There are many people that feel more comfortable and choose to drift through life unfettered by expectations in their own future. They live without accomplishments others can recognize, are easily abused, and without meaningful concern about their own future nor the future of anyone else.
Meaningful Concern requires having the influence and resources to take action, develop results, and sustain meaningful/useful outcomes.
Throwing a stone at bulldozer won’t save a rain forest. Feeling bad for someone, doesn’t do much to help them.
Professionals tend to get paid by the month, while non-professionals tend to want to be paid at the end of each day. Professionals think today as part of the future. Non-professionals tend to live for the moment; thinking today as a result of the past.
How does a person learn to think as part of their future?
In addition to the interpersonal skills of Professional Acumen, are the organizational skills. To “choose” NOT to engage high risk pathways; and instead choose alternate pathways to achieve the same, or even better, goals.
High Risks can be “Actively Destructive” like abusing drugs and destroying the brain. Permanently Destroying the ability to consistently contribute toward a more complex and richly filled future. Or, High Risks that are “Passively Destructive”, where practiced Avoidance stagnates development of future opportunities; dreaming instead of doing.
People that create their own future, practice Engagement. Walking day to day on stepping stones.
People that have the future forced upon them, practice Avoidance. Looking at the stepping stones.
With a practiced set of skills to manage personal and work tasks, people are offered opportunities to engage pathways of mutual interest. As an example: Selling a complex product to support getting paid by the hour.
A major distinguishing factor between laborer and management, is practiced organization.
Organizing intermediate goals that lead to a vision of desired outcomes; a desired, predicted, and created future.
Life can be a maze where at each opportunity, chance works against you. However, by creating lists of that describe your future opportunities to engage life, maps can be created to find useful pathways through the maze of life.
Recognizing better long term opportunities to engage, and not engaging Avoidance opportunities. Playing the stock market instead of playing video games; defeating monster risks instead useless monster cartoons. Not just surviving, predicting and creating your life.
Quick tips for effective prioritization
As you realize the necessity of proper prioritization, it can suddenly feel more complicated—and more stress-inducing—than creating a simple task list. The key strategies … are summarized below, to help you set your priorities with intention.
- Write everything down: Personal and work tasks should be captured in one place.
- Evaluate long-term goals: Consider your larger long-term goals, and the work you need to do to reach them.
- Break down larger goals: To understand how to achieve your long-term goals, break them down into yearly, monthly, and weekly achievements.
- Create clear deadlines: Give yourself full visibility of deadlines, and create deadlines for yourself when none are formally required.
- Employ the urgent-versus-important method: Prioritize urgent and important tasks; set a specific time to work on important nonurgent tasks; and delegate or remove all other tasks.
- Create a daily MIT list: Write down three important tasks that should be done that day. These tasks should always relate to your larger, future goals. TEST
- Avoid distractions: Intentionally steer clear of competing tasks, especially as task difficulty increases.
- Consider effort: When your task list is becoming too much, prioritize according to effort and breeze through those easier tasks more quickly.
Prioritize your time and be realistic
No matter how well you prioritize, there is only so much you can achieve in one day, and certain distractions are impossible to avoid. It’s important to be realistic in setting goals and prioritizing tasks. Otherwise, you’ll create false expectations of those around you, and you’ll constantly feel as if you’re falling behind.
Remember, the purpose of prioritization is to spend time working on the important tasks, those things that will make a difference in the long run and move you in the right direction. When prioritization is handled well, you’ll feel less reactive and more focused and intentional. The aim is to complete work that signifies true progress, and let all the rest—all the “busyness”—fall to the wayside.
Time management tips to boost productivity
With an aim to work smarter, not harder, these tips encourage you to make the most of your workday
Committing to focusing on just one thing for a predetermined period of time is a good way to break this habit, and putting your phone in your drawer and muting Slack and email notifications will help you get there. While you might have to remind yourself to stay on task initially, as soon as you’re engrossed, the time will fly by—and so will your to-do list.
- Set time limits for each task: Certainly, procrastinators enjoy relaxation and a better mood in the short term, but they typically feel negative consequences that include heightened stress, lower task performance, and reduced well-being as deadlines draw closer. One time management tip to avoid behavioral delay is to add more immediate time pressure; create artificial deadlines for smaller subprojects and adjacent tasks.
Promising yourself that you’ll be done reading emails by 10 a.m., or that you’ll take only two hours to create slides for a presentation, are good ways to keep yourself accountable. Plus, setting a timer for each task will kick-start the adrenaline that’s so often required when meeting a tight deadline.
- Prioritize wisely: If you don’t take the time to think it through, work prioritization can happen inadvertently—as you respond to bullish stakeholders or breeze through the easier tasks first. This approach, however, can leave you scrambling to complete more important projects and failing to give high-impact work the attention it deserves.
