4 years old at Primary school, I never thought I had enough playtime it seemed as soon as I was home from school if would almost already be bed time.
At 12 years old at High School I dodged doing most of my homework, but because it was a 45 minute commute to and from school, I felt I had less time than ever, especially with my 30 minutes piano practice every night.
At 17 I started university where homework could no longer be avoided and I felt like a prisoner, condemned for 5 years of hard labor.
At 23 I had a full time job 45 hours a week, and felt my life passing me by with all my good time being consumed and never having a chance to get anything meaningful accomplished outside of work.
By 28, I run 2 businesses full time (totaling about 50-60 hrs/week), I read a book a week, I work out 6 days a week, I’m learning salsa, I’m in a full time relationship (that requires time), and I now feel like I have more free time than ever before.
Over the last 5 years I’ve learned a few tricks not only to manage my time effectively but do so in such a way that I can leverage massive motivation to become hyper-productive. I’m going to give you a simply 5 steps to take in order to start becoming more productive, you’ll likely be amazed at how simple it is, yet I’ll challenge anyone to try it for a month.
1)MAKE A LIST OF THINGS YOU NEED TO DO IN AN AVERAGE WEEK
For me, this list started off short and quickly grew as I began to think about all the things in my life that were important. Included in this would be career goals, seeing family, seeing friends, new skills you want to acquire, books you want to read, cook dinner, workout plans etc. Once completed you should have a list of all the aspects of your life that you want to have control over
2)WRITE DOWN HOW MUCH TIME YOU SHOULD DEDICATE EVERY WEEK TO EACH TASK
This step is simple, work out how much time every task needs. Be realistic.
3)CREATE A WEEKLY PLAN
This sounds so simple, yet it’s extremely effective. Every Monday morning, the first thing I do is create a spreadsheet which has the whole 7 day week written out with 30 minute slots between 8am (when I wake up) and 12am (when I finish working some days). I then begin filling in all the weekly things that I need to do, like shopping, coaching, seeing family, date night with my partner, free time for me, going to gym etc.
It will likely be an amazing thing for anyone to see how much they can accomplish in one week if they take the time to plan it all out first ahead of time. By deciding how long a task will take you (e.g. Creating a new video for youtube I allow 1 hour), it forces you to stay within your assigned time and not procrastinate.
You will also find yourself become far more creative than you ever thought possible as you search for ways to increase your productivity to fit tasks in.
More than that, the empowering feeling you get at the beginning of every week when you can clearly see how much you can get done by the end is a hugely motivating factor that gives you that much needed kick up the bollocks that most of us need on a Monday morning.
4)KEEP A RUNNING TO DO LIST ON YOUR PHONE AND UPDATE IT EVERY TIME YOU THINK OF A NEW TASK
Almost anyone who has an Android or an Iphone should have an App called ‘Evernote’ which syncronises notes across most smart devices. In this way, no matter where I am or what I’m doing, if I think of a task that is important not to forget, or a great idea that I should implement next week, it can go into evernote either on my phone, on my tablet, or in my laptop.
When Monday morning rolls around and it’s time to draw up a new calendar for the week, you can be sure not to forget anything by referring back to your Evernote app.
This massively reduced the stress I experienced when I would keep forgetting to get things done, like call back friends, or send important emails.
5)BE PREPARED TO MAKE SACRIFICES
There will always be sacrifices you have to make. I for example have to give up my piano, and I still can’t start martial arts which I’ve wanted to do for a long time now. I’m not sad about it however because there are things in life I want more, like to be healthy and go to gym every day. Don’t be sad about the sacrifices you make, remember everything you do with your time from now on is a choice!
And it’s with choice that the magic happens. By taking control of your time in a way most of you have never done before, you start making rational choices about how and where you spend your time. It’s this sense of control over my environment that makes me feel empowered and means that I don’t need nearly as much ‘relaxing’ time because I’m excited about he way I’m living my life.