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Science Says Healthy Scheduling Habits Make People Happier

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Schedule free time between tasks and meetings so that you can take a break. 

It also avoids hard stops because of time restrictions. Providing yourself with a little wiggle room also prevents you from running late to meetings, like if you got stuck in traffic.

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Science Says Healthy Scheduling Habits Make People Happier

Science Says Healthy Scheduling Habits Make People Happier

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/333169

entrepreneur.com

6

Key Ideas

Over-scheduling doesn’t work

it leads us to starve for more time to do everything we need to do. As a consequence, we begin to:

  • Hate the things that we used to enjoy.
  • Miss out on quality time with the most important people in our life.
  • Reduce the number of opportunities that may come our way.
  • Suffer from stress-related health issues.
  • Miss out on the little things in life.
  • Not be able to take a break and catch our breath.

Scheduling fewer tasks

People who schedule fewer tasks get more done. It forces you to prioritize what’s most important.

Also, scheduling back-to-back items in your calendar doesn’t account for the unexpected. Emergencies will always pop up and if your calendar is packed too tightly, you won’t have the flexibility to handle a crisis without completely trashing your calendar for the foreseeable future.

Say “yes” to less

Instead of accepting every invite or request for help, be more selective so that you’re not spreading yourself too thin. 

The easiest way to do this is by only saying “yes” to the things that excite you or that serve a purpose.

One priority for every evening

Have an idea of what you want to do outside of work.

Ask yourself: "What would I like to accomplish today that's meaningful and enjoyable for the people I care about in this block of time and me?"

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Schedule free time between tasks and meetings so that you can take a break. 

It also avoids hard stops because of time restrictions. Providing yourself with a little wiggle room also prevents you from running late to meetings, like if you got stuck in traffic.

Become more present

Mindfulness is all about focusing on what’s going on at this very second. 

But, this could be anything that encourages you to think in the now, such as reading, exercising, doing a simple task like organizing your workspace, or calling a friend.

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Be Consistent

You must reward the same behaviors every time they appear, discourage the same behaviors when they appear and treat every member of your team with an equal, level-headed view.

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How you communicate with your team can dictate your eventual success. To avoid miscommunication and to keep your team updated, always strive for clarity, accuracy, and thoroughness on your communication.

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Setting goals just for the department or one individual breeds isolation and a limited mentality. Instead, give staffers a unified focus and purpose, to inspire them together.

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The Decision Matrix on how to approach tasks has 4 quadrants:

  • Quadrant 1: The Urgent Problems which are important.
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Prioritize the important (Quadrant 2) to attain maximum benefit from your work.

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You’ll feel motivated by the win of knocking out a couple of tasks quickly and ready to handle more serious work.

From Start To Finish

If the Pomodoro Technique doesn't work for you and you prefer to do tasks from start to finish in one sitting, you should adjust your plan to fit with your focus.

So work until you complete those tasks, and then take a break.

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Keep yourself accountable

Making a commitment to yourself helps keep you accountable. 

Write your goals down, keep a to-do list with you, and create reminders on your phone and on your calendar.

Make yourself accountable to others
  • Tell everyone what you plan to do and talk about your goals. Tell friends, employees, and employers your intentions and you won’t want to let them down. 
  • Start documenting and sharing your journey. A blog or vlog where you share the projects you’re working on and your progress will encourage you to get things done. 
Cut out temptations

If you’re a chronic procrastinator and simply can’t resist the temptations of things like Facebook and Youtube, it might be time to cut out temptations.

There are tools such as Rescue Time, SelfControl and Focus that will temporarily block access to distracting websites like Facebook. Less aggressive tools such as Facebook Newsfeed Eradicator and Distraction Free Youtube will allow you to have access to Facebook and Youtube but block the distracting parts of these websites (such as the newsfeed).

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To maximize productivity, prepare for deep work with deep breathing and visualizing your desired end state. Also, chunk work into 45-minute blocks and do some movement and yoga between those deep work sets.

Ask If It’s a ‘Heck-Yes’ Opportunity

The more successful you become, the more shiny opportunities offer themselves to you, but not all of them are good for you in the moment.

Always ask yourself, or the people around you, if the pros outweigh the cons by a large margin. If they don’t, refuse the opportunity as it will become a stressful commitment.

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Plan Your Day the Night Before

Before going to bed, spend 5 minutes writing your to-do list for the next day. These tasks should help you move towards your professional and personal goals.

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  • They're proactive about relationships. They work on maintaining their relationships.
  • They express gratitude. It improves mood and energy and decreases anxiety.
  • They engage in deep, meaningful conversations.
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  • They're optimistic. Bad things happen to all of us. Happy people don't complain, whine or let pessimism become a self-fulling prophecy.
  • They view problems as challenges. They focus on solutions to the problem and reflect on what they're grateful for.

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The goal of staying focused

The goal is not constant focus, but a short period of distraction-free time every day. 

Twenty minutes a day of deep focus could be transformative.

Do creative work first

Typically, we do mindless work first and build-up to the toughest tasks. That drains your energy and lowers your focus.

In order to focus effectively, reverse the order. Check off the tasks that require creativity or concentration first thing in the morning, and then move on to easier work.

Allocate your time deliberately

We are truly focused for an average of only six hours per week. You want to be really diligent with what you put into those hours.

90 percent of people do their best thinking outside the office. Notice where and when you focus best, then allocate your toughest tasks for those moments.

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