Who knew learning how to do things one by one was such a hard thing to do?
I am not sure if it has anything to do with; my most recent discovery of being an INFJ, if there are just too many distractions in this world or if I am just naturally scattered brained.
I have too many interests, responsibilities, distractions.
The most difficult thing is learning how to balance my responsibilities toward work and family, when there has not been a clear boundary set between those.
A constant reminder to those struggling with is:
- Clean Your Desk
You want to clean the area where you spend the most time focusing. That area may be your desk, a room or even just a corner.
I find that cleaning my desk first and foremost puts me into a zone of clarity. The physical act of moving items to where they belong and organizing piles of paper all contribute to the act of decluttering.
That feeling of decluttering my physical space and my mind empowers and helps me to make room to create results.
- Organize & Outline
After cleaning my desk, I often open up notion or use a blank piece of paper to write out my tasks.
Because I have to juggle working with a partner who cannot turn off work mode even on my days off, immigrant parents that need paperwork to be taken care of, things that are urgently needed to be done for the business, and trying to study and learn about new topics and subjects, I find my brain cluttered or forgetful.
Personally, I found that using the pomodoro technique proved effective and efficient. Because I know how easily I get distracted, doing 4 sessions of 25 minutes helps me a lot.
I realized that I needed a little push from the pressure of time or a deadline to be more productive. Probably a good but a horrible thing.
Once I have listed all the things I have and want to complete for the day or week, I then start organizing them into quadrants.
- Learn to Prioritize
What has been helping me on my journey and search of improving my time management skills is categorizing my tasks into 4 quadrants. Stephen Covey talks about this in his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, but is also known as Eisenhower’s Time Management Matrix.
Quadrant 1 are the tasks that are urgent and need to be done right away.
Quadrant 2 is the planning phase. The place where you usually want to spend your time working on even when things are not urgent.
Quadrant 3 are not important, but urgent matters. Things that can be delegated.
Quadrant 4 is where you can track or see how much time you spend watching Netflix, Youtube, spend time on social media or play games. You generally want to stay away from that quadrant when things need to be done.
Then I am able to see which areas and tasks I need to focus on and complete urgently and those which I am able to put off for a bit.
- Deep Work & Pomodoro Technique
After organizing my disorganized life into a piece of paper and into quadrants, that is when I fall into what Cal Newport preaches deep work.
I also use the pomodoro technique here to help me minimize my personal distractions, such as looking at the notifications on my phone. It is so easy to get lost into my phone with instagram, dating apps, messaging, tiktok and so on.
Since the sessions last only 25 minutes with 5 minute breaks in between, it mentally helps me to push myself for a few minutes longer. And I found it more rewarding to work for my 5 minute breaks.
- Living Away from Home
A life hack that I found worked for me was physically removing myself from the space that created the most distractions for me. It definitely wasn’t easy deciding to leave my home and actually doing it.
When I had lived with my parents, I had found myself not really wanting to be home very often. I craved my personal space to experiment and to explore and try different things without my parent’s monitoring my every move, and me caving into their demands.
Then, moving out of my hometown helped me to eliminate my distractions I faced from my weaknesses of wanting to hang out with my friends all the time.
Though I only live 30 miles away from where I used to live, it is not as easy to go out and come back home without having to sacrifice hours of my time commuting. Because of that, it forced me to be more time efficient and also helped me with saying no.
- Small Habits
I couldn’t complete this post without mentioning James Clear’s Atomic Habits.
Before being able to cut my tasks into bite sized pieces, I had to teach myself to start small.
I had such a fixed mindset, I had the hardest time putting my thoughts and dreams into actions and reachable goals.
Start with a minute or 5 minutes a day.
Because of my scattered mind, I cannot seem to keep doing one task for longer than a few weeks at a time. However, it still created a new routine for me to follow with different habits.
You will reach a state of flow and that truly becomes addicting.
Over the years, I had countlessly seeked after self-help and productivity books.
But none of this mattered until I finally sat down, and decided to take action with my life.
I know, it’s cliche. But it was something I never understood how to do.
I still try to read and keep up with different books to help keep me motivated and help me to achieve my goals. But these are things I learned and hopefully, will help you too!