Start finding your purpose and unlock your best life

Finding purpose in life is one of those things that most people want. Whether we know it or not. As nice as it sounds, it can seem challenging to attain.

If you haven't spent a lot of time thinking about your own purpose, you might have some preconceived ideas about the purpose of life. These baked-in ideas about life often come from our family and the communities we grow up in. The purpose of our life is to get married and have kids. Or, maybe it's earning a certain amount of money or achieving a certain position in society. 

But these types of achievements often don’t bring the kind of fulfillment that comes with finding your personal sense of purpose. A personal sense of purpose is less of a specific end goal and more of an ongoing impact on the world, large or small. Purpose is your why.

This personal sense of purpose guides and sustains you. Day to day and through the years. Even when you have setbacks and the world turns upside down, purpose gives you stability and a sense of direction. That’s why finding purpose is essential for living a happy, healthy life.

While asking what your purpose is can seem like a lofty question, it’s one worth asking. And trying to answer. Finding your purpose can unlock greater satisfaction and success in all areas of your life. 

So let’s dive into the big questions: what is purpose in life, why it matters, and 12 steps to finding your purpose.


What is the purpose of life?

Philosophers have sought and debated "the purpose of life" for centuries. We won't try to answer that here. What matters is your purpose in life.

Most people will ask at some point, "Why am I here?" It can be a scary question or a thrilling one. Leaning into the discomfort of this existential question can lead to a better sense of self and more rewarding paths forward. 

Your purpose in life is as unique to you as your fingerprint. We all have a particular set of talents, experiences, skill sets, and interests that light us up. Purpose is related to these, but it is your reason for being. It is why you get out of bed in the morning, even when the day is dreary, you're tired, and you know the tasks and challenges ahead are going to be hard or even boring.

Purpose is the long game, not the short-term goal. You never get to the end of it. However, even a strong sense of purpose can wear you down. That's why, ideally, your purpose blends with what interests you and brings you joy. 

In Japan, this idea is known as ikigai, and it’s the concept of following your joy. Ikigai has grown popular in the West in recent years as a way to help people find their dream careers and career paths.

The concept is finding the overlap between what you love and the world needs with what you are good at and the world will pay for. You craft your sense of purpose from your passion as well as practical considerations. 

If you’re lucky, you might have found your ikigai through your work. For example, a doctor hopefully believes their purpose is to help sick people or to ease suffering. 

For others, finding meaning in our work and connecting it to our personal sense of purpose isn’t so easy. Between work, family responsibilities, and social expectations, we often abandon the idealistic version of ourselves that yearns to find a sense of meaning and purpose in life. We believe we have to make this tradeoff — that meaning and purpose can't exist with pragmatic considerations. But that isn't helpful. 

You need a sense of purpose to sustain you over time. And even when life feels like a series of compromises, you can still discover and connect to your purpose by exploring what brings you joy and dedicating more time to it


Why is finding purpose important?

Finding your purpose in life might sound like a nice-to-have, but it’s more important than you may think. 

Living a meaningful life contributes to better physical health and mental fitness.It also reduces the risk of chronic disease. Multiple studies have even found that it can help you live longer

Having a sense of purpose comes from feeling connected to others. Using your gifts in the service of others can help you find your true purpose, while isolation and loneliness can cause you to have an existential crisis.

You will probably find that your purpose changes throughout your life. Continuous growth and progress can help you stay connected to your purpose.


How to find purpose in life: 12 tips

If you’re asking yourself, “What is my purpose?” you’re not alone. One study showed that just ¼ of American adults say they have a clear sense of purpose.

If you’re part of the other 75%, follow these 12 tips to get started on finding purpose and meaning in life.

1. Develop a growth mindset

Having a growth mindset is linked to having a sense of purpose. Constantly growing and becoming a better version of yourself helps you identify your purpose and commit to pursuing it. 

A growth mindset also allows you to:


2. Create a personal vision statement

personal vision statement can help you manage stress and find balance in your life. It also serves as a roadmap that will guide you toward your purpose by identifying your core values and establishing what’s important to you.

