“Most of us make advances small and large every... - Deepstash

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5 Ways to Track Your Progress (And Why it's so Important) - RescueTime

“Most of us make advances small and large every single day, but we fail to notice them because we lack a method for acknowledging our progress. This is a huge loss.”

Jocelyn K. Glei

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Being purposeful with your day
Being purposeful with your day

Time management is about taking control of the time you do have available and using it optimally for productivity while creating balance.

How to plan your day

Much advice about time management is about creating a to-do list, reminding you what you want to do. However, it's more important to use a schedule, which tells you when you're going to do it.

  • Create "bookends" for each day. Consider your morning and evening routines, then "block" in time for your most important tasks. For example, a 2-hour writing-block every morning after breakfast.
  • Set aside time for your most important projects. The object is to be purposeful about what and when you're going to do something.
  • Schedule in breaks. A schedule has to be realistic. That means including time for breaks, food, exercise, social time, and other "non-school" tasks that keep you happy.
Be aware of how you’re spending your time

To build a better time management system, you need to know what you currently spend your time on. You need to know where you're losing time to the wrong things.

To track your time, spend a few days writing a "time log" to track how you spend your day.

The Progress Principle: Tiny steps build motivation
The Progress Principle: Tiny steps build motivation

If you wait for the ideal conditions before you start, you'll probably never do it.

A lack of motivation is an emotional issue. That means there is no hack to save you. The best way to get motivated is just to start. Small steps on meaningful tasks will build motivation.

Look for ways your work impacts the people around you

Procrastination is worst when we don't see the point of our jobs. The connection to a larger purpose helps us find meaning and motivation at work.

If your job doesn't make a huge impact, think about how it has helped the people you spend your day with. Each day, write down three ways your work has helped your coworkers.

Giving advice to someone else can be motivating

We don't lack motivation because we don't know how to be motivated, but because we don't know how to act on our own knowledge.

When we feel unmotivated, it's common to seek advice. But research shows that giving advice can be more motivating than receiving advice.

The urgency bias
The urgency bias

We usually give priority to unimportant tasks when there is a sense of urgency around them.

We’re actually psychologically wired to put aside important tasks in favor of tasks that feel more urgent. But spending our time taking care of urgent tasks can leave us feeling exhausted and unaccomplished.

Why it’s hard to ignore urgent tasks

A few explanations as to why it’s so hard to reject urgent tasks:

  • The completion bias. Our brains crave the reward we get from checking off small to-dos from our list.
  • Tunnel vision: When we get overwhelmed by the things we have to do, we choose to act on those most available to us; these are usually emails, calls, meetings, and other low-friction tasks.
Urgency puts us into reactive mode

The problem is that we’re continually bombarded with urgent work: emails, meetings, calls, and instead of being in control of our time and attention, we respond and act on someone else’s priorities.