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Home » The Tony Robbins Blog » Productivity & Performance » How to manage your life

How to manage your life

5 life management skills you need to know right now.

personal life management assignments

What is life management ?

Life management is the ability to handle everything you need to in order to live a productive, happy and fulfilling life. It’s closely related to time management, but it goes way beyond making to-do lists and filling out your day planner. Remember: Being busy is not the same thing as being productive. Life management is about transforming your mindset so you can handle stress , master your emotions and take control of your life. Life management skills include everything from creating healthy habits to learning how to delegate to setting SMART goals so that you can measure your progress.

Why is life management important?

Life management allows you to be more productive , do more with less time and accomplish your goals. Good life management means you not only accomplish the basics – eating healthy, exercise, self-care – but also create the space to be an excellent friend, an extraordinary partner and an attentive parent. It allows you to step out of “the hustle” and into a real enjoyment of life.  

How can I better manage my life?

Most people think of life management in the wrong order: They start with their daily to-do list and attempt to cram everything they need to do into the time they have. But you actually need to flip that on its head. As Tony says, “You can’t have a plan for your day until you have a plan for your life.” Start with your end goals, work backwards and better life management will follow.

If you find yourself achieving things, checking them off your to-do list and still wondering, “Is this all there is?” then it’s time to change your approach by integrating these powerful life management skills into your life.

better life management

1. Find purpose

What do you want from your life? What is your ultimate outcome? The answer isn’t buying a nice car or fancy house. Your true goal is something deeper and the life management skills you cultivate need to reflect that. What objective, when you think about it, brings you a sense of joy, fun and freedom? What does it mean to you to unlock an extraordinary life ? That’s what you’re working for. It could be providing for your family or being the best in your field, but it isn’t about material things.

All too often you lose sight of your end goal when thinking about what you want to achieve. This results in creating meaningless to-do lists , not better life management . You get swept up in the short-term tasks you’ve listed instead of pursuing your higher purpose. The more clarity you have regarding your end goal, the more likely you are to achieve it. Once you know what you really want, you start making progress to achieve it.

With a clear vision in mind, you can use life management services such as a Massive Action Plan to determine your actions with purpose and make true progress toward your goals. As Tony Robbins says, “One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.” Decide to become a master of your life. Take control of your time and make your actions count.

2. Rely on chunking

You’re not failing at reaching your goals because you’re incapable of success — you’re failing because you’re focusing on too many things at once. Changing the way you think about your goals is one of the life management skills that will help you focus. Don’t think about the things that you need to do to achieve your goal — think about and visualize the outcome .

Say your goal is learning how to cook. You’re dreading going to the grocery store, finding recipes, purchasing kitchen appliances and cleaning up the mess at the end of the ordeal. Instead of focusing on your desirable outcome — becoming an amazing cook — you’re caught up in all the intimidating details.

Now think of something you already know how to do really well, like working out. You know you need to drive to the gym, then exercise when you get there. These two manageable tasks seem much easier than the many steps it takes to learn a new skill because you’ve done it many times before. But in reality, cooking and going to the gym aren’t that different in terms of difficulty — you’re just thinking about them in a completely different way.

If you change your mindset and think about the outcome instead of the steps to get there, you’re more likely to pursue your goal. Chunking is the understanding that when you’re first learning a new skill, like cooking, it can feel like you’re doing 100 things. But after working on your skills in the kitchen enough, it becomes a couple of manageable tasks — going to the store and cooking.

Once you master this skill, you can chunk activities with similar outcomes together. Empower yourself to get things done by grouping together information into manageable-size chunks that you can use effectively to achieve your goals.

life management

3. Utilize N.E.T. time

One of the important steps to achieving any goal is to continue learning at every opportunity. However, it can be difficult to access the books, podcasts and videos that will further your knowledge when you feel like there’s no time left in the day. Feeding your mind during downtime will take your expertise to a new level.

This is where life management skills like utilizing N.E.T. time come in. N.E.T. stands for “No Extra Time” and it’s based on the concept that you always have time during your day that you can fill with learning. This could mean listening to a podcast during your morning commute or an audiobook while you’re shopping for groceries or reading a book while you wait for an appointment. 

4. Spend time on relationships

Better life management is not all about achieving peak physical health and getting ahead at work. It’s also essential to take time every day to cultivate relationships with those you love. Planning for date nights and opportunities for deeper connection is crucial to creating a healthy relationship with your partner. Reserving time to play with, read to and talk to your kids about their day is vital to developing bonds with your children. Don’t view the time you take to relax and connect as wasted time. Instead, see it as an important life management component that adds to your overall well-being.

5. Learn how to communicate better

How often do you lose valuable time at work or at home because of a miscommunication? Maybe a project needs to be redone because the objectives weren’t clearly communicated or you and your partner took the afternoon off work to handle a plumbing issue at home because you didn’t effectively communicate who would take care of it. Communicating with your partner and your team at the office leads to better relationships and streamlined schedules. Learn the communication styles of those you frequently interact with and understand that life management becomes easier when you slow down and take the time to truly listen.

