Hey loves, stopping by with a blog post on how to stop making excuses and how to improve time management skills. Let’s start with excuses.
Excuses are stumbling blocks that lead to nowhere. If you are looking for a blueprint to go to nowhere, look at excuses.
How Does Excuses Affect You?
Excuses cause you to say “I can’t” or “I don’t have time.”
Phrases such as these should be toss to the bottom of the ocean without the ability to come back up when it comes to the betterment of your life.
Excuses are tools that cause you to participate in self-defeat. Who knew that you had the power to create damaging tools? Who knew that you could destroy your hopes and dreams?
I often hear individuals mention stumbling blocks from others, but what about the ones call excuses that they create for themselves.
Who all have been guilty of this? Me. Raising my hand up.
Excuses cause us to be stagnant. They cause us to forget about our hopes and dreams. Anybody that has accomplished many goals in life did not give energy to excuses.
There have been times when I said, I can’t or I just don’t have time. You want to know what happen. Absolutely nothing. I had to learn to push those negative thoughts (excuses) out of my mind.
When I let excuses controlled me, I didn’t attempt to try to accomplished goals. I didn’t even really make goals. I mean if I want something to change in my life, I had to look at excuses for what they were (stumbling blocks).
I had to change the narrative and tell myself “I can” & “I will make time.”
Two excuses that like to rear their ugly heads were: not enough time or feeling uninspired.
How To Stop Excuses
When it comes to stopping excuses, I created a system consisting of time management skills & discipline with a customized goal oriented list.
Last year after reading “The One Thing” by Gary Keller, I updated my system. I improve my time management skills with time blocking with a focus on managing my willpower. I got these concepts from Gary’s book.
I was already using discipline in my system, but there is a chapter about discipline, multitasking is not effective, what saying yes to everyone will do to you, everything does not matter equally, and many more gems.
How to Improve Your Time Management Skills
If you are having trouble with time, look into how you manage your time. Effective time management skills are necessary when it comes to being productive and accomplishing goals. Sometimes we think we do not have enough time in the day, but we need to use our time more effectively.
Here are some activities to improve your time management skills
Take a moment and filled out on paper what you do with every second of your day. Try it for a week. You can also use Google Calendar to do this. It has a cute color coded system. This will give you an idea of how you really spend your time weekly on a daily basis.
After the evaluation of your time, what did you see? Did you see any room for the tasks you were making excuses for?
Have you heard of time blocking?
Time blocking has help me stay on track. I found out about time blocking through Gary Keller. I bought his book, “The One Thing” over a year ago. What I like about this book is that you get to focus on one thing, not three, four, or seven.
You learn to focus on one thing and build your schedule around it. You will not try to find more time in the day and overwork or burn yourself out. When using his approach, you learn to use the time you have wisely and effectively. No burnout or stress out going on. Sounds great right?
I shared this book to read on a previous blog post about books that will change your life read here. It changed how I manage my time and focus on my goals for the better.
Time blocking is when you planned out every moment of your day with blocks of time consisting of specific tasks you want to complete toward a goal.
You give yourself a specific amount of time to complete each task. After the time is up, you move from that task.
In time blocking, you will schedule everything. Instead of responding to notifications soon as they come, you will schedule a block of time in your day where you would assign yourself tasks to check and respond to specific notifications.
When the time is over, that is it for those tasks. You will not look at them for the rest of the day.
In addition to assigning yourself tasks that will help you toward accomplishing your goal, you will assign yourself breaks too.
Time blocking helps you focus on one task at a time. You give one task all of your undivided attention. It cuts down on distractions. There will not be any multitasking going on.
Cherry (2020) discussed how researchers have found that multitasking may negatively affect productivity by 40%. It can be taxing to the mind to switch back and forth between tasks. Check out her article here to learn more.
Now, let’s talk briefly about a tool that will help you track the amount of time you spend on each task.
With the time cube timer, you set the time you want to spend on your assigned task. It comes with 5, 15, 30, & 60 minutes option. You work on your assigned task. You stay working on it until the time is up.
