Before you can be an inspirational leader and effective manager of your dynamic and energised team, you need to get your own game in shape first. Improving your personal time management skills is a lot easier said than done however, and the difference between being busy and being constantly stressed can sometimes feel paper thin.
Like most of us you probably start each morning by speed-showering, stuffing toast into your mouth and running out the door at 1,000mph. If every morning is starting to feel like a Monday, it may be time to consider doing things a bit differently.
See how setting your alarm just 20 minutes earlier could transform your day.
Don’t Start Your Day by Worrying About Yesterday
A good start begins the night before and going to bed in the right frame of mind. It is crucial to getting a great night’s sleep. When people get stressed at work, proper sleep is often the first thing that suffers, either because you can’t switch your buzzing mind off or because you take your work home at nights. Make sure you get the recommended hours but also make sure you go to bed without a brain that’s heavily laden with worries. Don’t take your work home, stop preparing for that client meeting and actually take charge of your overflowing emails once and for all.
Try: Make sure you clear your diary at the end of each day.
Time to Make Some Plans
This 20 minutes is for you. It’s like winning a time lottery so don’t waste it by starting your day checking through yesterday’s emails and scanning news websites. Once you’ve cancelled your alarm on your mobile leave it alone. Instead use your newly found time to establish daily goals. Map out a simple task list that feeds into completing your short and long-term goals. Maybe you want to work toward a promotion: if so, now is the time to plan how you can take one step closer to achieving it.
Try: Consider a diary or planner to document your progress toward a specific goal.
Don’t Skip Breakfast
Okay, so you’ve heard it a thousand times but you still end up skipping breakfast anyway because you don’t have the time. Find the time! Even if you need to go to bed a bit earlier to make it happen, it’s worth making sure you fuel yourself properly. Breakfast improves your metabolism, regulates weight better, improves your mood and fuels your ability to manage your team effectively. Speaker and writer James Clear says:
Manage your energy, not your time and encourages you to understand your best creative or analytical times of the day.
Try: If you absolutely cannot fit in a sit-down breakfast, consider instead a low-fat, high protein breakfast smoothie.
Adopt a Mini Workout
It’s true that even a 10-minute exercise routine can have an amazing impact on your day. Use some of your new time to get your body up and running with a quick workout or a simple stretching routine. A quick workout can help you feel more focused, more creative, less tired through the week and much less stressed.
Try: Ever heard of Tabata training? It’s a 20-minute high-intensity workout that is designed for time-poor people.
Give Your Brain a Break
It’s probably not something you have ever even considered but meditation isn’t only for tree-hugging hippies and ass-kicking Kung Fu masters. Forget what you think you know about meditation, it’s just project management but for your life. It’s an exercise in stepping back from your day and viewing it objectively. You evaluate what’s working for you and what’s not. As Andy Puddicombe, founder of Headspace, says:
The very act of meditation or mindfulness is honesty itself, seeing the mind exactly as it is, without judgement or criticism, not chasing one thing or resisting another.
Try: 10 minutes of quiet reflection, no phone, no TV, no radio, no newspaper. Just you and your brain.
For more inspiration on managing your time better check out the blog of Time Management Ninja. Lifehack also has some great advice on increasing productivity one small step at a time to help you achieve a lasting and positive impact
I’d love to hear your time management tips. How do you deal with stress and the pressures of work? Please share in the comments!