Time Management Tips – How to Boost Productivity Using Delay of Gratification

Time management tips teach you how to celebrate your potential. You create your life every day through your time choices, after all. And each constructive, disciplined time choice strengthens you and enhances your contentment. So building on the wisdom of The Road Less Traveled is an excellent base for your time choices.

Scott Peck’s first book, The Road Less Traveled, achieved worldwide prominence in 1983. Translated into 20 languages, with over 7 million copies sold, it stayed on the New York Times Best Seller List longer than any other paperback book, before or since.

It remains popular because it helps readers make tough choices to solve profound, often lifelong problems. And each of the 4 disciplines that Peck promotes can translate directly to time management strengths.

How would you like to successfully tackle the biggest problem in your life? You can make a strong start by utilizing the power of the first discipline discussed in The Road Less Traveled: delay of gratification. Which of the following attributes would move you forward?

5 Essential Strengths that Delay of Gratification Helps Build:

  1. Overcoming Procrastination

    When you put off what is difficult or unpleasant, the neglected tasks hang over you like a cloud, day after day. Overcoming this impulsive avoidance allows you to get what is objectionable or challenging out of the way first. You are then free to enjoy your remaining projects with clear conscience. The result? Heightened effectiveness and much more guilt-free time!

  2. Trust

    Follow-through requires that you stay the course in the face of challenges and distractions. As congruence develops between your plans and your actions, others trust you more, and you trust yourself more. This integrity attracts success in all aspects of your life.

  3. Problem-Solving Capabilities

    Scott Peck maintains, “You can solve any problem if you take the time.” As you delay gratification, you exercise the patience needed to consistently see problems through to their resolution. You will discover first-hand that the less you empower discomfort, the less ability it has to throw you off course. Now you can proceed from priorities to plans to productivity!

  4. Broadening Horizons

    This increased competence build confidence. Step by step, you can increase the scope of your thinking as you build a strong foundation of problem-solving skills. This in turn enhances your alertness, creating a gratifying spiral of success.

  5. Achievement of Long-Term Goals

    Your steadiness of purpose also enhances your ability to actualize far-ranging projects of increased complexity. Now you can launch projects that fulfill lifetime dreams, confident of your capacity to remain focused and productive. Just think of how much more excitement this will bring to your life!

“Failure Cannot Cope With Persistence”

This maxim from Napoleon Hill can serve as a supportive mantra. Or you may wish to create your own. In either case, affirm your boundless power to realize your goals through the constancy of your time choices.

Treat delay of gratification like a muscle you build. Start small, collect successes, and work your way up. The more consistently you exercise this muscle, the more strength and flexibility you manifest. Clearly visualize the achievement of your long-term goal. The satisfaction you experience will help make your chosen course more compelling than the current distraction. Expect to learn as you go, and extend both patience and compassion to yourself as you make this discipline your own.

Step by step, you will experience yourself as powerful, because constructive action will grow from your plan as surely as an oak emerges from an acorn.

Now, how will you enact the time choices that build your life?

Create a Successful Space: A Time and Place for Productivity

Do you have high priority activities that are not happening? Do you care about them getting done, but can’t seem to find the time? How you design your space will help to implement these tasks. Unfortunately, “important” activities for our business and life productivity are often ones that require personal discipline. Things like: reading, studying, research, administration, follow-up, writing, sorting, filing, billing, etc. While these activities are important, they often do not get attended to until they are urgent. When we find ourselves operating in the urgent quadrant, we usually get less done and feel stressed, pressured and overwhelmed. Operating from this place causes LOW productivity. With so many demands, how can you be more productive?

Productivity happens when we do what is important in a focused and efficient manner. In our Bible Study group, we discussed having “sacred” place for our daily quiet time. While this is something I HAVE done for my business and life, I had NOT done this for my personal Bible Study time. It had been an old intention that never happened. It compelled me to do this for myself and also review the importance that designed ENVIRONMENTS make. Designed spaces will improve your productivity.

What activity, when done regularly, will increase your overall productivity and results? Pick one that is IMPORTANT for you to accomplish but seems to get ½ done, put off, never gotten to or simply forgotten? Pick an activity that is the same and reoccurs. Reading. Phone calls. Study. Pick something that is important to do regularly and create a space that will be meaningful and beneficial.

Follow these 4 steps to design a productive environment to make it a reality.

