Time Management and Staying Focused
Image by Daria Nepriakhina
Image by Alexa Williams

The Mindset

Brad Aeon spoke about The Philosophy of Time Management in a TedTalk, and this is what he suggested:

Oftentimes, the reason we feel like we don’t have enough time is because there are so many options to choose from… 

When you say "I don’t have time", it’s usually because you are thinking there are so many things you could/should be doing. In reality, you won’t: it’s the concept of having those other options that holds you back.

A lot of the time, people get caught up in finding tips and tricks to be more efficient, when in reality, that can end up stressing them out more. It can lead to trying to take on even more tasks.

We have so many choices of what to do so we need to embrace the freedom of having choices rather than overworking to make time for all of them. 

You have to prioritize what is worth your time because there will always be other things showing up that you could do.

Prioritizing

Prioritizing can come in many different forms.

You can prioritize your goals in life all together or this prioritize what you have to get done that day.

Either way, prioritizing allows you to clear and focus your mind.

Staying Organized

It can be very overwhelming when you are thinking about everything you have to accomplish in a given amount of time. Writing it all down in one place is extremely helpful to alleviate that stress.

This can be done on a piece of paper, on a note in your phone, or in an agenda.

The important thing is to stay consistent… if you are writing down what you have to accomplish in 5 different places, you’re more likely to forget something, or misjudge how much time you need to dedicate to your work.

You can also write down a time estimate next to each to-do item. That way, if you have a 30 minute window, you can look at your to-do list and find the best way to maximize that time.

In addition to a time estimate, consider writing due dates and deadlines as well. A 10 minute project might seem more appealing to get done but if it's due in a month as opposed to a day...you might want to work on something else.

If you have a lot of times or dates to keep track of as well, you might also find it helpful to set up a Google Calendar, or any other type of calendar, where you can document the date and time of appointments, due dates, etc. 

If you do decide to use Google Calendar, you may also want to try using Google Tasks. This can be opened next to the calendar so that you can easily see your list of what you need to accomplish alongside your calendar.

Eliminating Distractions

A s much as it can be challenging, sometimes the best way to eliminate distractions is to turn your phone off and put it somewhere else.

You don’t have to completely turn your phone off if you don’t want to, but if it is still making notification sounds, that will keep you from staying focused.

Even though it might seem like you’re missing out while you do this, if you can be more efficient, then you’ll actually have more time to relax and spend time doing whatever you want.

The app "Bakery" is a great way to stop yourself from using your phone when you shouldn't be. You set timers and the app "bakes" a dessert. It will burn if you open another app! 

If you do decide to put your phone somewhere else, try to make it somewhere besides just on the opposite side of the room. It can still be tempting. For example, you can put it in a drawer, in a different room, or even under your comforter, because if you can’t see it, you might be less tempted to go pick it up. 

Staying Focused

Even if you don’t have any specific distractions, it can still be hard to focus and accomplish what you are hoping to do efficiently.

In these cases, it can be helpful to set up a time lapse, or to set a timer for a certain task and try to complete within that time frame.

Staying Motivated

Find your why- where do you hope to be in 10 years?

If you don’t know the answer to this yet, don’t stress about it. It can even be as general as “having a degree”, “having a job”, etc. 

But any of those require time, effort, and determination, which is what you are training yourself for.

 

If you are having trouble even starting whatever it is that you need to accomplish, tell yourself you’re only going to work on it for 5 minutes.

Then, if you get into it, and realize you can keep going a little longer, that’s great, but even if you can’t, at least you’ve started it, which can be the most daunting and stressful part sometimes.

Incorporating Intentional Breaks

Make sure to purposefully incorporate breaks and fun things into your plans so that you don’t take unintentional breaks that end up lasting longer than you hoped.

Pomodoro Method - 

The Pomodoro method is a great way to keep track of this.

 

You can split it up however you would like, but the most common ways are to work for 25 minutes and take a 5 minute break or to work for 50 minutes and take a 10 minute break.

If possible, it’s helpful to have the timer visible, that way if you’re feeling discouraged or wanting to stop, you can glance over at the timer and see how close you are to having a break.

There are even some videos on YouTube of people using this method, so if you think it would be helpful to feel like you have some company while working, you might want to try that out.