.
The Power of Naps
Nowadays with the need to juggle 12 hr working schedules, gym slots, family goals and healthy eating habits we can come to the end of the day feeling squeezed like a lemon. Countless tasks constantly push our bedtime further and exercising 20-30 min power naps during the day will help recharge your creative genius. One of the most famous men of the 21st century was known for disappearing for an hour afternoon nap that let him stay energetic until 1-2 am. And his name was Churchill. He once said:
“Nature has not intended mankind to work from eight in the morning until midnight without that refreshment of blessed oblivion which, even if it only lasts twenty minutes, is sufficient to renew all the vital forces.”
— Winston Churchill
Setting realistic goals is the key principle for managing time efficiently and avoiding procrastination. Such people as Oprah Winfrey, Warren Buffet, and Steve Jobs have had repeated success in different spheres of their life due to the strategies that helped them realize their full potential. Pursuing SMART goals is one of such strategies to ensure that Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely targets are set on a short- and long-term basis. It will keep you going and will boost your productivity level.
- Specific: instead of promising yourself to “start jogging” one day, you can “join a running group to jog in the park on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings every week for the next 6 months”.
- Measurable: you need to be able to measure and evaluate your achievements. You should set a number of sessions/intervals which you plan to do in order to feel that you have achieved the result at the end of the day. For example, each day you drink 8 glasses of water.
- Attainable: here you should be realistic about your goal. Do not start with 100 push-ups, start from 15 push-ups every day, and in 2 months’ time, you will find it easy to do 100.
- Relevant: you need to focus on your goals list and prioritize things that are relevant to this list.
- Timely: set yourself a timeframe within which you will be achieving your measurable goals. For example, you will spend 30 min 3 times a week to review the conjugation of French verbs.
David Allen wrote his book “Getting Things Done” to share simple steps to make you more efficient. Following the ideas in his book has helped thousands of people to reach their goals and enjoy a more satisfying life. The writer advises to:
- Free up your head: write down the things you need to do. In such a way you make sure that you keep track of your to-do list and you declutter the mental space in your head.
- Draw up an action plan: you need to know your next few steps and start with an accomplished result in your head. In such a way you will be able to prioritize and avoid losing time on trying to be perfect.
- Trust your plan: you need to believe in your plan, in your goals, and in yourself.
“You can do anything, but not everything.”
— David Allen