Where Did The Time Go?
Have you ever had that overwhelming feeling, that Father Time is just beating you with his Flavor Flav clock? We all fall victim of that beating from time to time, and we all fall victim of a habit that is almost diseases like — procrastination.
Let’s admit it, we get sidetracked by minor activities like watching cat videos on YouTube for hours. And we often tend to make those activities more important than for example; paying rent on time or taking showers. Your level of focus and self-control, however, determines how you manage your time and control your habits, which is a completely different topic worth discussing at a later time.
Luckily, like any other undertaking, there are baby steps we can take that’ll lead take us on the right path to productivity. Here is a very helpful tip to get some revenge on Father Time:
3×3 Post-It Notes
- Start off with a blank 3×3 Post-It Note (stick to the 3×3, nothing bigger nothing smaller). Find a quiet spot where there are no distractions (if possible). Start this a night before, or when you wake up, maybe even at your desk at work.
- Now ask yourself, “What is it that I need to do today?” Start writing down whatever comes to mind.
- If you still have room in your Post-It note, the next step is to ask, “What is it that I want to do?” There’s a huge difference between need and want. What you need to do is a necessity and what you want to do is a luxury. Write down what luxury activities you’d like to part take in.
- Prioritize what you have written thus far. What is absolutely necessary to finish first? What is absolutely necessary to finish second? So on and so forth, until you reach your last task.
- Once you have that figured out, set a time limit of how long each activity is going take. “All day” is not acceptable; don’t lie to yourself, unless it’s a good lie, like “I’m only going to have one more cookie.” How long will I take to finish that report? Will it be an hour? Two hours? Maybe only fifteen minutes?
- Block off time in order to get each task on your to-do list done, and make sure to add 10 to 15 mins between each task to give some leeway, if you go over your time limit or if you need to catch a break. For example: Check and respond to emails 1pm to2pm, daily report 2:10-2:45pm and if necessary, let others know about your schedule so they know that you are going be busy at that time, turn off any distractions and get to work.
- Cross off each item from your list as soon the task is completely done.
- Finally, if you finished everything that was on the Post-It Note, congratulations! You should reward yourself! Ice cream anyone?
If you don’t finish everything on the list, it’s not the end of the world; unless if saving the world was on the list and you didn’t get it done because you procrastinated, of course. If that’s the case shame on you and thank you for our demise! But in all seriousness, if you don’t finish everything on the list, you live to fight another day. Whatever was left over, pass it on to tomorrow’s list.
The other point of this trick that must be considered is that we must stay disciplined and follow what we set up for ourselves. If you can stick to this habit of writing down objectives that you would like to complete for the day, for a month straight, you will begin to gain confidence in managing your time.
You’ll begin to realize that you don’t need 25 hours in a day. Enjoy the process, have fun with it, buy different colored Post-It Notes and finally give Father Time a good old one-two combination.