A purpose statement makes it easier for you to make decisions aligned to your values and helps you stay motivated as you work toward your personal goals


3. Give back

Giving back, or prosociality as it’s known in psychology, can enhance your sense of meaning and purpose in life. This means that when you help others, you also help yourself. 

Look for ways to be of service. You might want to volunteer in your local community or donate your money or skills to a cause that resonates with you. Or try spreading a little happiness by performing random acts of kindness.


4. Practice gratitude

The prosociality study found that focusing on gratitude in addition to acts of altruism strengthened the participants’ sense of purpose. 

Another study revealed that gratitude activates the same reward responses in the brain as prosocial behavior. 

It also found that cultivating gratitude can make you more generous and lead to acts of kindness, which we now know contributes to finding a sense of purpose. 

Practicing gratitude can feel a bit awkward at first. We get so used to our negative thoughts that switching them for positive ones can feel unnatural. 

To get started, try writing three to five things you feel grateful for first thing in the morning or at night before you go to sleep. 


5. Turn your pain into purpose

We all face struggles in life. Overcoming these challenges shapes who we become and gives us our unique strengths and perspectives. 

Many people ask for help when struggling to overcome a major life change. Some later find their purpose in helping others facing similar struggles to those they have overcome. 

Some choose a career working directly with people, such as a life coach or social worker. Others find ways to touch the lives of others through the arts, such as writing, painting, or music. Some become motivational speakers. 

How you transform your pain into purpose is up to you.


6. Explore your passions

Your passions and interests are a good indicator of the area in which your life purpose might lie. But they can be hard to identify. They’re so ingrained in our ways of thinking that we can become blind to them. 

If you’re not sure what your passions are, ask the people who know you best. Likely, you’re already pursuing them in some way without even realizing it. 

Perhaps you’re an unofficial mentor to young people in your community. If so, that could be your passion.

Another way to find your passion is to think about what you’re good at. Someone who’s great at helping others solve their problems might want to consider a career as a coach.

You might prefer to keep your passion as a hobby, or you might decide to turn it into a side hustle or full-time source of income. 


7. Be part of a community

Purpose is about feeling connected to others, so being an active member of a community can contribute to a greater sense of purpose in life. 

When you find your purpose, you’ll discover that there are many others out there who share your passions, interests, and values. 

Joining or creating a community allows you to find that sense of connection with others as you work together toward a common goal.


8. Spend time with people who inspire you

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

If you spend time with people who are positive and purpose-driven, they are likely to inspire you to have the same mindset. You may even discover your purpose through them.

Look beyond your colleagues and family members and ask yourself who you choose to spend your time with. Evaluate those relationships and make sure you are surrounding yourself with aspirational, positive people who lift you up.


9. Read

One of the best ways to expand your mental horizons is through reading fiction. Nonfiction books are useful for acquiring knowledge on certain subjects. But research suggests that reading fiction may have more benefits.

Reading fiction improves your empathy and critical and creative thinking. This is because when you put yourself in the shoes of a character, you imagine how you would react in that situation. 

Reading also connects you to other people across time, place, and cultures. This helps you cultivate the sense of connectedness that generates a sense of purpose in life.


10. Join a cause

We all have a cause that we feel passionately about. Perhaps you have strong feelings about social justice, animal welfare, or the environment. 

Fighting for a cause ties together several of the tips mentioned above, including:

  • Giving back 
  • Forming part of a community 
  • Doing something you’re passionate about
  • Surrounding yourself with people who inspire you

Maybe you want to raise money for research into a particular disease or give inner-city children access to green spaces. Whatever it is, getting involved with a cause will help you find more purpose in your life. 


11. Practice self-acceptance

Accepting your limitations can help you be kinder to yourself when things go wrong. We all make mistakes, but instead of beating yourself up for your failures, try to see each setback as an opportunity to grow. 

Self-compassion can help you become more self-aware and self-accepting. When you accept all of yourself, you’re more likely to give the best of yourself in every situation. This might be at work, with your family, or while doing the things you love. 

This can lead to a greater sense of connection to others and everything you do, giving more meaning to your life. 


