5 Things To Do In 30 Minutes Per Day

Time Management 30 MinutesIf you absolutely needed to, could you find an extra 30 minutes in your day? That extra half an hour might not seem like much, but if you make the time each day, it can add up to a lot over time! It might mean getting up a little earlier, finding more focus in your day, or cutting down on your social media/internet surfing time. However you find it, here are 5 things you can do in those 30 extra minutes that produce big results.

1. Get in Shape

I know, I know. We never have enough time to exercise. Why not use those 30 minutes to work out at home? You’ll save time by not driving to and from the gym. Try this 30-minute at home workout, or one of the many others available online.

2. Learn a Skill

Have you always wanted to learn to play the piano? Or be more proficient at Excel or Photoshop? Why not learn? “How-to” information has never been more readily available. Either buy a book and slowly work your way through it, or use an online course website such as Udemy to learn things you never thought you’d have time for.

3. Follow Up

It’s easy to get lost in the quagmire of a full inbox and forget to reach out to contacts we’ve met recently. Why not use those 30 minutes to follow up with new people and keep in touch with old friends or clients. Staying in touch is the only way to maximize your ever-growing network.

4. Accomplish a “Some Day” Task

Have you always wanted to write a book? Organize your garage? Re-finish that furniture? Huge tasks like this seem daunting, so we continue to put them off until “some day.” In reality, “some day” doesn’t have to be one 24-hour time period. Use your 30 minutes a day to tackle one tiny piece of that task at a time. You’ll be surprised how quickly you’re finished!

5. Clean

Who in the world has time to devote a whole day to housecleaning? Use your new-found 30 minutes to tackle a few tasks each day. Perhaps one day you clean the bathrooms, another day you vacuum, another day deal with clutter, etc… It’s much easier to stay on top of cleaning when you set aside tiny bits of time for it in your schedule than when you wait for it to get overwhelming.

Where will YOU find your 30 minutes a day and what will you do with it?

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The Real Reason You Weren’t Productive Today

time management frustrationWe’ve all looked at a lengthy to-do list and wondered, “What in the world should I do first?” Sometimes, however, we know what we should do first, we just don’t want to do it because it’s difficult, time consuming, or worst of all…we’re scared.

When we’re scared to do something, we never actually admit it to ourselves. Instead, we come up with wild excuses to put it off. Try these three steps to conquer your fears, boost your productivity, and finally do those tasks you know need to happen to reach your goals.

1. Tell Someone You’re Scared

It’s easier to make up an excuse for procrastinating rather than admit that we’re afraid to fail, or doubt our own abilities. Verbalizing those fears to others can help us see how unfounded they truly are. Hearing it said out loud helps us admit that we’re putting something off because of fear, not because of the other excuses we’ve imagined. Plus, if you tell a close friend or family member, he or she can remind you why you do have the skills to accomplish what you need to and that the only thing holding you back is…you.

2. Pinpoint What You’re Scared Of

Once you realize it’s fear that’s holding you back, try to pinpoint exactly what it is you’re scare of. Are you scared of being told “no?” Are you scared of losing money? Embarrassing yourself? Wasting your time? Pinpointing your fear can help you address it more directly.

3. Determine What the Reward Could Be

Once this scary task is completed, what will you gain? A new job? More clients? A sense of accomplishment? More money? Pride? Happiness? Defining the reward gives you motivation and helps you realize how “silly” the fear is compared to the reward it could produce. For example, are you really willing to give up a chance at a better career because you’re afraid of being told “no?” Are you really willing to give up on a great opportunity because you’re afraid to pick up that phone, or send that email, or start that project?

This week, I challenge you to make time for at least one thing that scares you. What will you accomplish by casting fear aside and tackling those important tasks that will propel you forward?

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Are You Letting Fear Hold You Back?

This week, you will likely see some spooky ghosts and goblins on your doorstep. However, Halloween isn’t the only time we encounter things that scare us. Some of our fears follow us year round and try to both interfere with our time management, and inhibit us from accomplishing our goals. Unfortunately, it will take more than some free candy to make these scary things go away.