Life management resources

Life management concepts can be very useful, but sometimes you need concrete resources to help you effectively manage the hours in the day. These life management resources can help. 

Rapid Planning Method

There’s no reason why you need to dive into life management on your own. There are many of tools out there to help you create the life you’ve always wanted. Once you know what you want and why you want it, it’s time to seek out valuable resources, like Tony Robbins’ Rapid Planning Method (RPM) . You now know the essential components of RPM that were discussed above, as you’ve identified your purpose and can utilize chunking to develop your Massive Action Plan. Adhering to the Rapid Planning Method means knowing what you want, identifying why you want it and mapping out what actions you’ll take to accomplish it.

The Time of Your Life

Making time for what matters most in life – family, friends, giving back and finding fulfillment – starts with identifying the purpose behind every action you take. With The Time of Your Life , you’ll discover the “why” behind your larger goals and then learn how to connect that purpose to your daily responsibilities so you can finally get all your tasks done. This 10-day program uses the Rapid Planning Method to show you how to stop focusing on what you have to do, and start focusing on what you want to achieve.

If you’re struggling with how to manage things in life , it may be time to reach out for extra help. Working with a life or business coach will help you learn more about yourself and your goals and develop valuable skills to get where you truly want to go. A coach provides accountability and insight – two things you need to achieve growth.

Ultimate Edge

ultimate edge

Ready to take your life to a level you never dreamed of? The next step is using life management services from Tony Robbins. Ultimate Edge is a program that offers proven tools to discover what you want most in life in order to overcome the obstacles that are holding you back and take charge of your own life.

It’s time to throw away your to-do list and embrace change. As Tony Robbins says, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” With a clear vision, and powerful life management resources under your belt, you’ll be one major step closer to maximizing your time and reaching your ultimate goals.

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10 Personal Management Skills and How to Develop Them

personal management skills

  • Updated January 25, 2024
  • Published October 6, 2023

Are you looking to learn more about Personal Management skills? In this article, we discuss Personal Management skills in more detail and give you tips about how you can develop and improve them.

What are Personal Management Skills?

Personal management skills, also known as self-management skills or self-control skills, refer to a set of abilities and behaviors that allow individuals to effectively manage themselves, their time, and their resources to achieve personal and professional goals. These skills are crucial for personal development, productivity, and success in various aspects of life. Here are some key personal management skills:

Time Management

Goal setting, organization.

  • Prioritization


  • Stress Management
  • Adaptability


  • Proactive Planning
  • Communication
  • Accountability
  • Personal Growth


  • Problem-Solving
  • Financial Management

Developing and honing these personal management skills can lead to greater productivity, improved work-life balance, enhanced well-being, and increased success in various aspects of life. These skills are not only valuable in personal life but are also highly sought after by employers in the professional world.

Top 10 Personal Management Skills

Below we discuss the top 10 Personal Management skills. Each skill is discussed in more detail, and we will also give you tips on how you can improve them.

Time management in a professional setting refers to the efficient allocation of time to prioritize tasks, meet deadlines, and achieve goals. It encompasses skills such as setting clear objectives, prioritizing, and maintaining focus. Improving time management skills is essential for professionals to enhance productivity and reduce stress.

How to Improve Time Management

To excel in time management, professionals can employ various strategies. For instance, they can employ the “Pareto Principle,” focusing on the 20% of tasks that yield 80% of the results. In meetings, active listening and concise communication can save time and improve understanding. Additionally, tools like calendar apps and to-do lists can aid in scheduling and tracking tasks, helping professionals optimize their work hours effectively.

In a corporate environment, effective time management can mean the difference between meeting project deadlines and experiencing delays. For example, a project manager can use time management techniques to create a project timeline, allocate resources efficiently, and ensure that team members meet critical milestones. In sales, a well-organized salesperson can allocate time for prospecting, follow-ups, and client meetings, ultimately increasing sales revenue. Time management also allows professionals to allocate time for skill development, staying competitive in their industry.

Goal setting is a vital personal management skill in a professional setting, involving defining specific, achievable objectives to guide one’s work. This skill encompasses clarity, ambition, and planning, driving professionals toward success.

How to Improve Goal Setting

To enhance goal-setting abilities, professionals can employ techniques like SMART goals—specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. In sales, a representative might set a SMART goal of increasing monthly sales by 10% through targeted outreach. Project managers can set goals by breaking down larger objectives into smaller, manageable tasks, ensuring project milestones are met on time. Such structured goal-setting enables professionals to align their efforts and resources effectively.

In a corporate environment, goal setting ensures that organizations and teams have a clear direction. Leaders can set strategic goals to guide the company’s growth and development. For instance, a CEO might set a goal of expanding into new international markets within the next two years.

This clear objective allows the entire organization to work cohesively toward the same vision. Similarly, team leaders can set team-specific goals, such as improving customer satisfaction scores by streamlining customer support processes. Effective goal setting fosters motivation enhances accountability and boosts overall professional performance.