12. Take time for self-care

Self-care comes in many forms, and your version of self-care is unique to you. Perhaps you like walking in the forest, practicing some deep breathing, or journaling out your difficult emotions. 

But why is self-care important? Because when our brains are relaxed, they are at their most creative. You cannot achieve or serve others when you are battling against yourself.

Have you ever noticed that some of your best ideas come when you’re in the shower? That’s because our minds are more open and receptive to the flow of ideas than they are when we try to force ourselves to think. 

Creative thinking comes naturally when our minds are in a state of relaxation. And it can lead you closer to finding your purpose. 


Finding purpose in life doesn’t have to be hard

Behind every successful person is clarity of purpose. And unless you find yours, you’ll continue to cruise through life on autopilot. You may find yourself knocked off-course and lost, uncertain how to move forward or which direction is forward. Or, life may be smooth but one day you may look back and wish you had used your time differently.

Identifying, acknowledging, and honoring your purpose is the foundation of a well-rounded life. It requires some courage because it opens up questions and ideas that might not be comfortable. Yet it's worth it. Purpose provides you with an inner compass that guides every decision and leads you to the experiences that will light up your soul. 

Finding your purpose and connecting your purpose to meaningful work can be hard. Supportive guidance can help. If you'd like help finding your purpose and creating more meaning in your life, get in touch with BetterUp. One of our expert coaches will be happy to support you.


Written by Maggie Wooll | BetterUp

Four Tips For Developing Your Skill Sets

A big key to success are the skill sets we develop. Regardless of what industry we are in, the goal is to always deliver value. We can only do that if we have strong skills. Here are some tips to help you identify and build your needed skillsets for success.


Who do you want to become? 

As you grow into your success, you need to determine and gain clarity around the type of person you want to become. You need to think about how you will grow into that person. Ask yourself: What are the habits, disciplines and skill sets I will need to be proficient at to attain mastery in my field?

For me, I want to really grow globally as a speaker and influencer. To do this, I need to work on skill sets around connecting and networking, polishing my message and positioning myself on social media platforms. Each week, I set time aside to work on these skill sets, to learn from other masters and to practice what I learn. If each week I focus on becoming more like the person I want to grow into, soon I will become that better version of myself.


Success leaves clues. 

We learn by watching others. When you are looking to grow your skills, look to those that have mastery and follow their lead.

When I was working to become a better public speaker, I was terrified. I had anxiety and was not able to connect. I decided to invest my time in watching others who were great public speakers; I paid attention to their diction, pace, tone and timing. I could see what was working and not working to capture the attention of the audience. In addition to observation, I would talk with these mentors and learn their best tips.

Today, it is easy to observe greatness. With technology, there are ample opportunities to follow and learn. You can listen to podcasts, watch YouTube videos and even attend virtual conferences. Take time to learn patterns of success from those that already have achieved it.


Practice.

Success in any specific area only comes with practice. Unfortunately, most practice on their clients. You need to carve out time in your weeks to practice on your own and become stronger. Practicing isn't necessarily fun, but it is required for mastery.

When I was selling real estate, I was not having great success in converting leads into appointments. I knew what I had to say (after all, I had a script), but I was not connecting and probably sounded like a robot. After spending a few weeks with my mentor, who forced me to practice daily, my conversion rate became much higher and I saw success.

Another example: Think about a surgeon — they do not simply graduate medical school and get a scalpel. No, they practice, and they practice a lot before they are allowed to operate solo.

I suggest you time block for practice; carve out 30 minutes a few times a week to practice your skills. Work with a partner or mentor who will provide feedback. And remember that practice makes perfect.


Hire a coach or seek out a mentor.

Mastery with our skills can also be attained by having someone in your corner; someone that will hold you accountable and provide you a foundation for success. A good coach or mentor will help you and provide you with guidance and direction in your areas of growth. Go back and revisit who you want to become and seek out a good coach or mentor who is strong in that skillset.


I have had several coaches and mentors over the years. They have helped me in areas of leadership, speaking, project execution and even becoming a better coach. They have pushed me, challenged me and helped me achieve success. They have all been a valuable part of my growth and success.

Challenges in business will arise and you will be better equipped to handle them when your skills are sharp. Invest your time and focus in mastering your skills. You will be glad you did.


Written by Forbes

Millennials and Generation Z are more sustainability-orientated -- even when it comes to money, researchers find

The younger generations are willing to put their money where their mouth is when it comes to sustainable living. In a study questioning both commitment to sustainable behaviors and willingness to trade better pay to work for a more sustainable-minded company, the surveyed young adults in Japan made their preferences clear.

The results were published on Jan. 31 in a special issue of the Journal of Cleaner Production focused on achieving the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Researchers issued two surveys investigating how people support the SDGs, which consists of 17 goals and 169 targets to achieve by 2030 -- including ending poverty and ensuring access to clean water and sanitation for all.



"Many people, in popular media or even in daily conversation, say that the younger generation is more socially conscious and has sustainable development goal-orientated behavior, but scientific evidence is limited," said paper author Tomomi Yamane, researcher with the Network for Education and Research on Peace and Sustainability (NERPS) at Hiroshima University.


"In this study, we provide novel evidence that the younger generation preferred a sustainable lifestyle than the older generation. And younger people are willing to dispense income to work for SDG-minded companies."

The first survey had a nationwide adult sample of 12,098 across all adult generations in 2019 and 2020, and it found that those between the ages of 18 and 30 were far more likely to value and practice sustainable behaviors, such as paying more for sustainably developed products.


"In 2030, the younger generation will be the central working force in society and is expected to make real efforts to create a sustainable future and likely play a substantial role in achieving the SDGs," said paper co-author Shinji Kaneko, professor with NERPS at Hiroshima University.


"Corporations wanting to attract younger people to buy their products or services or to work for them should incorporate the SDGs into their strategies and seriously contribute to SDGs."

Seemingly contradictory to their overall interpretation, the researchers also found from the first survey that the younger generations are more concerned about finding a secure, well-paying job than older generations. However, the younger generation is more willing to be paid less to work for an SDG-minded company, according to Yamane.



The second survey sampled 668 university students to understand the job preferences and how pay and company values may interact for the younger generation. The probability of a participant selecting the least SDG-minded company was about 28%, even if offered a high salary. The probability of selecting a highly SDG-minded company increased to 56%, even with the lowest pay. The probability of a participant electing to work at an SDG-minded company with high pay was 87%.


"Combined, the findings suggest that younger generations could change their behavior when they become knowledgeable about the inherent nature of SDGs, despite the findings from the first survey showing that the younger generation prefers better pay more than older generations," Yamane said. "Our findings suggest that today's younger generation can be the driving force for achieving the SDGs."

Next, the researchers will conduct a more comprehensive survey that also assess job-related activities and attitudes in relation to SDG contributions and salaries.


Written by Science Daily

Story Source:

Materials provided by Hiroshima UniversityNote: Content may be edited for style and length.

Anxious about public speaking in the workplace?

Most people experience some level of speech anxiety when they have to speak in front of a group; in fact, public speaking is many people's greatest fear. Here are 15 tips to boost your confidence level and communication skills.


Whether you’re the founder of a small business or the CEO of a huge establishment, leading the conversation in a weekly department meeting, or moderating a panel discussion at the annual industry conference that everyone’s talking about, can be intimidating for some.


To overcome the fear of presenting, continue to participate and practice at low-stakes events with every opportunity that comes your way. By doing so, you’ll become a skilled, sought-after, and successful thought leader in no time.

Below, 15 Fast Company Executive Board members share their best techniques to help leaders reduce the signs of nervousness and deliver effectively during virtual (or on-site) discussions.