The “Most Important Tasks” (MIT) methodology helps counter this and is a way to intentionally set daily priorities. The time management process encourages you to create a list of two or three MITs every morning—these are tasks that will make the biggest difference to the outcome or bring the greatest results. Your MIT list should be separate from your regular to-do list, and it should be prioritized above all else.
To determine your MIT list, ask yourself questions like: What are the most important things I can accomplish today? What tasks will have the biggest impact on achieving my ultimate goal? Then, ensure that you structure your day to work on those MITs at the times you’re most productive.
- Learn to say no or delegate more often: If you’re trying to impress executives or launch a startup, it’s easy to take on too much in the name of getting ahead and increasing ownership. After a while, however, this approach becomes unsustainable. Understanding when to say no is essential in managing time effectively: If you’re trying to do too much, stress will increase and productivity will fall.
Being picky about your projects can have a positive impact on revenue, too. For Brandon Perlman, founder and CEO of influencer marketing agency Social Studies—with a headquarters by WeWork space in New York City—saying no more often is key to growing and scaling his business.
“It’s about process, efficiency, methodology. We’re moving away from selling everybody everything at every price,” Perlman says, whose motto for this year is “less is more.” “We’re going to do fewer deals but higher-quality ones—bigger deals. Saying no will be a trend in 2020.”
- Don’t let the details drag you down: To gain momentum and productivity, make a point to keep a high-level perspective as you move through tasks. Sweating minor details can lead to unwanted stopping points, distracting you with factors that won’t have a huge impact on the final outcome. Instead, consider writing down your thoughts or every item on your to-do list to clear your mind for higher-level thinking.
This is especially beneficial when launching a product or composing a large strategy, times during which getting caught in the weeds can become a mental blocker to actual progress. “Get your product to market as fast as possible,” says Katia Beauchamp, CEO and founder of beauty and grooming retailer Birchbox, who spoke at a recent WeWork event in New York City. “It’s like pulling off the Band-Aid [and accepting that] it’s not going to look like what’s in your head—yet.”
- Understand your work rhythm: There are countless articles and books that explore the morning routines of successful people. Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, Richard Branson, the CEO of Virgin, and Bob Iger, the head of Disney, all wake up at 5 a.m. or earlier. They use that extra time to exercise, catch up on emails, set intentions for the day … the list goes on.
Such an early wakeup time is not necessary for productivity—people have different chronotypes (or waking rhythms), and these habits typically change with age. The takeaway, however, is that understanding your body and its circadian rhythms is a step toward increasing productivity.
It’s a good idea to evaluate the times of day you work faster compared with when you’re most likely to feel sluggish, and structure your day accordingly. Sleep, exercise, and eating can all be adjusted to ensure you’re feeling your best throughout the day, and productivity will follow.
- Sleep eight hours each night: Whether you’re a morning person or a night owl, the importance of sleep doesn’t change. Several studies show a linear association between sleep and productivity, with maximum productivity reported among those who sleep eight hours each night. Lack of sleep has also been tied to reduced performance, lower reported performance, and increased absenteeism.
To help boster productivity and employee satisfaction, many companies are investing in well-being programs for their staff—and some of these include sleep optimization. Professional services firm Ernst & Young, for example, offers sleep therapy to its employees, while London PR agency Forster Communications provides its staff with tool kits to monitor sleep and recovery.
For Bruce Mackintosh, founder of the fitness app SoSweat and a WeWork Labs member at WeWork 8 Devonshire Square in London, avoiding an alarm clock is how he gives his body the rest it needs each night. “I don’t use an alarm. I’d much rather get the rest I need; that way I’m able to perform better during the day,” says Mackintosh.
- Stop and switch off: While it may seem counterintuitive, knowing when to stop is key in maintaining productivity long-term. Whether it’s a lunch break, a weekend, or a proper vacation, giving yourself a rest period will help you work faster and harder upon your return. A recent survey found that corporate leaders with more paid time off are able to maintain higher focus throughout the rest of the year. The researchers put this down to time management: Having less time at your desk forces you to waste less time.
For Tim Brown, cofounder of the shoe brand Allbirds and a member at WeWork New Street in Hong Kong, switching off at the end of the week is also a way to avoid burnout.
“There’s always going to be too many things on your to-do list,” says Brown. “Work out which ones you should be doing and give it your best shot throughout the week. When it comes to the end of the day on Friday, park it.”
- Turn time management tips into habits: The time it takes to develop new habits varies between individuals. However, there are steps you can take to increase your chances of adoption. Remaining extremely diligent during the first weeks of the process is associated with eventual automaticity. Beyond this, it’s best not to berate yourself if you miss a single day—it won’t undo the progress you’ve made already.
Whether it’s streamlining focus, waking up early, writing to-do lists, or catching up on extra sleep, these time management tips will help you increase productivity and breeze through your to-do list. And although establishing new habits takes time and effort, you’ll find the payoff—at work and at home—will be multifold.