The secrets to your best year yet!

The most significant equalizer in life is that each of us has the same amount of seconds in our minutes, minutes in our hours and hours in our days; no more and no less. Getting more time is impossible. However, you can be more efficient with your time bank. It all comes down to how efficiently you choose to use your 24 hours that determine just how productive and meaningful your time will be.

1 — Simplify. Simplify. If you don’t need it and if it doesn’t make you wake up every morning to enjoy it, get rid of it. The happiest people you know are those who surround themselves with only the things they need; they are not blinded by clutter. “It is what you DO with your seconds, minutes and hours that defines what kind of success and happiness you will achieve in your life.” [I Have No More Time]

2 — Reduce distractions in your life. What can you live with or without? Who can you live with or without? These are the great balancing acts between our happiness and our distractions. We are being pulled in so many directions in a day that we lose sight of our priorities, and we begin to use our time inefficiently. Everything we do should serve a purpose, and some things we do should become a priority or a “non-negotiable” in our lives. We have to spend some time on things that drain us, not everything in life brings us joy. But we should realize that a vast majority of our time should be spent on things that inspire us, change us and allows us to grow. Recapture your time by focusing on spending time on things that bring you meaning, that give you energy and give you life. [Who’s On The List?]

3— Everyone wants your attention! It’s all over the news, our social media streams, advertising, radios, TVs and even in our schools. It is the constant need for each us to be distracted and moved into action. We are not afforded the time to investigate our own thoughts. Phone calls, emails, notifications, or a knock on your door. We are bombarded and we can never achieve our working rhythm, we cannot finish the work we started. No wonder anxiety levels are on the rise and mental illness is following alongside with it. Find your “happy place” and work from there. Try closing your office door, turning off your phone and closing your blinds. Take at least an hour every day and go into hiding.  [Everyone Wants Your Reaction!]

4 — Do not live in fear. We fear our future, we fear our past and we are left procrastinating, in fear we will destroy both. When we lost sight of our present mind because we are living too far in the future or anywhere in the past, we lose track of our time, and before you know it, you run out. We stop growing when we are in fear, we stop thinking or moving forward when we are in doubt. We can allow our fear to spring us into action; we can harness the energy expended by our worries by driving ourselves straight into them and squashing them. The most meaningful way to spend our time is by conquering our fears. Commit by turning off the sources that bring you fear. Your life and your happiness are counting on it. You cannot move forward by worry, and you cannot fall back with courage. [We Live In Fear]

5— Addicted To Distraction. Do you find yourself mindlessly checking your social media streams throughout the day? Do you notice yourself snacking on food and not even recalling the flavor? Have you ever spent an entire day just staring at a TV and wonder where the time went? If you find yourself always in a hurry and a constant battle for more time in your day, then you may have a problem with distraction. To get back your time and make the time you spend in your life more meaningful; ask yourself if what you are doing right now, consuming or creating a quality of your life. When you can label everything as one or the other, you will find over time that you will become more conscious of the things you do. [Addicted to Distractions

6 — Walk off the stress. When we get overworked at home, at work, or both, we tend to think that we can work ourselves out of the jam. Is that ever really the case? Some of the most enlightening moments in life are when we are on a break from the action. Have you ever come up with one more thing to try when sitting in the bathroom? Have you ever had that great idea while standing in the shower? Ever seem to figure something out while laying in bed trying to fall asleep? One of the best ways of getting rid of cortisol (the stress hormone) is to move your muscles! When you are stressed out, and your body is in complete protection mode with the cortisol flowing like beer at a frat party, it is at that moment that an investment in exercise will translate into you gaining more time now and in the future. Get out for a brisk walk in the middle of a hectic workday and get your heart beating; sweat a little! Or try a 1-minute wall sit (squat with your back against a wall held with legs bent at 90 degrees and hold). You will be paid back 10-fold for this investment of time. [Walking Off The Stress]

7— Emotional checks. We waste so much of our day in drama. We might not exhibit the vocal type of drama by sharing our stories with anyone who will listen. We may not go out of our way to create drama within our circle of friends, but we have personal drama. We stew over being cut off in traffic, we get ticked off when a person takes the last on-sale item on the shelf right before you get there, we get annoyed when a telemarketer calls us for the third time today. These annoyances occupy such a small part of our day, yet we can sometimes take hours getting over them. The reality is that we have complete control over our situation in the way of our reaction. If we remain calm when we are being pushed around, we get stronger. If we keep our cool in an argument, we may just see the other person’s point of view. If we make it a habit to remain in control of our emotions each time they are called upon, we will notice that we will have much more time to learn and react much more appropriately to every situation. [Emotional Checks]