1. GET RID OF YOUR NOTE CARDS.

Don’t use note cards. Instead, study until you know the subject forward and backward so that when you speak to the audience it feels like you are excitedly talking to your friend about the subject matter. Be proud of what you are going to say to your friend because you know you’ll be convincing. – Alice Hayden, H2 IT Solutions


2. INCORPORATE REAL-LIFE STORIES.

Include a few stories, real-life examples, and fun facts to make it a more interactive experience. Practice your content in front of family or friends to build up your confidence and improve your delivery. I always enjoy presentations with more visuals, bullet points, or polls for easy reference and higher engagement. Remember, you are the small-mid-size enterprise expert who is helping others. So be confident and have fun! – Gayatri Keskar, Material ConneXion


3. KEEP PRACTICING.

It sounds simple, but practice makes perfect! Go through your materials and talk track the week leading up to your event. Then, practice in front of your spouse or friend. Remember, no one knows the materials better than you do, and if you mess something up it’s unlikely anyone will know other than you. Lastly, consider the likely objections or questions, and ensure you have your responses prepared. – Blake DeCola, Brado


4. PICTURE SUCCESS.

Try closing your eyes and picturing yourself delivering a successful presentation. Then focus on the visualization that it will go well and manifest into a successful outcome. Practice some deep breathing techniques to calm your nervous system down. – Kathy Leake, Crux Intelligence


5. DON’T BE AFRAID TO MESS UP. 

Even professional speakers make mistakes. Own it with humor. Be sure you’re knowledgeable about the topic you’ll be speaking on. If you get off track, you still maintain credibility. If you can, use the speaker’s notes feature on most presentation programs in a format that makes you feel comfortable so you can get back on track if you lose your train of thought. – Hannah Fryer, Brambling & Co., LLC


6. DON’T BE WORRIED ABOUT THE AUDIENCE.

Remember that the audience is on your side. They are also rooting for you and your presentation delivery. See them as potential allies rather than judges. – David Jaber, Climate Positive Consulting


7. TEACH WHAT YOU KNOW. 

You can overcome public speaking nervousness by speaking about the things you care about most. If your topic isn’t something you love, you can still find an angle that’s important to you. When you’re passionate about your topic, it shows in your delivery and people will be more engaged. You’ll also be less likely to get nervous when speaking in public because you’ll be intent on the actual message. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner


8. CREATE AN OUTLINE.

Having a loose outline of what you’re going to say can help you stay focused and become a more confident and comfortable public speaker. – Kristin Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC


9. TRY AN AUDIO-ONLY EVENT.

If you’re uncomfortable about speaking publicly in person or on video, start with an audio-only event. Join a Twitter Space or Club House discussion around a topic that you feel you’re an expert on. Doing several sessions allows you to practice in front of strangers you can’t see, without the uncomfortable visual distraction. You will find your rhythm and even meet new people to network with or learn from. – Bill Nottingham, Nottingham Unlimited Ventures, LLC


10. SIGN UP FOR STAND-UP COMEDY.

Kid you not, I once signed up for a stand-up comedy course. The final assignment was to deliver a stand-up routine on stage at a local club. Candidly, it was one of the most challenging speaking engagements I’ve ever had, though the stakes were low because it was just for fun. Still, trust me, if you do this, it will help you gain confidence and put future speaking engagements into perspective! – Camille Preston, AIM Leadership, LLC


11. FOCUS ON GRATITUDE.

Master your content and manage your stress. Accept speaking opportunities that cover topics that you know very well or that allow you to share a personal story with key lessons learned. Prior to the event, manage your stress by saying: I am excited (instead of: I am nervous) about your talk, and take five minutes to only have thoughts of gratitude for a positive mindset. Gratitude will destroy fear. – Andreea Vanacker, SPARKX5


12. CHOOSE A PERSONAL TOPIC.

Find a topic that you are passionate about, it doesn’t have to be about work, it might be top tips for Pokémon Go or cooking unexpected taco combinations. Then explore the best ways for you to educate others about the topic. For example, speaking on a pre-recorded podcast, webinar, or YouTube channel could be helpful. Build confidence in speaking about what you love and apply it to all aspects of work and life. – Val Vacante, Merkle, a dentsu company


13. DETERMINE YOUR OWN STYLE.

Recognize that it is a learned skill and you are not alone in your nervousness. After doing this many times, I’ve learned that everyone who does this well has their own preparation style and plan which evolved from practicing and doing. Solidify your style and prep and repeat the process which will help you feel more confident and deliver a better presentation. Do not decline an opportunity. – Paola Doebel, Ensono