When the time cube timer sounds off, it is time to stop working on that task. You do this over and over again with each task you assigned to yourself with assigned breaks in between.
If you like, you can see the countdown in digital. I prefer not to. That would distract me.
There is another thing to take in consideration when scheduling your tasks.
It is willpower. Gary also talks about how managing willpower can help you complete your one thing effectively. He discusses how you need to pay close attention to when your willpower is at its maximum strength.
You don’t want to schedule your one thing, the most important task later in the day because you have used some of your will power. You may not be effective in completing the task. You learn to let your willpower work for you, not against you.
Early in the day is a better time to schedule your most important task because you have not used any of your willpower yet. It is at full capacity. So, this is when you will schedule your one thing, the most important task of the day (Keller & Papasan, 2012, 70-71).
Focusing on your One thing and building your schedule around it with the help of time blocking with a focus on willpower is a process.
Let’s not forget the adorable time cube timer. Add it to the mix, and you are equip and ready to manage your time and tasks.
You can always customize this process to fit you.
There is also a website that goes with the book called www.the1thing.com.
Sometimes excuses may come because you do not feel inspired. Honestly, inspiration is overrated to me. It is great to have, but it can be fleeting.
What I have learned is that you are always not inspired when you are working towards goals. Sometimes, you will not feel like it.
The spunk has left the building. Here come the excuses. Give yourself a moment to pause. It is ok to pause.
In these moments, you have to remember what you want the desired outcome to be. After you have paused, dig deep for something else.
You have the power to take control. Something else is referring to discipline. It is necessary to have discipline. Discipline causes you to show up when you are not feeling inspired. Discipline reminds you of your desired outcome.
Effective time management skills with discipline help you to keep going when the inspiration has left. Inspiration does come back. Until it does, let them get their shine on and help see you through.
I am a list type of girl.
List helps me be productive and practice discipline with effective time management skills
A list is like a guideline to go by. It helps me to take responsibility for my life, and visualize what I need to be doing.
So, I made this list of 5 steps that have helped me. I updated this list with concepts from the book “The One Thing.” It is continuing to help me stop excuses when they come. Trust me, they still come. I customized this list to whatever goal I am working on.
1. Acknowledge your thoughts and challenge them. If they are feeding you excuses, challenge them. You can challenge your thoughts.
Tip: Take some time out and pay attention to what you are letting inside your head. Negative things can feed into negative thoughts.
You need to create a positive environment. You can do this with motivational podcasts, reading positive blogs & books, watching positive videos, hanging around like minded people, etc.
2. Take a look at the situation and write down the desired outcome, your One thing.
3. Research solutions regarding achieving your one thing. Invest time in yourself. Ask for help if needed.
4. Develop a list with your One thing and tasks to help you accomplish it.
5. Create a schedule around your One thing & time frame to complete the tasks daily. Focus on putting your task for your One thing early in the day where your willpower is at its full capacity. Remember, let your willpower work for you, not against you.
Tip : Look into time blocking for effective time management skills with a focus on managing will power. Check out Gary Keller’s book, “The One Thing.” He talks all about this.
A time cube timer may help you hold yourself accountable to sticking with the assigned times you choose for each task in time blocking.
Make time and follow through with the steps. Sometimes you may have to adjust this process. That is alright. You are a work in progress. Never give up on yourself. Make sure to celebrate your progression.
In conclusion, creating a system of discipline with effective time management skills & a customized goal oriented list helps you eliminate excuses. You will not have any time to entertain excuses. You will be too busy accomplishing goals.
How do you stop excuses? How do you improve time management skills?
Until Next Time
Cherry, K. (2020). How Multitasking Affects Productivity and Brain Health. Retrieve from https://www.verywellmind.com/multitasking-2795003
Henry, A. (2019). The Pomodoro Technique 101. Retrived from https://lifehacker.com/productivity-101-a-primer-to-the-pomodoro-technique-1598992730
Keller, G & Papasan, J . (2012). The One Thing. The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results. Brad Press.
The1Thing.com website. https://www.the1thing.com/blog/the-one-thing/revisiting-your-system-for-time-blocking/