ThinkBuildLive Success blog

Empowering You to Reach Your Full Potential

Effective Time Management

With school, work, family, and an active social life, it’s easy to be moving so quickly we don’t know where we’re going.  Effective time management is all about slowing down and getting organized upfront, so we can then work more efficiently and with a sense of purpose.

As recommended in Book 1: Building a Foundation, try making a list of all the obligations on your plate. Also note how long you expect it to take; be realistic and include travel time in your estimate. Next, rank each item as:

  • Immediate — anything with an upcoming deadline
  • Essential – an ongoing activity or flexible deadline
  • Optional – leisure activities

You’ve just prioritized your to-do list! Starting with the items labeled “Immediate,” begin to enter each item into your planner. Consider writing detailed instructions that include any information you’ll need for the task (i.e. phone number, web address).  That way, when the time comes, you’ve already thought it through and can simply get it done.

Lastly, no matter how squeezed for time you may feel, it’s important to make time for fun, community, and rest. Working too hard can cause us to fall ill, feel isolated, or become depressed. It’s okay to skimp on exercise or sleep for a day or two when necessary, but remember that both will actually make us more effective. So spend five minutes laughing at a video on the internet, take a nap, or call a friend and go out for a job. Sometimes the world can wait.

NOTE: My mother gave me a good piece of advice a while ago: as soon as you think of something you need to do, either do it right away-if you can-or write it down. Then, one less thing to remember or put in your day planner!

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What Doesn’t Work: Defining Ourselves Only According to Our Perceived Shortcomings or Imperfections

Why? We end up living according to these self-imposed limitations and never realize our full potential.

 Living the Label: Learning Disabilities

We all have things about ourselves that we don’t like. The problem comes when we give those things all of our attention and allow them to create our self-definition. Defining ourselves by our learning disabilities rather than our strengths gives the shortcomings all the power. If, for instance, we have trouble motivating ourselves to do school or other work, and label ourselves “lazy” as a result, we are most likely going to approach life as a “lazy” person would.  As a “lazy” person, we likely won’t put forth the necessary effort to accomplish what we need to. That gives our judgment the power to limit us. Likewise, if we struggle with our schoolwork, and tell ourselves it’s because we’re “dumb,” we are not likely to seek out ways to improve academically. In this way, our judgment hinders our success, and acts as an obstacle or excuse for us not doing our best.

These kinds of judgments are value judgments, because they are making a statement about our value as people (a “dumb” or “lazy” person does not likely have as great a value in our minds as someone who is “smart” or productive for instance). When we feel less valuable, we are less inclined to help and encourage ourselves. This typically results in stagnation (being stuck), because of course we aren’t going to put in the time and effort it takes to succeed if we don’t believe we are worth it.

Learning disabilities stay with us for life. This does not mean, however, that we need to give them the power to define us or determine the direction of our lives. Just as with our value judgments, it is up to us how we choose to see ourselves and envision our future.

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