14. BREATHE.

Take your time to prepare and practice a lot. You might need to learn that presentation by heart, that’s okay as long as it makes you feel more confident. Another thing to focus on is your breathing. One simple technique is to breathe in on a count of four and breathe out on a count of eight. A couple of rounds of that are sure to calm your parasympathetic nervous system. This is human biology. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS


15. RECORD YOURSELF ON VIDEO.

Practice, practice, practice—there is no substitute. Videotape yourself, be willing to watch, and be self-critical. Watch presentations of people whose style you admire and discover what you like about what they are doing. Identify specific behaviors that work, and start to adopt them. For example, eye contact, body language, use of visuals, how they dress, and how they connect with audiences. – Amy Radin, Pragmatic Innovation Partners LLC


Written by Fast Company







Improve Your Finances with 7 Money Management Tips

Being good with money is essential to living a financially sound life. It's a requirement if you want to improve your credit or get out of debt.


1. Track your spending to improve your finances.

If you don’t know what and where you’re spending each month, there’s a good chance your personal spending habits have room for improvement.

Better money management starts with spending awareness. Use a money management app like MoneyTrack to track spending across categories, and see for yourself how much you’re spending on non-essentials such as dining, entertainment, and even that daily coffee. Once you’ve educated yourself on these habits, you can make a plan to improve.


2. Create a realistic monthly budget.

Use your monthly spending habits, as well as your monthly take-home pay, to set a budget you know you can keep.

There’s no use setting a strict budget based on drastic changes, such as never eating out when you’re currently ordering takeout four times a week. Create a budget that works with your lifestyle and spending habits. 

You should see a budget as a way to encourage better habits, such as cooking at home more often, but give yourself a realistic shot at meeting this budget. That’s the only way this money management method will work.


3. Build up your savings—even if it takes time.

Create an emergency fund that you can dip into when unforeseen circumstances strike. Even if your contributions are small, this fund can save you from risky situations in which you’re forced to borrow money at high-interest rates or possibly find yourself unable to pay your bills on time.

You should also make general savings contributions to strengthen your financial security in the event of a job loss. Use automatic contributions such as FSCB's pocket change to grow this fund and reinforce the habit of putting away money.


4. Pay your bills on time every month.

Paying bills on time is an easy way to manage your money wisely, and it comes with excellent benefits: It helps you avoid late fees and prioritizes essential spending. A strong on-time payment history can also lift your credit score and improve your interest rates.


5. Cut back on recurring charges.

Do you subscribe to services you never use? It’s easy to forget about monthly subscriptions to streaming services and mobile apps that charge your bank account even when you don’t regularly use these services.

Review your spending for charges like these, and consider canceling unnecessary subscriptions to hold onto more money each month.

6. Save up cash to afford big purchases.

Certain kinds of loans and debt can be helpful when making major purchases, such as a house or even a car that you need right now. But for other big purchases, cash offers the safest and cheapest buying option.

When you buy in cash, you avoid generating interest and creating a debt that requires months—or, often, years—to pay back. In the meantime, that saved money can sit in a bank account and accumulate interest that can be put toward your purchase.

7. Start an investment strategy.

Even if your ability to invest is limited, small contributions to investment accounts can help you use your earned money to generate more income. Consider opening a retirement account or other investment account. The path to better finances starts with changing your own habits. Some of these changes will be easier than others, but if you stay committed to this transformation, you’ll end up with great money management skills that will serve you throughout your life—and in the meantime, you’ll have more money in your pocket.

The foundation of good money management is a rock-solid budget. Create your own by downloading A Complete Guide to Budgeting today.


Written by FSCB


List of Tips for Effective Time Management

Make the most of your day with these effective time management tips.


A Brief Guide to Time Management

Time management is the process of planning and controlling how much time to spend on specific activities. Good time management enables an individual to complete more in a shorter period of time, lowers stress, and leads to career success.


