10 Ways to Manage Your Time Like a Pro

An Essential For Healthy Living

Dr Tobias Fox

Human Psychology, Philosophy and Human Potential.

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We only have 24-hours in a day...

How is it possible to make healthy choices when you constantly have the weight of time pressing on your shoulders?...

Between going to work, eating, and doing house chores, it seems like there are just not enough hours in the day!...

How on earth are you supposed to fit in exercise, meal prep, reading and a bit of personal development work all in too?...

Why is it that some people manage to fit in all of these things, but then others can’t?...

Well…believe it or not, they don’t have the power to slow down time. They do, however, know how to properly manage their time.

How can you be more successful at managing time? You only need to apply one powerful concept: conscious time management.

With these time management tips, you can plan, execute and manage your day like a pro, in true LYFE Boss style, so that healthy living is as easy as 1-2-3.

1. Audit Your Time

The first step you need to take is finding out where you are actually spending your time during the day. You might be assuming that it takes 30 minutes to cook your dinner when, in reality, its taking an hour and a half.

A simple way to track your time is to download an app such as Toggl, and to time yourself for each activity that you do for a week (it’s best to get an average). This will give you better ‘time-awareness’ and this is a great starting point. 

2. Set Time Limits for Each Task

Once you know how long roughly it takes to do certain things, give yourself a time limit for specific tasks. This helps to not get distracted or procrastinate. Think back to when you did exams at school - if it was a 2-hour exam, chances are you were focused for the entire 2 hours without wasting a minute. Approach your daily activities in the same way. Not only is the benefit of this greater productivity and efficiency, but you actually become fully engaged in what you're doing which is always far more fulfilling!

Asian young woman stretching looking at watch

3. Make a Daily Plan

The worst thing you can do is aimlessly go through your day without planning what you want to get done. Spend 15 minutes, either in the morning, or the night before, composing a list of things you plan to do for that day. Planning on the day, or the night before, allows you to be dynamic with what is actually going on in your life at the time. You can also prioritise tasks based on their importance as well as group similar activities together.

Another little trick is to word the tasks as though you have already completed them; this provides a small boost of extra motivation making it more likely that the little box next to it gets ticked. 

4. Complete The Most Important Tasks First (MITF)

The MITF rule is the golden rule of time management. Your willpower reserves essentially work like a battery and are a finite resource. Use the start of the day, when you have the most willpower, to complete the most important or difficult activities, saving the easier activities for later on in the day when you are more drained. If you normally feel too tired to go the gym after work, see if it might be better waking up earlier and going before work; after all, you will only know through trial and error!

Completing the most important or difficult task first can be a great motivator for building ‘task-completion momentum’ throughout the rest of the day too. 

Running alongside the waterfront

5. Eliminate Work in ‘The Grey Zone’

Being a LYFE Boss means that you approach activities being either ‘switched on’ or 'switched off’; there should be no grey zone where you are ‘half-working’. In the digital age of constant distraction, its easy to let our attention become divided and to not be fully focused on what it is that we're meant to be doing. 

Checking your phone whilst working for no reason…

Going to the cupboard to look for a snack…

Even checking your email inbox when you should be writing a report…

These are all examples of being in the grey-zone when you should be fully engaged in what you are doing. Concentrate on the one task. Nothing else should exist. Immerse yourself in it. 

Man concentrating on laptop at the desk

6. Schedule Some Buffer-time Between Activities

Whilst it might seem like jumping directly from one task to the next means you will get more done, in reality, doing this is more likely to have the opposite effect. We are only human, and can only focus for about 90 minutes at a time. Give your mind some time to clear and recharge before going into the next task. This time also gives you some leeway for if you run overtime with a certain activity.  

Sporty woman in red sitting on the wall

7. Get Organised 

The average person spends 2.5 days a year looking for misplaced items. 2.5 days! Start by making a home for everything, and put things back where they belong. If you don’t multitask you are also less likely to misplace things. Being organised is also good for keeping your mental headspace clear, giving you a greater sense of being in control.

8. Follow The Pareto 80-20 Rule

The Pareto distribution, also known as the 80-20 rule, states that 80% of results tend to come from 20% of efforts you put in. Ask yourself - is it worth putting in another 80% more effort to get that extra 20% of results. In some cases it might be and that’s fine, but again, being consciously making that decision. Being a perfectionist and being too hung up on the details is a sure way to kill your time.

9. Turn Key Tasks Into Habits

Meditation is something that I do on a regular basis. I do 20 minutes a day in the evening, which might seem like a lot to some people but this is normal for me because I have made the process of writing a habit. Since I rarely break my routine, the synaptic pathways in my mind have been trained to perform that particular task with, quite literally, minimal effort. Was it always like this? Of course not! It takes time to train in a new habit. Ask yourself - could you be doing something similar?

Atomic Habits by James Clear, recommended in ‘LYFE Reading List - Health Book Recommendations by LYFE’s Doctors’ is great for learning more about this. 

Black male with earphones in concentrating

10. Work Can Be Play 

The last and most important tip, is to remember that activities should be fun! There really is no need to categorise certain activities as ‘dull’ and other activities as ‘fun’. What it really comes down to is - are you you giving yourself permission to enjoy whatever it is you’re doing? Often, we get caught up in mentally labelling activities because we’ve been conditioned to think of them in a certain type of way, when really, the power lies with you in being able to bring enjoyment into anything that you do. Your day can be like making a cake. Sure, we all want to get to the part where we eat the cake at the end, but actually executing the steps in making the cake can be fun too; it’s all part of the same larger process, and that’s what healthy living like a LYFE Boss is all about.

(NOTE: Want to make sure you're keeping on top of your health? Download this FREE 5-step, Doctor's guide for how to keep your health in check whilst staying at home; click here).

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