- 1. Top Tips for Improving Time Management I had a big project deadline last week and it got me wondering about time management. The general advice about time management focuses on improving it through direct action. The top tips Ive found are: Audit how you spend your time Review the data your collect critically Consider the balance of how you spend your time between the urgent and the important Think about applying the Pareto Principle - how you time would look if you prioritised the 20% of your activity that leads to 80% of your output Look at how to best manage emails Brainstorm how you could get uninterrupted time for work Develop a realistic action plan setting out small steps to help you make improvements I know these help - Ive used them myself - but last week when I felt under pressure I instinctively went out for a walk for 10 minutes. In the rain! It really helped me power through the work. Later on I thought to myself: interesting, I wouldnt have done that in the past. So it got me wondering about whats missing from the conventional time management advice. I had a little look at positive psychology and found an interesting TEDx talk by Shawn Anchor - The Happy Secret to Better Work (2012) Anchor says, in a very witty talk, that external reality doesnt predict happiness, our perception of it does. He says that as we push ourselves, our children and our colleagues for more achievements - qualifications, jobs or targets - we push happiness out of reach over the cognitive horizon. He says we have the wrong approach and actually we achieve more through
2. better brain function. If we raise our positivity in the present we release dopamine, which turns on the learning centres in the brain and gives us the happiness advantage. Anchor says we can train our brains to more positive with 5 actions for 21 consecutive days: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.3 new gratitudes Journaling 1 positive experience from the last 24 hours Exercising, which teaches our brain that our behaviour matters Meditate, which helps us focus on the task in hand Random acts of kindnessThis leads me to the conclusion that theres a rather different approach to improving time management. Conventional top tips play a part but the key thing we need to do is to give ourselves the happiness advantage!