Organization, in a professional context, refers to the ability to structure tasks, information, and resources in a systematic and efficient manner to enhance productivity and achieve goals. This skill encompasses various aspects, including time organization, data management, and workspace organization, all of which contribute to maintaining order and reducing stress in the workplace.

How to Improve Organization

To improve organizational skills, professionals can implement practical strategies. For example, a project manager can utilize project management software to track tasks, timelines, and resources. This ensures that the project progresses smoothly and that team members are well-informed about their responsibilities. In the realm of data management, professionals can develop filing systems and naming conventions that make it easy to locate and retrieve important documents, preventing valuable information from getting lost in digital clutter.

In a corporate environment, effective organization plays a pivotal role in achieving efficiency and meeting objectives. For instance, a supply chain manager can optimize inventory management, reducing carrying costs and ensuring that products are available when needed.

Similarly, a human resources manager can streamline the recruitment process by implementing an applicant tracking system, making it easier to identify suitable candidates and facilitate interviews. Organizational skills are essential for maintaining a structured and harmonious work environment, where employees can focus on their tasks without being overwhelmed by chaos or disorganization.

Self-discipline in a professional setting refers to the ability to control impulses, stay focused on tasks, and resist distractions or temptations that may hinder productivity and progress. It involves cultivating a strong sense of responsibility and commitment to one’s work and goals, even when faced with challenging circumstances or external distractions.

How to Improve Self-Discipline

To enhance self-discipline in a professional setting, individuals can employ several practical strategies. For instance, a remote worker can create a dedicated workspace free from distractions and set specific work hours to maintain a structured routine. This helps in minimizing interruptions and ensuring that work tasks are completed efficiently. In sales, a self-disciplined salesperson can follow a predetermined daily call schedule, consistently reaching out to potential clients, even when faced with rejection. This perseverance often leads to increased sales over time.

In a corporate environment, self-discipline is crucial for both individual employees and teams. For example, a project team must adhere to project timelines and milestones, requiring each member to exercise self-discipline in meeting their deadlines and responsibilities. Furthermore, self-discipline is essential for adhering to company policies, ethical standards, and codes of conduct, which are vital for maintaining a positive and professional work culture. Developing and improving self-discipline skills enables professionals to stay on track, meet their objectives, and contribute to the overall success of the organization.

Stress management in a professional setting involves the ability to cope with and effectively reduce stress to maintain mental and emotional well-being. It encompasses various skills and strategies to mitigate workplace stressors and maintain a productive and balanced professional life.

How to Improve Stress Management

To improve stress management skills, professionals can employ practical techniques. For instance, in a high-pressure job like project management, setting realistic expectations and timelines can help prevent stress from mounting due to unrealistic goals. Moreover, regular breaks and mindfulness practices can be incorporated into the workday to alleviate stress and boost concentration. In customer service roles, active listening and empathetic communication with frustrated customers can reduce tension, contributing to a more positive customer experience and lower workplace stress levels.

In a corporate environment, stress management is critical for individual performance and overall workplace harmony. Team leaders can implement stress-reduction initiatives such as providing access to stress management workshops or offering flexible work arrangements to help employees better balance their professional and personal lives.

Company-wide initiatives, like promoting a culture of work-life balance, can create a less stressful work environment, leading to increased employee satisfaction and retention. Effective stress management skills not only benefit employees but also contribute to a healthier and more productive workplace overall.

Decision-making in a professional setting involves the process of selecting the best course of action from available alternatives to achieve specific objectives or address challenges. Effective decision-making is a critical personal management skill for professionals, as it directly impacts the success and outcomes of projects, tasks, and overall career advancement.

How to Improve Decision-Making

Improving decision-making skills requires the development of techniques such as gathering relevant information, analyzing data, and considering the potential consequences of each choice. In a managerial role, for instance, a leader may need to make project resource allocation decisions.

By actively researching and weighing various options’ costs, benefits, and risks, they can make informed decisions that align with the organization’s goals. Similarly, in the field of finance, investment professionals must make decisions about portfolio management. Utilizing quantitative analysis and market research, they can make decisions that optimize investment returns while managing risks effectively.

Within a corporate context, decision-making skills are crucial at various levels, from individual employees choosing the most suitable approach to complete tasks to executives making strategic decisions that affect the entire organization. Effective decision-making can increase efficiency, reduce risks, and enhance competitiveness.

Professionals can actively contribute in meetings by providing well-reasoned input and supporting their recommendations with data and analysis, ensuring that decisions align with the company’s objectives and long-term vision. Developing and refining decision-making skills is a continuous process that can significantly impact career growth and professional success.

Problem-solving in a professional setting refers to the ability to identify, analyze, and effectively resolve challenges and obstacles that arise in the workplace. It encompasses a range of skills, including critical thinking, creativity, and decision-making, to find practical solutions to complex problems.

How to Improve Problem-Solving

To improve problem-solving skills, professionals can adopt a systematic approach. For instance, in the field of IT, a network administrator may encounter connectivity issues affecting an entire department. Active problem-solving involves diagnosing the problem, isolating potential causes, and promptly testing solutions to restore network functionality.