Benefits of Time Management

The ability to manage your time effectively is important. Good time management leads to improved efficiency and productivity, less stress, and more success in life. Here are some benefits of managing time effectively:

 

1. Stress relief

Making and following a task schedule reduces anxiety. As you check off items on your “to-do” list, you can see that you are making tangible progress. This helps you avoid feeling stressed out with worry about whether you’re getting things done.

 

2. More time

Good time management gives you extra time to spend in your daily life. People who can time-manage effectively enjoy having more time to spend on hobbies or other personal pursuits.

 

3. More opportunities

Managing time well leads to more opportunities and less time wasted on trivial activities. Good time management skills are key qualities that employers look for. The ability to prioritize and schedule work is extremely desirable for any organization.

 

4. Ability to realize goals

Individuals who practice good time management are able to better achieve goals and objectives, and do so in a shorter length of time.

 

List of Tips for Effective Time Management

After considering the benefits of time management, let’s look at some ways to manage time effectively:


time management tips infographic


1. Set goals correctly

Set goals that are achievable and measurable. Use the SMART method when setting goals. In essence, make sure the goals you set are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

 

2. Prioritize wisely

Prioritize tasks based on importance and urgency. For example, look at your daily tasks and determine which are:

  • Important and urgent: Do these tasks right away.
  • Important but not urgent: Decide when to do these tasks.
  • Urgent but not important: Delegate these tasks if possible.
  • Not urgent and not important: Set these aside to do later.

 

3. Set a time limit to complete a task

Setting time constraints for completing tasks helps you be more focused and efficient. Making the small extra effort to decide on how much time you need to allot for each task can also help you recognize potential problems before they arise. That way you can make plans for dealing with them.

For example, assume you need to write up five reviews in time for a meeting. However, you realize that you’ll only be able to get four of them done in the time remaining before the meeting. If you become aware of this fact well in advance, you may be able to easily delegate writing up one of the reviews to someone else. However, if you hadn’t bothered to do a time check on your tasks beforehand, you might have ended up not realizing your time problem until just an hour before the meeting. At that point, it might be considerably more difficult to find someone to delegate one of the reviews to, and more difficult for them to fit the task into their day, too.

 

4. Take a break between tasks

When doing a lot of tasks without a break, it is harder to stay focused and motivated. Allow some downtime between tasks to clear your head and refresh yourself. Consider grabbing a brief nap, going for a short walk, or meditating.

 

5. Organize yourself

Utilize your calendar for more long-term time management. Write down the deadlines for projects, or for tasks that are part of completing the overall project. Think about which days might be best to dedicate to specific tasks. For example, you might need to plan a meeting to discuss cash flow on a day when you know the company CFO is available.

 

6. Remove non-essential tasks/activities

It is important to remove excess activities or tasks. Determine what is significant and what deserves your time. Removing non-essential tasks/activities frees up more of your time to be spent on genuinely important things.

 

7. Plan ahead

Make sure you start every day with a clear idea of what you need to do – what needs to get done THAT DAY. Consider making it a habit to, at the end of each workday, go ahead and write out your “to-do” list for the next workday. That way you can hit the ground running the next morning.

 

Implications of Poor Time Management

Let’s also consider the consequences of poor time management.

 

1. Poor workflow

The inability to plan ahead and stick to goals means poor efficiency. For example, if there are several important tasks to complete, an effective plan would be to complete related tasks together or sequentially. However, if you don’t plan ahead, you could end up having to jump back and forth, or backtrack, in doing your work. That translates to reduced efficiency and lower productivity.

 

2. Wasted time

Poor time management results in wasted time. For example, by talking to friends on social media while doing an assignment, you are distracting yourself and wasting time.

 

3. Loss of control

By not knowing what the next task is, you suffer from loss of control of your life. That can contribute to higher stress levels and anxiety.

 

4. Poor quality of work

Poor time management typically makes the quality of your work suffer. For example, having to rush to complete tasks at the last minute usually compromises quality.

 

5. Poor reputation

If clients or your employer cannot rely on you to complete tasks in a timely manner, their expectations and perceptions of you are adversely affected. If a client cannot rely on you to get something done on time, they will likely take their business elsewhere.


Written by Corporate Finance Institute