This month was a big month for me. I executed some of the most crucial time management techniques I have ever known.
Who taught them to me?
My week old daughter. That’s right, I learned more from a week with a newborn than most of life had taught me about time management – I only wish I knew it sooner.
New(Born) Time Management Techniques
Here is what I learned, and what you can use in your everyday life regardless of whether you have a newborn or not!
1. Revisit Your Purpose (Every Day!) A lot of people have said to me, “you must never want to go back to work again after paternity leave.” My answer is actually the opposite – every morning I wake up, and revisit my purpose and goals. I see my daughter and wife, and remind myself that I need to be more successful than ever, those dresses won’t come cheap!
Key Lesson: Remind yourself everyday why you are doing what you are doing, and what goals you want to achieve. Managing time will come far easier when you have motivation to push ahead.
2. Learn To Love The Hard Stuff (Squeeze The Time You Have). Like everyone, life would be a lot easier if I only had to do the easy things. The things that don’t stress or challenge me. The problem now is, there are so many things I don’t want to do. Instead, I wake up every day ready to find the ‘biggest bully’ of the day, and consistently try to get it done.
Key Lesson: Change your mind-set from one which fears the hard stuff, to one which seeks it out. Any time you get butterflies in your stomach at the thought of doing something, think about the relief you’ll have afterward and just start doing it instead of procrastinating.
3. Expand Your Time With my newborn, comes brand new responsibilities and plenty of things which take time. All of which is in excess to the life I was already living. I have three actions I can take (which aren’t mutually exclusive). First, I could optimize the time I use on existing things, but still do them all. Second, I could reprioritize – e.g. I reduced my Xbox time significantly. Finally, I can simply make more time by getting up earlier or staying up later.
Key Lesson: You’ll be amazed how many hours you can open up when you need to! Experiment to find your energy peaks and/or unlock more time every now and again.
4. Think About The Consequences. I love waking up repeatedly during early hours of the morning as much as any other person with sleep deprivation torture, but the reality is that the consequences of not getting things done for her outweigh my desire to be lazy and do nothing.
Every time I need to get myself going ‘again’ and do things, I think for a split second about what benefit I am going to gain from doing it, or what loss I am going to avoid. This helps me relate what I am doing to a consequence or a goal, and motivates me to push through and get things done faster.
Key Lesson: It is easy to be tempted into procrastination, and not get the things done so we can be more successful. Sit down regularly with the key actions you have to do and think carefully about the impact that doing, or not doing them, will have.
5. Do It… NOW. Before my newborn, I liked to think I was fairly proactive. Admittedly, however, sometimes I would stand on ceremony. I had a great idea in my head, and decided that on the perfect sunny day, 4th Friday of the month aligned with a full moon, I would sit down and do it.
Having a newborn doesn’t give me that luxury. I have an endless supply of distractions which means I would almost never get anything done.
Key Lesson: Don’t worry making excuses that you don’t have time for important things – whatever you having been holding back on doing…Just do it – NOW.
Baby or Not
Chances are you don’t have a newborn in your home. (If you do, congratulations!) But whether you have a baby or not, you can implement the time management techniques I learned from my daughter, to become more productive.Question: What time management techniques has life taught you where you least expected to find them? You can leave a comment by clicking here.