In project management, when facing scope changes that impact project timelines, professionals can employ problem-solving techniques such as risk assessment and change management to adapt to new circumstances while minimizing disruptions.

In a corporate environment, effective problem-solving is essential for achieving business objectives and maintaining operational efficiency. Teams can collaborate to brainstorm solutions to common challenges, like improving customer service processes or streamlining inventory management. By encouraging a culture of proactive problem-solving, organizations foster innovation and resilience in the face of unexpected hurdles. Professionals who excel in problem-solving contribute significantly to their team’s success, and these skills are highly valued in various industries and roles.

In a professional setting, communication is the ability to convey information, ideas, and messages effectively to colleagues, superiors, clients, and other stakeholders. Strong communication skills encompass various facets, including active listening, clear and concise expression of thoughts, non-verbal communication, and adaptability to different audiences and situations.

How to Improve Communication

To enhance communication skills, professionals can focus on active listening, where they pay full attention to others during conversations, ask clarifying questions, and provide constructive feedback. In sales, for example, active listening helps sales representatives better understand customer needs and concerns, allowing them to tailor their pitch and build rapport.

Additionally, professionals can refine their written communication skills for emails, reports, and presentations. Effective written communication ensures that instructions and expectations are clear in a managerial role, reducing the risk of misunderstandings among team members.

Within the corporate environment, effective communication is a cornerstone of successful teamwork, project management, and client relationships. In project management, team leaders must clearly articulate project goals, expectations, and timelines to ensure all members are aligned.

Moreover, organizations can invest in communication training programs to foster a culture of open and transparent communication, leading to improved collaboration, problem-solving, and overall productivity. Professionals who excel in communication contribute significantly to their team’s cohesion and success, making it a critical skill across industries and roles.

In a professional setting, adaptability refers to the capacity to adjust to changing circumstances, environments, and demands flexibly and resiliently. This personal management skill includes embracing change, learning from experiences, and proactively modifying strategies and approaches as needed to effectively navigate evolving situations.

How to Improve Adaptability

Improving adaptability skills can be accomplished by developing a growth mindset, which encourages individuals to view challenges as opportunities for learning and growth. For instance, software developers frequently encounter changing programming languages and tools in the technology sector. Those who embrace adaptability are more likely to thrive by continuously learning and adapting to new technologies.

Moreover, professionals can enhance their adaptability by seeking feedback and actively listening to the perspectives of colleagues and mentors. In a marketing role, for example, being open to feedback from team members and adjusting marketing strategies based on consumer trends and market fluctuations can lead to more effective campaigns.

Adaptability is crucial for responding to market shifts, technological advancements, and unexpected disruptions within a corporate context. Encouraging an organizational culture that values adaptability fosters innovation and the ability to pivot when necessary, positioning the company for success in an ever-changing business landscape. Professionals who excel in adaptability contribute to their career advancement and play a pivotal role in helping their organizations thrive in dynamic markets.

In a professional setting, self-awareness refers to the ability to recognize and understand one’s own emotions, strengths, weaknesses, values, and motivations. This crucial personal management skill involves introspection and a deep understanding of how one’s thoughts and feelings can impact their behavior and interactions with others. Self-aware individuals are better equipped to make informed decisions, work effectively in teams, and continually grow and develop in their careers.

How to Improve Self-Awareness

To improve self-awareness, professionals can engage in self-reflection and self-assessment exercises. For example, during a performance review, an employee can take time to reflect on their achievements, areas needing improvement, and personal career goals. This self-awareness can help guide discussions with supervisors and lead to a more constructive performance development plan.

Additionally, seeking feedback from peers and mentors can provide valuable insights into one’s professional strengths and areas for growth. In a leadership role, understanding one’s leadership style and how it impacts team dynamics is essential for effective management.

Within a corporate environment, self-awareness is a fundamental skill for leadership, conflict resolution, and team collaboration. Leaders who are self-aware can adapt their leadership style to suit the needs of their team members, fostering a positive work culture and improved employee morale.

In team settings, self-awareness enables individuals to recognize and manage their own emotions, reducing conflicts and enhancing cooperation. By fostering self-awareness across the organization, companies can create a culture of personal growth, resilience, and adaptability, ultimately leading to greater success and employee satisfaction. Professionals who prioritize and develop self-awareness skills can excel in their roles and contribute to a more harmonious and productive workplace.

Personal Management Skills Conclusion

In conclusion, personal management skills are the building blocks of professional success and personal growth. Whether you are striving to climb the corporate ladder, excel in your current role, or simply lead a more fulfilling life, honing these skills is essential.

The ability to manage your time effectively, set and achieve meaningful goals, stay organized, exercise self-discipline, manage stress, make sound decisions, and communicate clearly can significantly impact your career trajectory and overall well-being.

To improve these skills, the tips and strategies provided in this article offer valuable guidance. By actively applying these techniques in a professional setting, you can enhance your productivity, work-life balance, and job satisfaction.

