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9 Best Time Management tips for high-performers

Time management is critical to one’s professional success. If you want to master your time and optimize your TROI (Time Return On Investment), you are at the right place 😉

You will find here the best time-management tips from Brian Tracy, Tim Ferris, Dan Pink, as well as avant-garde neurological science.

1. Be (strategically) late

Sometimes, being late can be beneficial. Strange, uh ? Of course, you don’t want to overdo it as it could be interpreted as a lack of respect, but 1 minute is enough. Indeed, being 1 minute late makes people wait for you, which subconsciously puts them in a position where they want you more.

Of course, you need to be careful and adapt to :

  • The culture of the country you are in : being 5 minutes late could be a deal breaker with Japanese businessmen, but if you’re dealing with Malians for instance, it’s totally ok : when I was a trainer in Mali professionals were 1 hour late and that was perfectly normal. If I had known that before it would have saved me some time 😉
  • The individuals you are dealing with : some people are totally repelled by lateness, take that into consideration!

2. Spend more time for decision-making

Executing well a wrong decision will always make you lose more time than executing badly a right one. So allocating more time to the decision-making process is often a great TROI. I cover this aspect in more detail here.

3. Communicate more clearly

Trust me, communicating well saves time. Lots of time… Because a small miscommunication can have dreadful consequences down the road. So better safe than sorry : say exactly what you expect and don’t be afraid to state the obvious. After all, what is obvious to you might not be obvious to others.

But obviously, to communicate clearly you first need to…

4. Think clearly

Multi-tasking in the work environment, constant solicitations, and a “permanently connected to the world” lifestyle are not helping you to focus on the task at hand. As a result, you lose time. Ways to clear up your mind from all the clutter are :

  • Make room on your desk. Wipe out everything from sight but your computer.
  • Turn off your phone as much as possible, or put it in silent mode. Notifications or calls are wreaking havoc on your dopaminergic system and prevent you from entering “The Zone“.
  • Rebalance your levels of neurotransmitters to process faster, memorize better, think smarter. I explain how you can achieve that here.

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5. Have enough energy

It seems obvious that if you are tired you’re going to underperform as a result. What is less obvious is that most professionals are actually underperforming for that very reason, without even being aware of it.

When energy levels start to decline, we generally blame stress and its ugly partner in crime “burnout” – or plain “aging”.

There are a few workarounds to this problem :

  • Increase coffee dosage : this is the common response most people choose to resort to. Turns out it is ill-advised, as caffeine only masks tiredness (through the saturation of adenosine receptors), but is not really doing anything good for your body.
  • Review one’s nutrition and lifestyle. This is a much more appropriate response and it will really benefit you in the long-run.
  • Optimize your supplements routine : our modern-age diets are deprived from essential nutrients and loaded with toxins and heavy metals : our ancestors didn’t need to supplement, but again their herbs and spices were not contaminated with arsenic, cadmium and lead. As Elliot Overton states, “an extraordinary situation requires an extraordinary response”. So get magnesium (preferably in glycinate form), boron, vitamin K and K2, vitamin C (liposomal and sodium ascorbate are preferred), a methylated B vitamins complex, extra iodine and selenium, Ubiquinol / CoQ10 and resveratrol… You will see the difference!

6. Get regular breaks

According to science, too much work is counterproductive, and working less makes you actually work better.

Perfect! Now you can relax without guilt, knowing that this is the right thing to do. This is why I recommend you implement routines which will regenerate you both physically and mentally, such as :

  • Have a 20 minutes power nap after lunch : don’t overextend or your body will enter REM phase and you will feel drowsy upon waking up. If you want to feel super awake when getting out of the nap, gulp a coffee right before. Since caffeine takes from 20 to 45 minutes to metabolize, you will start feeling its effects upon waking up.
  • Practice the spoon auto-hypnosis exercise : this is ideal if you don’t even have 20 minutes to spare. This relaxation technique takes only 1-2 minutes and is damn effective. Hold a spoon or any metallic object in your hand, and simply focus on your breathing, gently breathing in and out, and sense each part of your body from head to toe, acknowledging the contact it makes with the chair, with your clothes, with your shoes… At some point you will feel so relaxed you will naturally drop the spoon in your hand, and the sound of it hitting the floor will tell you the self-hypnosis was a success! You can now move on with the rest of your day, feeling more relaxed and clear-minded.

7. Adapt to your circadian rythm

And not the other way round!

Every human being has a different biological clock. If you go to bed at the time which is right for you (versus the time society / your partner / your job dictates), you will feel more refreshed, more creative, and more productive.

To know more about your personal circadian rhythm, you can take the Horne-Ostberg Morning-Eveningness Questionnaire (MEQ) here.

Alternatively, you can track how you feel throughout the day with this form provided by Dan Pink.

8. Get out of your comfort zone… Now

Alternate versions :

  • Stop procrastinating, and…

As high performers, we are notorious for constantly questioning ourselves and practicing self-doubt. As such, it is easy to linger in our comfort zone, especially when a new task appears too daunting.

But postponing the execution of a task consumes a lot of brainpower, requires a lot of organization, and ultimately, it steals time from you.

Which is why you might want to “eat that frog!” as Brian Tracy says : do the task with the strongest emotional load first thing in the morning.

You will see, you will feel lighter afterwards.

Also, if you feel trouble getting a specific thing done, you might benefit from extra-motivation. In order to do that, you need to…

9. Increase your dopamine levels

Dopamine helps to motivate you throughout the day. The more motivated you are, the more effective you are, and the more time-efficient you get, tendentially.

This is why people usually rely on coffee or smoking… As these both increase dopamine levels in the brain.

Hello Dopamine!

But you can also achieve that with :

Good practices

  • Listen to music you like while doing a difficult task (preferably without lyrics, since lyrics has been shown the ability to capture up to 40% of brain capacity – free jazz is the best as it does not impact focus at all).
  • Follow a dopamine detox which includes restraining from :
    • processed sugar
    • social media
    • and any kind of immediate pleasure which doesn’t benefit you in the long-run

Supplementation

But you can achieve the same benefits as coffee drinkers and smokers the healthier way if you supplement the actual building block of dopamine :

  • Through raw cacao powder (which contains L-Phenylalanine, a precursor of L-tyrosine, which itself is a precursor of dopamine)
  • Or by directly supplementing the amino-acid L-tyrosine, which will be synthetized into dopamine even faster.

You will find more ways to sustainably increase your dopamine levels on my Complete Guide to Increase your Dopamine.

And you, what are your best tips to save time ? Tell us in the comments below !

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  1. Pingback:Time-management + hypnosis = uh? - Time Master Freedom

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