8— Throwing up the barriers. Don’t we put up barriers every time we dream of something big? I don’t have enough money. I don’t have enough people. I don’t have enough patience. I don’t have enough time. I just can’t-do it. We waste so much energy telling ourselves that we cannot do something that if we channeled it correctly, we would probably have it done! Every time we throw up a constraint and create an excuse to not do something, deep down, we are fearful. Fearful of doing it wrong, fearful of embarrassment, fearful of harassment, fearful of getting hurt and maybe even fearful of being successful. We simply fear the unknown, so we throw up a barrier to protect ourselves. This protectionism is totally natural, but most people never reach great success by playing it safe. [Throwing Up The Barriers]

9— I can’t vs. I won’t. What if every time you said you can’t, you instead replaced it with “I won’t”. We say that we can’t do things when in reality we can, but we just aren’t willing to do it. Anything in life is possible, it’s just that some things take a lot more energy, time and resources to get done. When you replace “I can’t” with “I won’t” and add a reason why you won’t, you will either motivate yourself into doing it or you will learn to accept your limitations. You will find more time in your day if you learn to be more deliberate with your excuses. [I Can’t vs I Won’t]

10— Accepting you. It is really tough to accept that what you are doing in life is not for you and it is even tougher to do things for you without feeling selfish. We cannot grow as good people if we are striving to be liked or wasting time being someone we are not. Accepting yourself as being worthy of spending time on, is sometimes a very difficult thing to do. It may mean telling someone you love that you can no longer help them, that you must help yourself. Follow your passion and follow your dreams. If what you are doing with your time does not follow either of those, then you are not being true to yourself and you are simply just wasting your time. [Accepting You]

11 — Two is better than one. We often waste a lot of our time doing things that could be combined. Even though you may feel like you are running out of time every day to get your tasks done, you have no less time than the person sitting beside you. Successful people don’t have more time than unsuccessful people, they are just relentless practitioners of efficient time management and they do this by task combining. Instead of driving to work; take public transit and read. Instead of scheduling a morning meeting; have a lunch meeting instead. Have you ever considered a standing desk? You get the benefits of a workout while doing your work! [Two is Better Than One]

12 — Automaticity rules! “The importance of repetition until automaticity cannot be overstated. Repetition is the key to learning. — John Wooden” Automaticity saves energy because it does not require the use of your prefrontal cortex, the part of your brain that consumes 25% of your total energy. Automaticity doesn’t have to be major life-altering changes, it is a habit of continual minor changes that add up to saving you hours and thousands of decisions. By taking the decisions out of the small stuff, you will find that at the end of the day, you will still have some energy and time left to do the things that give you joy. Think about something small that you can automate in your day. Perhaps only wear black socks, or always eat the same lunch every workday or eat the same breakfast (one that includes all of the healthy elements that you need to start your day). [Automaticity Rules!]

13 — Can you say no? We have all had them, you know, that boss who expects you to do everything at any time and done to perfection. It wasn’t the work that drove you mad; it was the lack of recognition, positivity and the lack of freedom to do your job in your own way that drove you to immense stress. There are a lot of people who do dirty work that nobody else wants to do but feel a sense of pride because they are recognized for their work by someone who is grateful for them. The feeling of not being appreciated is one that resonates the most among workers who are not satisfied with their jobs. You have to value your time and your life more than the money you make. Say no to the people who are negative, who blame and focus on mistakes that have been made, who abuse you and do not appreciate your talents. You can say no by increasing the price for the work that you do. You can return the ask and put the onus on the ungrateful requestor to return you a favor. You can simply say no and let them know that you are not interested in helping them anymore. If you don’t give more value to your time, you will never get any in return. [Can You Say No?]

14 — Follow your heart. The only time we are truly happy is when we are living in the present, the now, in the moment. Think of a moment in time when you felt the happiest, the most content and the most fulfilled. That moment in time was spent enjoying what you were seeing directly in front of you. You weren’t stuck in the past or the future, you were right there, taking it all in. You were living. We live our lives believing that we will be around 13.7 billion years and waste our days accordingly. Be present by focusing on your talent and pursuing your passion every day of your life. This doesn’t mean you have to quit everything today and change, no, but today just be more mindful of the things that feed your soul. Create or change your habits to be a little more focused on your purpose in life. Tiny changes when done over time lead to life-changing results down the road. You may not know your purpose yet, focus on what you think is your purpose and you will never go wrong as long as it gives you energy and you are willing to change.  [Follow Your Heart]

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward you can only connect them looking backwards, so you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in the future.” — Steve Jobs

Get More Time Series by
Yves Doucet, CEO and Culture Coach Dovico
Co-author Jeff Nagle


About the Author

For 30 years, Dovico has been providing time tracking and timesheet software for clients worldwide. Manage your projects and teams, capture time and generate reports.

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