Moreover, the development of personal management skills not only benefits you as an individual but also contributes to a more productive and harmonious workplace, making you a valuable asset to your organization. In the ever-evolving landscape of the professional world, investing in the cultivation of these skills is a strategic move that can lead to continued growth and success.

Related posts:

  • 10 Relationship Management Skills and How to Develop Them
  • 10 Customer Relationship Management Skills and How to Develop Them

10 Financial Management Skills and How to Develop Them

  • 10 Life Skills Coach Skills and How to Develop Them
  • 10 Quantitative Skills and How to Develop Them

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Life management: a holistic approach to make the most of your life

Dr. Hannah Rose

If you are interested in personal development, you are most likely familiar with a variety of methods to effectively manage your time, energy, relationships, and career. These tools are designed to get the most out of each part of your life. But when you are blinkered into looking at each area in isolation, you might lose sight of the bigger picture: your life in its entirety.

Your life is not a list. Rather than managing each aspect of your life separately, life management is about integrating all the moving parts of your life. In contrast to traditional task management, this holistic approach provides the foundations for a more creative, productive, happy life.

A spectrum of philosophies

There is great variation in the way people approach structuring their lives, with different approaches to planning, goal setting and decision making. At the extreme ends of the spectrum, there are two common approaches to living one’s life.

The first approach is to live for today. As Małgorzata Sobol from the Faculty of Psychology at the University of Warsaw puts it , people in this category “prefer what is current to what has already happened or what will occur. These people can be characterized as present time oriented.” While this attitude can be hedonistic (focusing on pleasures and neglecting the past and the future) or fatalistic (enduring the present with resignation), a carpe diem attitude can also be positive: being fully present in the “here and now” and being conscious of the value of each moment of life.

At the other end of the spectrum, we find the extreme planners, where meticulous control and extensive consideration of one’s life’s direction are thought to be the best ways to ensure success and overall well-being. This approach is more prevalent than you may think. In an article about life management, researchers note the “recent trend of hiring personal planners for everything from weddings to vacations and the large inventory of day planners in office supply and computer stores” — all proof of the widespread desire to better control our future.

But this desire for control can result in a mechanical approach to life, where everything is a list and each event is carefully planned; where each goal becomes a tick box exercise. This over-controlling and scattered approach can leave you feeling stressed, demotivated, burnt out, or even cause you to feel like a failure. In contrast, life management is about acknowledging the many facets of life, while seeing them as part of a whole.

The three pillars of life management

Professor Alexandra Freund, a developmental psychologist from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, identified three central aspects of life management. These three approaches are complementary: they should all be used in combination throughout your lifetime.

Life management pillars

  • Personal goals. Instead of creating multiple to-do lists, consider your life as a whole. By acknowledging that you are more than the sum of your parts, you can work on what researchers call intergoal facilitation. These are goals that overlap to increase the chance of both goals being achieved. As an example, joining a running club could increase your fitness and help you to meet new people.
  • Self-regulation. Once you have selected your integrated goals (selection), you need to understand and manage your reactions to events happening around you. This self-regulation process involves practising new skills or seizing the right moment (optimisation), and finding ways to overcome obstacles to success (compensation).
  • Age-related expectations. Finally, you may need to adjust your goals based on the phase of your life. Having the goal to buy a house right after graduating university would be impossible for most people, and would make life unnecessarily stressful. Having children is a goal many people decide to delay, or even forego completely. Consider your current context and priorities, and adjust your goals accordingly.

With practice, these three approaches can be used in combination to improve your wellbeing, productivity, and sense of achievement.

Practicing life management skills

Holistic life management is never “done and dusted” — it’s a constant work in progress of selecting integrated goals, regulating our reactions, and adjusting our expectations. Lifelong learning and the willingness to explore, make mistakes, and adapt are all essential skills to make the most of your life.

Let’s take the case of personal goals. Identifying your goals requires self-regulation as well as evaluating your age-related expectations. For instance, although external pressure might lead you to believe that you want to purchase a house, what you might truly want is security, which can be achieved in many other ways.

Now, consider your social life. Nurturing relationships is a great example of intergoal facilitation, as it can improve your wellbeing while building a support network that will increase your chance of meeting your personal goals.

There are many ways you can inject more intergoal facilitation into your life. Cycle to work rather than trying to fit in time at the gym, or listen to an audiobook when out for a run. Knitting, reading, or watching a film can be accomplished on the tube or bus. Always carry a novel with you; if you are unexpectedly waiting for any length of time, you can enjoy some unexpected downtime.

Practising these life management skills not only increases the time available to you, but can also increase the likelihood of you achieving your goals. Shift your focus from separate tasks to practice intergoal facilitation and visualise your life goals as being part of one overall outcome. This will give you the insight you need to ensure you are truly working towards what you want to achieve in life.

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The UK Faculty of Public Health has recently taken ownership of the Health Knowledge resource. This new, advert-free website is still under development and there may be some issues accessing content. Additionally, the content has not been audited or verified by the Faculty of Public Health as part of an ongoing quality assurance process and as such certain material included maybe out of date. If you have any concerns regarding content you should seek to independently verify this.

