I have two bad habits, and they’re kind of really bad. One is whenever I am riding a jeep/bus/fx that’s being driven by a reckless driver, I don’t go down. The second is when I get excess change, I don’t give it back. Whatt??!! Sorry. Ok let me talk about these two bad habits, and what I am doing to change.
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Gred Mckeown is not such a well-written book compared to the others on this list. However, this is the book that introduced me to the idea that “the undisciplined pursuit of more is a key reason for failure”, thus it is important to “distinguish the trivial many from the vital few”. I know, I know, I am sometimes proud of being a Renaissance woman, but after I read this book, I was able to free myself from a lot of unnecessary things that were bogging me down.
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg explains how habits are formed and how we can change them. I like that the book is filled with interesting scientific theories and case studies, but more than that, I love the book for being so well-written.
When I began working as an art reporter three years ago, the office gave me a flexible schedule. This meant that I was free to plan my days, but if I did overtime on weekdays and Sundays, I wasn’t compensated for it. As I said in The Time Management Matrix that Saved Me from 16-Hour Work Days, I was working 16-hours or more a day because I didn’t know how to manage my time. Aside from the tips in that post, what helped me was to make a weekly schedule with one-letter codes.
Planning the entire week helps me divide the amount of work that I need to do over the course of several days as opposed to cramming it all in one day. To save even more time, I decided that for certain recurring activities, I will not type up the whole word for it (ex: travel) and instead use a code (T). This is helpful as I don’t have to spend time spelling out the whole word again and again, and when I erase the entries for the next week, I only need to erase one letter instead of several.
So in my phone, I have a note for my schedule for the entire week ahead. The schedule is divided into days and each day is divided hours. If an activity only lasts for 30 minutes instead of an hour, I place two activities during the one hour period and separate them with a comma. You can see that in the 2-3 time period in the sample schedule below.
Mon Feb 1
3-4-[describe event that I’ll go to and venue where event will take place]
So what do those letters mean?
In the past, I used to have several to do lists. Some were in my old phone, some were in a note in my new phone, some were in the calendar of my new phone, others were written down on pieces of paper, some were in my computer. Guess what happened? Yup, disaster. To help me get organized, I narrowed it down to two masterlists of things to do on my new phone.
I knoooow. It’s a book for kids. But it is aweeeeesome. This is my first ever time management book, and ever since then I have always been obsessed about setting goals and working efficiently. How about you? Do you like reading time management books? What was your first one? Let me know through the comments section!
When I was just starting out as an art reporter, I was overwhelmed with the freedom and the responsibility of a flexible schedule. It was wonderful because I didn’t have to clock in and clock out, but if I worked longer than 8 hours a day, I wouldn’t be paid for overtime. The result was having work days that lasted 16-hours or more. Yes, you read that right, or more!
I wrote a lot of articles, more than what was necessary, many of which were not published because of the newspaper’s space constraints. I was able to go completely overboard with my work only because I wasn’t sleeping anymore, I didn’t have time for my friends and family, and I stopped myself from pursuing my other passions outside work. I was so miserable; I wanted to resign.
I realized that this way of working wasn’t sustainable, but I couldn’t imagine how I’d be able to change my situation. I spent around two years doing that, and I am surprised that my health did not collapse. Finally, I figured things out, and I started changing my ways. Many things helped me rehabilitate my life, and one of these things was reading 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey.