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What, ultimately, does it take to be successful in your chosen career?
There are many possible answers you might give to that question. Perhaps total years of experience are an important factor, and maybe it’s a particular skill such as the ability to communicate with people in an effective and courteous manner, without losing your temper or projecting your own opinions too strongly.
Perhaps having the right degree of education is very important — and maybe to reach the very pinnacle of your chosen career, you first need to pursue an online MBA program in finance.
Ultimately, though, there’s only one resource that every single career depends on — and which you can never win back once it’s lost. That resource is, of course, time.
Your ability to manage your time effectively and diligently is essential to your professional success. It’s no surprise that psychological research has found conscientiousness — essentially, discipline and orderliness — to be one of the best predictors of professional success.
Here are a few tips to help you manage your time in order to boost your professional success.
Plan your days in advance
To manage your time properly, you absolutely must plan your days out, to one degree or another. One highly effective and popular technique is called “time-blocking” and involves you determining, hour-by-hour, how you’re going to spend your day.
Daily to-do lists are another powerful tool when it comes to mastering your time.
Keep in mind, though, that doing this stuff “on the fly”, or “in the morning”, often doesn’t work, as it puts you too close to the action and gives you plenty of opportunity to talk yourself out of scheduling things as they should be scheduled.
Instead, always plan your days out the night before. That way, you can be more objective about things.
Of course, it should go without saying that once you’ve planned your day out, you actually need to stick to your plans, barring some emergency.
Look at your time-management in terms of sacrifices — what are you willing to sacrifice for professional development and success?
When it comes down to it, “time-management” is pretty much identical to the concept of “making sacrifices” in pursuit of a meaningful goal.
Think about it. When you force yourself to work right now instead of having a nap or watching TV, you’re sacrificing the pleasure of a nap or a TV program for something you deem more necessary, meaningful, or worthwhile.
If you struggle with time-management, ask yourself, “what am I willing to sacrifice for success? Am I willing to sacrifice 10 minutes of Facebook snooping?”
Use whatever tricks and tools are at your disposal to increase the “resistance” towards time wasting
Author and habit expert James Clear comments in his book, “Atomic Habits”, that avoiding bad habits is often largely a matter of creating enough resistance against them, through basic environmental structuring.
For better or for worse, humans will generally tend to follow the path of least resistance. So make time wasting the path of most resistance, instead.
How about setting a penalty so that whenever you visit YouTube during the working day, you have to pay a forfeit? Then how about adding a robust web blocker, too?
By working the resistance in this manner, you can radically improve your overall time-management skills.
By Robert Thompson, International Writer