Personal management skills (e.g. Managing: time, stress, difficult people, meetings)

Understanding individuals: personal management skills.

This section covers: 

Personal management skills

The effective manager

To be an effective manager, an individual needs to be able to manage themselves as well as knowing how to manage others

Stress and time management are both key to effective management of oneself. The time management matrix is a useful tool to allow prioritisation of individual workload:

Quadrant 1 relates to things that are important and need to be done there and now, while quadrant 2 relates to important things which need strategic planning and development in the long term, but are often given little consideration. Essentially where time is short, important things in these two quadrants should be prioritised.

Quadrant 3 covers those things that are often prioritised because of their urgency even if they are not important, while quadrant 4 relates to those things that do not really need doing.

Good time management can help reduce stress, but the following also help with the latter:

  • Being aware of and recognising the symptoms of stress in oneself and others
  • Understanding the causative factors
  • Applying means to prevent, avoid and reduce stress

'In contemporary health services, there is undoubtedly a great deal of pressure on those in management positions. This pressure comes mainly from having to cope with considerable changes both internally and in the external environment. These changes are to do with the consumers of the services; with the changing demands of the professionals who operate the services as well as central policy and significant structural changes.' (Stewart, 'Leading in the NHS : A Practical Guide')

The aim of this Section is to introduce the concept of management in the health and social care professions in the context of today's fast-changing health and social care environments, present various concepts and theories designed to help you understand, clarify and explain issues in your own work situation and those of others.

Before we proceed to explore some of the key literature on managers and management it is worth considering how the environments in which managers operate have changed over the last 5 -10 years or so.

It is important to look at principles of leadership and delegation to consider the differences and overlaps between management and leadership.


Collins Concise Dictionary defines a 'manager' as 'a person who directs or manages an organisation, industry, shop …… '

But this is hardly sufficient for our purpose. We need greater depth and detail.

In management books the manager's task has traditionally been expressed as 'maximising the use of resources to meet the aims and objectives of the organisation in the light of the (competing) environment that it operates in.'

A more detailed traditional text-book view of managers and the work they perform would probably read something like this:

A manager is the person responsible for planning and directing the work of a group of individuals, monitoring their work, and taking corrective action when necessary. Managers may direct workers directly or they may direct several other managers and/or supervisors who direct the workers. The manager must be familiar with the work of all the groups he/she supervises, but does not need to be the best in any or all of the areas. It is more important for the manager to know how to manage the workers than to know how to do their work well.

But the recent transition toward high performance customer/consumer/patient focused work teams and the introduction of multi-agency partnerships is resulting in significant changes to the manager's role. Today's managers must be able to adapt to change; provide vision, principles, and boundary conditions, align people toward a purpose; set direction and strategy. As teams and partnership-working take on more and more responsibility, the manager's focus shifts from controlling and problem solving to motivating and inspiring.

For a wider view on managers and management let's look at what management gurus Peter Drucker and Charles Handy have to say:

Drucker tells us:

'Management means, in the last analysis, the substitution of thought for brawn and muscle, of knowledge for folkways and superstition, and of cooperation for force. It means the substitution of responsibility for obedience to rank, and of authority of performance for the authority of rank.'

A modern manager, he tells us, ' is responsible for the application and performance of knowledge.'

Charles Handy in the 1999 edition of his 1976 classic 'Understanding Organisations' has a whole chapter - 'On being a Manager' - on the subject.

Interestingly Handy likens managers to General Practitioners (GPs) in that he/she is the 'first recipient' of a problem and must first of all decide whether it is a problem and, if so, what sort of problem it is. Managers/GPs alike need to follow the undernoted process as they search for solutions:

  • Identify the symptoms
  • Diagnose the disease (cause of the problem)
  • Decide how it might be dealt with - 'strategies for health'
  • Start the treatment (problem resolution)

Like GPs, managers may need expert assistance, or a second opinion at any of the above stages, but, as Handy points out, responsibility for each of these stages lies with the local GP/manager.

However, continuing the GP/manager analogy, problems can occur, writes Handy , when:

  • the symptoms rather than the disease itself are treated
  • the prescription is the same whatever the disease

The essential thing, says Handy , is for the GP/manager to make the correct diagnosis. Thus the skill of the GP and manager is to correctly assess and interpret information, symptoms and, using specialist inputs where necessary make the correct diagnosis, then take the right decisions, take the right courses of action to remedy the problem.

Problem Solving/Options Appraisal/Good Decision-making

Problem solving and options appraisal are two key requirements of all public health professionals. These skills are required for day-to-day decision making e.g. use of resources, as well as implementation of key government policies e.g. National Service Frameworks (NSFs) and NICE Guidelines.