We strive to have excellent time management skills to efficiently work toward our goals. Sometimes, even though we know the steps we need to take in order to reach our target, we let our fears get in the way.  Be careful not to let these three fears stop you from reaching your goals.

1. Fear of The Unknown

Even though we may be dreaming of change, the fact of the matter is, it can be a terrifying concept. The unknown is scary. Sometimes it’s easier to put off taking concrete steps toward a goal simply because the status quo is so familiar. Don’t let yourself fall into this trap. If you need help taking that first step into the unknown, look around. You probably aren’t the first one to venture down that path.

2. Fear of Failure

Failure is not enjoyable and in an effort to protect ourselves from that horrible feeling, we sometimes avoid trying at all. If we never try, we won’t succeed, but we also don’t run the risk of failing! This avoidance isn’t something we’re always completely aware of. A common method of failure avoidance is to busy ourselves with so many other things that we can tell ourselves we “don’t have time” to accomplish what we know is really important. Remember: we make time for what’s important to us. Failure, while painful to our ego, doesn’t have to be a dead end, but is rather a necessary pit stop on the way to success.

3. Fear of Disappointing Others

Many of us let other people dictate the way we spend our time. We do things not necessarily because we want to do them, but because we think it’s what others expect of us and we don’t want to let them down. Here is the thing: other people don’t care nearly as much as you think they do. People who are close to you just want you to be happy, and people who aren’t close to you are too busy worrying about how everyone else is perceiving them, that they don’t have time to judge how you’re spending your time. You need to devote your time and energy to tasks that support your own goals, not the goals of others.

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Improving Your Time Management Willpower

Time management and willpower go hand in hand. Creating a plan for your day that maximizes your time is only half the battle. Finding the willpower to tune out distractions and carry out that plan in an efficient manner can be much more difficult. In her recent book, The Willpower Instinct, psychologist Kelly McGonigal explains that there is much more to willpower than simply having iron clad self-control.

A Constant Battle

We’ve all felt that frustrating, internal struggle. We are tempted to do something – be it procrastinate, skip the gym, or have that second cookie – even though we know it isn’t in our best interest. This happens frequently with our time management. We know that putting off that phone call will just make more problems later, but right at this exact moment, we’d rather do something else. We know that we just checked our email five minutes ago and now it’s time to focus on our work, but what if something really interesting just arrived in our inbox?

We fight these mini willpower battles every day. In her book, Dr. McGonigal explains that it’s as though we have two minds that are in constant battle with each other. One side is impulsive and seeks immediate gratification (I want to check my email NOW, not later.) The other side seeks long-term goals and sticks to a plan (I want to check my inbox, but I will finish the task at hand before I do so.)

Your Inner Procrastinator

McGonigal suggests coming up with a name for the impulsive side of you. For the purposes of time management, it could be “the procrastinator” or “the Time Killer.” She finds this helpful when a willpower battle begins to wage inside your brain. When you find yourself about to put off an important task, stop. Remember, it’s not you who wants to procrastinate, it’s that “time waster” who has taken up residency in your head. He’s doing battle right now with your productive self. Let your productive self win. He deserves it.

When I read this, at first I thought it sounded a little silly. (Really? You want me to pretend there are multiple people living inside my head?) But I changed my tune when I realized it can actually be helpful. As I sit here and type this blog, the Olympic marathon is on TV. I considered watching it and forgoing my work until later, but I realized that was my inner procrastinator talking. I was much smarter than that. I knew I should type the blog, and then go watch the end of the event, which was much more exciting anyway.

It’s All About Control

People want to be in control of their actions. When you are the one who wants to procrastinate, it’s tempting to do so. After all, you do what you want! But when you think of it as another person who is telling you to put off your work, then the story changes. Nobody tells me what to do! I have goals and I’m going to stick to them.

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Photo Credit: Zirconicusso