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Looking for better ways to manage your time? According to a time management expert and best-selling author, Laura Vanderkam, mornings are crucial times to get under control to boost your time management skills. Building the proper habits in our busy morning routine can lead to “happier, more productive lives.”
In this author’s book, “What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast” she delivers 5 Steps to making the most of your mornings because not matter how successful, everyone has only 168 hours. Here are her top 5 schedule maker habits and time management tips:
1. Track Your Time
2. Picturing the Perfect Morning
3. Thinking Through the Day’s Logistics
4. Building Good Habits
5. Tune Up
She has studied the morning routines of many people to come up with these best practices to get the most out of your mornings whether in the office or at home.
#1 Track Your Time
In the first step, most people are hitting their snooze buttons on their alarm clocks, rushing to get ready for work or perhaps getting the kids ready for school. It is like this day in and day out. The author recommends tracking your time for a week and include as much detail as possible. This can be jotted down on paper, your phone, or a notebook. Once these are logged, look at solutions to any dilemmas.
Often times the issues lies in areas at other times during the day, i.e., too tired in the morning because you stayed up late, stayed up late but forgot to meal prep, etc. Figure out what is imperative to accomplish each day and night, and make notes on urgent items that need to be accomplished. You may think that the house is dirty and it must be cleaned ASAP. Unfortunately, it will be dirty tomorrow so prioritize your needs.
#2 Picturing the Perfect Morning
Next, you will need to imagine the Perfect Morning. Ask yourself what this would look like. Perhaps, it is a morning job or sitting down with the family at breakfast. Take note of what it would look like and jot it down in your log.
#3 Thinking Through the Day’s Logistics
Third, you need to think through the logistics. If you think you’re going to take a 15-minute shower, then odds are it will take you 15-minutes.
Map out your morning routine or schedule and then determine what needs to be accomplished the day or night prior in order to make this happen. Perhaps you need to wake up 15-minutes earlier. Can you get to bed on time? Why or why not? Perhaps you need to cut back on the TV time. Maybe you need to pray or write in your journal that night instead.
#4 Building Good Habits
Fourth, building the habit. Laura mentions this is the most important step because it requires will power and building a regular ritual. How difficult is it to wake or to have that family breakfast? Early in this stage the motivation is easier and you’ll most likely do this. However, as time fades, it once again become difficult to continue this ritual and stay motivated. Her key is to start slowly and build upon your morning routines. Perhaps your first goal needs to be waking up on time.
Next it may include ensuring breakfast was pre-made the night before. Find little milestones and build from there but ensure you are recording your progress and where you dropped the ball so that you can try to fix it the next morning.
#5 Tune Up
Finally, get a tune up when necessary. Life is always evolving and changing and there is no reason to think every day is exactly the same, unless you’re Bill Murray in Groundhog’s Day. Think about season changes when one morning you have sunlight but the next season you don’t see the sun until you’re already at work. When you start to record little victories, identify where you can improve on the setbacks. Find new milestones if the older ones didn’t work.
No matter how you manage your time, remember that successful people have the same amount of time as everyone else. We only get 168 hours in a week. It is how we define each day’s ritual and routine that makes us successful in time management. Also, be willing to acknowledge that failure will happen but it is not the failure that defines but rather how we make the adaptions to the failures ensuring it doesn’t happen again.
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