Simon (The New Science of Management Decision, 1960) has shown that solution of any 'decision problem' in business, science or art can be viewed and handled in four steps:

1.  Perception of decision need or opportunity.  The 'intelligence' phase

2.  Formulation of alternative courses of action

3.  Evaluation of the alternatives for their respective contribution

4.  Choice of one or more alternatives for implementation

Managers need to be able to understand the above sequence and be able to follow it in the context of their own work/workplace so as to be able to identify and deal with problems, make effective decisions.

Management in Context

Each organisation is of course different and there will be key variables that have to be considered to determine the type of management that is required:

personal life management assignments

Four Key Management Activities

There are four key activities that a manager must achieve if he/she is to be successful in achieving key organisational objectives:

The 'POMC' approach:

  • relies on activities where result outcomes are paramount to successful work programmes
  • is more than just being leader i.e. counsellor/intermediary, catalyst/facilitator, diagnostician/engineer, many of these roles are important in public health function.

The POMC approach was derived from Henri Fayol and his Five Functions of Management  as long ago as 1916.  Fayol linked strategy and organisational theory, emphasising the need for management development and qualities of leadership. Fayol's 5 key elements of fundamentally industrial management remain the foundation stones on which all later gurus have built.

But Mintzberg's 'Nature of Managerial Work' (1973) which follows the overall POCM approach shows the realities of the 2 nd -half of the 20 th century to be very different:

Plan : (This has become and remains one of the classic approaches to organisational planning)

  • where are we now? (current analysis of current situation)
  • where do we want to be in a specified period of time? (vision, goals and objectives)
  • how do we get there? (how do we organise our resources, motivate and manage our people)
  • how do we know how successful we are? (how are we performing in regular reviews against 'critical success factors' and 'key performance indicators' : see 'Control' below).

This planning stage needs to consider organisational culture and any external influences that will affect the planning and implementation process.  For example, the use of a PESTELI analysis.

Organise - resources: the '4 M's'

  • manpower (workforce)

Also: organisational structure, delegation and span of control, plus organisational development, formal communication in organisations, and time management.

Motivation -

is the ability of the manager to get his/ her subordinates' commitment to organisational goals.

There need to be regular and rigorous scheduled reviews of performance against Plan:

Mintzberg The Managerial Roles

Mintzberg groups managerial activities and ten associated roles as follows:

The broad proposition is that, as a senior manager enacts his/her role, these will come together as a gestalt (integrated whole) reflecting the manager's competencies associated with the roles. In a sense therefore they act as evaluation criteria for assessing the performance of a manager in his/her role.

Here we look at each of the roles in more detail:

1.  Figurehead . Social, inspirational, legal and ceremonial duties must be carried out. The manager is a symbol and must be on-hand for people/agencies that will only deal with him/her because of status and authority.

2.  Liaison This is the manager as an information and communication centre. It is vital to build up favours. Good networking skills are needed to shape and maintain internal and external contacts for information exchange are essential. These contacts give access to "databases" - facts, requirements, probabilities.

3.  The Leader role This is at the heart of the manager-subordinate relationship and managerial power and pervasive where subordinates are involved even where perhaps the relationship is not directly interpersonal. The manager:

  • defines the structures and environments within which subordinates work and are motivated.
  • oversees and questions activities to keep them alert.
  • selects, encourages, promotes and disciplines.
  • tries to balance subordinate and organisational needs for efficient operations.

4.  Manager as 'monitor' - the manager seeks/receives information from many sources to evaluate the organisation's performance, well-being and overall situation. Monitoring of internal operations, external events, ideas, trends, analysis and pressures is vital. Information to detect changes, problems and opportunities and to construct decision-making scenarios can be current/historic, tangible (hard) or soft, documented or non-documented. This role is about building and using an intelligence system. The manager must install and maintain this information system; by building contacts and training staff to deliver "information".

5.  Manager as Disseminator - the manager brings external views into his/her organisation and facilitates internal information flows between subordinates (factual or value-based).

The preferences of significant people are received and assimilated. The manager interprets/disseminates information to subordinates e.g. policies, rules, regulations. Values are also disseminated via conversations laced with imperatives and signs/icons about what is regarded as important or what 'we believe in'.

There is a dilemma of delegation. Only the manager has the data for many decisions and often in the wrong form (e.g. verbal/memory vs. paper). Sharing is time-consuming and difficult. He/she and staff may be already overloaded. Communication consumes time. The adage 'if you want to get things done, it is best to do it yourself' comes to mind.

Why might this be a driver of managerial behaviour (reluctance or constraints on the ability to delegate)?

6.  Manager as Spokesman (e.g. in a 'P.R.' capacity) - the manager informs and lobbies others (external to his/her own organisational group). Key influencers and stakeholders are kept informed of performances, plans and policies. For outsiders, the manager is regarded as an informed resource in the field in which his/her organisation operates.

7.  Manager as Initiator/Changer   - a senior manager is responsible for his/her organisation's strategy-making system - generating and linking important decisions. He/she has the authority, information and capacity for control and integration over important decisions.

- he/she designs and initiates much of the controlled change and implementation in the organisation. Gaps are identified, improvement programmes defined. The manager initiates a series of related decisions/activities to achieve actual improvement. Improvement projects may be involved at various levels. The manager can:

1.  delegate all design responsibility selecting and even replacing subordinates.