1) WHY? Know why this is important to you and make it a routine (habit). Create a structure your body will instinctually remember and return too. When you pass the “spot” you will think, “Oh, I have to… ” When you sit there, you will move into autopilot and start performing the task. Your body posture can help your mind get and stay focused. If you sit down to return phone calls in a pile of papers, in front of your e-mails, looking at the dust on your desk, you will be hard pressed to stay focused on the IMPORTANT task you have set out to do.

2) WHERE? Pick a place that you will go each time you do this. Think about what kind of space you need to focus and accomplish the task. Do you need a writing surface, do you want to feel comfortable (sit on a couch or comfy spot), do you want to feel energized (sit by light or fresh air), do you need a phone or computer? Determine the best location for you to do this task where you can minimize distraction and stay focused.

3) WHAT? Gather your tools. What do you need to do this task? What will inspire you? What will you do? What props or prompts do you need? Things like a clock, coaster for your drink, motivation quote or photo, notebook (jot notes or list things that come into our mind as you are focusing), pen, books, phone, plant, etc. Put all your tools for this activity in this one place, so you don’t waste time gathering them or getting distracted on your way to do this. Leave the tools there so you can do the activity quickly, easily and effortlessly whenever you go to this place.

4) WHEN? Pick a consistent time to be in this place. If it is professional reading or study time, maybe it is at 7 AM each morning. Decide how long you will do it. Set a timer to keep yourself on track. You stay there until the beeper goes off. It is hard at first, but discipline yourself to honor this time for your important task and it will become a habit and reality.

When you have a routine, a place, time and system for this “productivity,” activity it is more likely to get accomplished. Other demands, crisis and urgencies of the day will not get in your way. A system that includes all aspects of your environment will guide, inspire and guard you against making it a desire and intention that never gets implemented. Take 10 minutes and set yours up today!

Time Management Tips – 5 Ways Introverts Can Supercharge Their Productivity

Time management tips are the ultimate energy tools. To select the right tools for your energy type, take the quiz below. If you discover you are an introvert, prepare to magnify your effectiveness by using time strategies designed to capitalize on your unique attributes.

According to Marti Olsen Lani, author of The Introvert Advantage, introvert strengths include independence, capacity to work well in one-to-one situations, ability to concentrate closely on tasks, creativity, and capacity to analyze systems.

If you are introverted, your experience of time may differ dramatically from that of your extroverted colleagues. So apply your creativity and originality to making the most of time in ways that celebrate your uniqueness.

Quiz: Do You Possess an Introvert Time and Energy Temperament?

___ T/F: I think through what I need to say before speaking.

___ T/F: When working with others, I can run out of energy with no warning.

___ T/F: My creativity is fueled through solitude.

If you answer these questions with “True”, then the 5 tips in this article apply directly to you. Briefly stated, your introvert strength multiplies when you remove distractions and look inward. At the same time, you need to protect your energy in situations that extroverts find regenerating.

5 Ways Introverts Can Supercharge Their Productivity

  1. Estimate your “battery life” for group interchanges and plan accordingly.

    How long can you engage at top capacity in a large group situation? Plan how you can obtain ‘time outs’ to recharge your internal batteries before walking into challenging situations. (Introverts can find it difficult to monitor and safeguard their reserves while absorbed in demanding interchanges.) Your exit strategies may include volunteering for tasks that temporarily remove you from the fray, or that allow you to record rather than directly engage in interactions.

  2. Schedule private time between group activities whenever possible.

    Restorative sips of time are an excellent investment in your effectiveness. If a relaxed, solitary interlude is not possible, consider taking small breaks of five to ten minutes between meetings, if only to make photocopies or fetch supplies. While on your own, conduct a quick body scan and progressively relax tense muscles, while taking a few deep breaths.

  3. Structure collaborations as one-on-one interchanges whenever possible.

    Identify which individuals you work with most easily, and ask if they would be willing to serve as point persons to report findings to groups. Volunteer to cover responsibilities you find less taxing, in return. When you must discuss issues within a group, explore the possibilities of teleconferencing. This reduces the intensity of stimulus you are exposed to.

  4. Know your “solitary strengths” and capitalize on them.

    Invest your time in your areas of personal strength. The more detailed your understanding of how you can best contribute to group endeavors, the more capably you can engage in ways that don’t drain you.

  5. Commit to checking in as regularly as needed through email and notes.

    You can send memos with your comments and suggestions after meetings. Remember, your extroverted colleagues may feel stranded if you withdraw without providing a context.

Comprehension fuels creativity, so always be on the lookout for new possibilities as you explore your unique relationship with time.

So now, ask yourself: How can you customize your time use today to jump-start your personal productivity?