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In the hustle and bustle of today’s busy world, time is the ultimate currency. How we spend our days is how we shape our lives, yet all too often, it feels like we’re not getting the most out of our precious hours.

Whether it’s losing ourselves in mindless scrolling, drowning in mandatory tasks, or struggling to achieve our best, frustration and stress can creep in. But fret not, for there’s a path to reclaim your day and reap a more meaningful return on your time.

Unlocking the Power of Time

We all have the same 24 hours in a day, and we can’t magically create more time. However, we can reshape our days to feel more accomplished without the frantic rush.

In Make Time*, a book by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky, you’ll discover how to slow down and prioritize the things that truly matter. Instead of doing more, you’ll focus on activities that bring genuine satisfaction.

So according to Knapp and Zeratsky, here’s the four-step game plan to help you make the most from your day:

1. Highlight Your Day

First things first, each morning, pick a “highlight” – something you genuinely want to tackle that day. Even if you’ve got a day jam-packed with must-dos and endless meetings, carve out a sacred 60-90 minutes for your highlight. Surprising fact: we actually spend over four hours a day watching TV or glued to social media. So, finding an hour or so for your highlight? Totally doable! Making your highlight the star of the show gives you a satisfying accomplishment to look back on when the day’s done.

2. Stay Laser-Focused

Distractions are the enemy of productivity. They sneak in and steal your focus. So, figure out what’s swiping away your attention – is it your smartphone, noisy neighbours, or something else? Once you’ve identified the culprits, employ some tactics to take back control. It could mean keeping your phone out of sight, using noise-canceling headphones, or choosing an environment that suits your task.

3. Energize Your Body

Nurturing your physical well-being is paramount. Maintain daily habits that bolster your physiological health, which means…eat well, drink plenty of water, get moving, and get your beauty sleep. Stress often makes us put self-care on the back burner, but that’s not going to help. When you keep your body in top form, your mind can perform at its peak, enhancing both your productivity and your sense of well-being.

4. Reflect and Learn

Every day offers valuable data: your energy levels, emotions, productivity, and more. Treat each day as an experiment. Reflect on what influenced your day—positive or negative—and use these insights to shape the next. What factors contributed to your productivity or hindered it? What can you do differently tomorrow? This analytical approach helps you learn and grow, even when things don’t go as planned.

How do you recharge your attention?

Effective time management isn’t just about allocating hours; it’s about directing and restoring your attention. According to Professors of Environmental Psychology, Rachel and Stephan Kaplan, our attention operates in two modes: directed and effortless.

Not suprisingly, our directed attention mode becomes fatigued over time. This is why a long drive can be exhausting. Even though our bodies aren’t working hard, certain day-to-day tasks require a sustained effort to focus attention on one thing and shut out other distractions.

So, how can we maintain directed attention well enough to complete work (even the boring stuff), then rest properly when the time comes?  One of the biggest suggestions is to resolve emotional turmoil.

Taming Emotional Turmoil

Yes, stressing about an upcoming event, relationship hiccups, or personal worries can be like a neon sign demanding your attention.

Daniel Goleman, author of Focus and an expert in emotional intelligence, suggests productive reflection can help you regain control. Instead of allowing distracting thoughts to simmer, stop, reflect, and resolve them.

Easier said than done, right?  It might mean taking  a walk to clear your head, talking to a friend, mentor or counsellor or actually taking action to resolve the issue.

Dealing with these issues, allows us to then properly rest!

Rest with Purpose

Do you dive headfirst into screens during your downtime?  TV shows, movies, or endless scrolling might not need much brainpower, but they do zilch to reduce mental fatigue. They fall into the category of “hard fascination,” where your mind remains fully occupied. Attention Restoration Theory teaches us about two types of fascination: hard and soft. While both are effortless to sustain, hard fascination consumes all your mental bandwidth, leaving no room for reflection. In contrast, soft fascination lets your mind wander and contemplate, crucial for unwinding and restoring your mind after focused work.   That’s the secret sauce for unwinding and recharging after a long bout of focused work.

The next time your mind feels like it’s done a marathon, take a breather with a walk in the park, a riverbank visit, or just a few minutes of window-gazing. Your attentional superpowers will thank you!

So in summary…

While we may never gain or create extra hours in our day, we have the power to influence how we feel about each day. By consciously shaping our time and attention, we can achieve a richer return on our investments. Here’s your roadmap:

  • Choose a daily highlight.
  • Eliminate distractions.
  • Nurture your body.
  • Learn from each day.
  • Address emotional turmoil.
  • Rest with purpose.

These choices might seem small, but they can add up to a big payoff.  Challenge yourself to make every moment count, and you’ll be wrapping up each day with ease!

 

 

Registrations for the Greater Good Collective are now open!

I’m so excited to let you know we have just opened registrations for the Greater Good Collective kicking off in February 2024.

The Greater Good Collective is a transformational 3-month personal leadership program to boost your self awareness, emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills in an energising learning environment.

Keen to join me – register here.

The exciting part is that for this special round, I will also facilitate 7 live online sessions for all participants too!  That’s means more interaction, community connection and more motivation to make the most of this program 🙂

The program is for you if…

  • You are looking for time and space to define or redefine who you are
  • You want to connect to your purpose, use your strengths and clarify your values
  • You are over the self doubt and want to live confidently
  • You want to connect with others who want to stretch themselves for the better.

Check out the program brochure to share with your manager! Or reach out to me to see if this program is the right fit for you.

 

 

 

*Disclosure: We love to promote great resources to support your personal leadership development. This post contains affiliate links which means if you decide to use the links and make a purchase, we receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support!

 

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