The King of All Lists

I’ve been doing to-do lists for a long time. Every single morning, I wake up and write down exactly what I want to accomplish by the end of the day.

As I crossed things off that list, I felt a sense of pride and accomplishment. Crossing things of my goal list is extremely gratifying.

In my opinion, to-do lists are amazing. They give you an outline of the day. They allow you to complete your goals and promote generating/implementing a routine.

They’re built for people that use the common excuse; “I don’t have time,” which, I’ve discovered, is quite a large number of the population.

Outline Your Day

Wake up every morning and write down exactly what you want to accomplish by the end of the day. Keep it short and concise.

Long lists prevent you from completing them, which knocks you down a peg at the end of the day. Make you sure you keep it small.

Have a set of constant goals that you must achieve (more on this later). For me, it’s daily affirmations, learning Spanish, and going to the gym. These are my constant goals to attain each day.

Make Time

For all intensive purposes, I consider myself a busy person. I blog, make videos; attend school and work, and constant learn (or read) something, which sucks up most of my time.

“How do you have time?”

The answer is quite simple. I make time. This is something magical about the to-do list. Having those goals on my to-do almost force me to make time. I know the feeling of not completing that list.

I work to avoid that feeling! I don’t have any extra divine time. I just make sure I fit it in. The to-do list encourages me to complete everything.

Build a Habit

To-do lists help build a routine. As mentioned, I have certain things that stay constant. Gym was always a constant habit, which I internalized early on.

However, affirmations and Spanish was something that never came easy. I constantly forgot to complete them or decided to avoid it for just one day.

Here’s where the list came in. Including those things on my list gave me extra motivation to complete it. I couldn’t allow myself to sleep without completing my list, even though it included a difficult Spanish lesson and time-consuming affirmations.

Now, those things are a constant event on my list, but I don’t need them to be. I’ve built the habit. I know, even without including them on the list, that I have to complete them before the days’ end.

Now, including those goals are formalities. Use your to-do list to build and internalize new habits.

“To-Don’t” List

I used to have a terrible nail-biting habit. My earliest memories included my fingers in constant pain and bleeding. I can’t place any early memories before nail biting.

I’ve pretty much done it my entire life. This was a hard habit to break.

How did I do it?

To-Don’t lists to the rescue. I started my day by writing “Today, I will not bite my nails.” And every night that I didn’t bite, I crossed it off.

Boom. Instant gratification.

The problem with people and bad habits is that they visualize the distant future. They see one week or month into the future and breaking the habit seems almost impossible.

Not biting my nails for a FULL week? Not drinking for a FULL week? Not smoking for a FULL week? That seems torturous.

Instead, focus only on today. Today is the only day that matters. Get through today. And then, tomorrow, get through that today. Time doesn’t exist outside of today. Time is just a series of todays.

Similar to the to-do lists, not being able to cross it off at the end of the day, felt terrible. My decision always includes gratification and today I will achieve it.

Be bold, be free, and love on.

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5 Tips for Effective Time-Management

I’ve had this current week completely off. I was working like a madman through the summer and I start school next week. I feel like I deserve a break after all that has happened through the summer.

The problem that has recently occurred to me is that school is starting soon. For many of us, that would seem a joy. For me, it’s terrible. During school, I have zero free time to do all the activities that I hold dear.

Reading, writing, and personal learning almost go out the window. I am most worried about how I will deal with school while juggling my many hobbies and goals.

Here’s what I’ve come up with:

A) Sleep

In my opinion, it’s the cornerstone of everything ‘life.’ Without adequate sleep (I need 9 hours because I’m a hippo), your willpower plummets. You wake up with less willpower resulting in doing less.

Feeling lethargic kisses goodbye your time management skills. You don’t feel like doing much of anything and when you muster up the energy, it isn’t done well.

B) Plan out your day

As part of my daily morning routine, I make a to-do list. I usually do it over breakfast. Planning out the important tasks in the morning allows me to prioritize everything.

I am able to figure out exactly what I want to do during my day and it allows me to manage my time around the list. As an added sense of gratification, crossing something off the list feels amazing.

I recommend implementing a list of important ‘to-do’ tasks everyday. It will allow for better time-management and, as an added plus, will take something off your memory.

C) Cut out the Noise

The people that are closest to me know that I hate texting. I find it completely ineffective for communication purposes past single word answers. Having any sort of conversation via text is completely inefficient and a waste of time.

That being said, texting, to me, is considered noise. Noise is anything that eats away at your valuable time everyday.

This can include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube (unless you’re learning or laughing), Instagram, television, or any other form of media that you can lose yourself in.

fire tweet_0Social media is not bad in extremely small doses, but once you start tuning out the world around to tweet, you may have a problem.

I consider everything in this category huge time-wasters that soak up your time like a dry sponge. Try to limit your usage to maximize your time.

D) Have ‘Do Not Disturb’ Time

As most of my frequent readers are aware, I’ve currently undertaken Spanish. I’m slowly discovering that learning a language, as with any learning; takes serious and intense concentration (Check out my article on learning here).

In that regard, you possess the ability to control your environment and its factors. If you have something that requires serious concentration, such as learning a new skill, modify the environment to your needs.

Go to quiet areas, tell friends/family not to bother you for X amount of time, turn off your cellphone, et cetera. This allows you to complete your task in the shortest amount of time possible, freeing up the rest of the time for your other tasks.

E) The List is a Guideline

Sometimes I do not complete everything on my list. Sure, it is disheartening, but it reminds me to properly prioritize everything for the next day.

Use your list as a framework for your day. If you do not complete everything on the list, don’t be discouraged. Aim to cross everything off of that list for the following day.

This Friday, I am embarking on another task. I’ll be launching a business with my mom. This will require a great deal of work and time from myself. Sometimes, I worry if I have too much on my plate.

With my fourth year of school, work, learning, reading, this blog, and that business, how will I ever have the time? Compiling this list brings a sense of ease for me because I know that I will be able to manage everything.

How do you manage your time? Do you have any helpful tips for my readers and I? Please leave a comment in the section below. My readers and I would love to hear from you.

Be bold, be free, and love on.