2.  empower subordinates with responsibility for the design of the improvement programme but e.g. define the parameters/limits and veto or give the go-ahead on options.

3.  supervise design directly.

Senior managers may have many projects at various development stages (emergent/dormant/nearly-ready) working on each periodically interspersed by waiting periods for information feedback or progress etc.

8.  Manager as Disturbance Handler

- is a generalist role i.e. taking charge when the organisation hits a crisis or obstacle, perhaps unexpectedly, and where there is no clear programmed response. Disturbances may arise from staff, resources, stakeholders, external threats others make mistakes or innovation has unexpected consequences. The role involves stepping in to calm matters, evaluate, re-allocate, support - perhaps gaining some time.

9.  Manager as Resource Allocator - the manager oversees the allocation of resources (money, staff, premises, brand etc.). This involves:

1.  scheduling his/her own time

2.  programming work for self and others

3.  authorising actions

The effective manager sets organisational priorities because time and access involve what are called 'opportunity costs'.

The managerial task is to ensure the basic work system is in place and to programme staff schedules - what to do, by whom, what processing structures will be used.

Authorising major decisions before implementation is a form of control over resource allocation. This enables coordinated interventions e.g. authorisation within a policy or budgeting process in comparison to ad-hoc interventions.

To help evaluation processes, managers often develop models and plans in their heads; these models/constructions encompass rules, criteria and preferences to evaluate proposals against. Loose, flexible and implicit plans are then regularly updated with new information as it is obtained/discovered.

10.  Manager as   Negotiator

- the manager takes charge over important negotiating activities with other departments, with management and with other organisations. The spokesman, figurehead and resource allocator roles demand this.

Mintzberg's ten roles point to managers needing to be both organisational generalists and specialists because of:

  • system imperfections and environmental pressures.
  • their formal authority is needed even for certain basic routines.
  • in all of this they are still fallible and human.

The ten roles offer a wider and richer assessment of managerial tasks than the leadership models of, say, Blake or Hersey-Blanchard  which explain, justify/legitimise managerial purposes (via contingency theory) in terms of:

1.  designing and maintaining stable and reliable systems for efficient operations in a changing environment.

2.  ensuring that the organisation satisfies those that own/control it.

3.  boundary management = maintaining information links between the organisation and players in the environment.

Drucker P. 1977 'People and Performance'.  Heinemann Books.

Handy C. 1976 (1999 edition) 'Understanding Organisations'. Penguin Books.

Rosemary, S. 1996. 'Leadership' in Leading in the N.H.S: A Practical Guide 2nd edition MacMillan Business, Chapter one pp.3- 13.

Further Support for Management Development

There are a number of UK organisations helping managers learn, develop and improve necessary skills and attributes.

  • Learndirect has over 1,000 centres nationwide offering courses covering all areas of business, including 28 on Management Development.

           Call the Learndirect Helpline on 0800 101 901 or visit http://www.learndirect.co.uk/

  • The Association of Business Schools (ABS) represents leading business schools of UK universities, higher education institutions and independent management colleges. ABS promotes business and management skills to help improve the quality and effectiveness of UK managers.
  • The Institute of Management is a professional body for managers in the UK. It aims to promote and provide management development for UK businesses.
  • The Council for Excellence in Management & Leadership (CEML) is currently piloting the Business Improvement Tool for Entrepreneurs (BITE) with entrepreneurs and business professionals. The tool helps entrepreneurs identify development needs and provides sign-posting to a range of solutions that mimic the informal development opportunities which many entrepreneurs experience. (Source Department of Trade and Industry)

Management Models and Theories

Here is a summary of various relevant management models and theories that are covered more fully in Management Models and Theories:

                                                                       © K Enock 2006, N Leigh-Hunt 2016

Develop Good Habits

19 Best Life Planning Apps to Design Your Perfect Future

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Does it often feel like life’s just passing you by? Are you still visualizing the life you want, rather than living it?

It may not be that you are lazy . Instead, you just need the right tools to set you on the path to your perfect future .

Today, we’re introducing thirteen of the best life planning apps that will help you take control of your life, clarify your vision , get to know your real self, and identify your ultimate goals .

Hopefully they will enable you to live the life you truly want and inspire others to do the same.

Table of Contents

Your Roadmap to Success

A life plan is your roadmap to success.

With the help of a life plan, you’ll be able to determine which paths lead to your dreams.

A life plan elevates you above the chaos of everyday life and encourages you to make decisions that bring you closer to what you truly want.

It is a reflection of your priorities and values , so it needs to be flexible, since your priorities and values change over time.

If you keep a life plan, it is important to look over it periodically. This ensures that what you’ve written is still in alignment with your current values and priorities.

Apps for a Beautiful Future

In today’s post, you’ll find the best apps that will bring you closer to the success and happiness you’ve been working toward.

Some of the apps featured today will help you cultivate good habits that have a ripple effect in bringing positive changes to various areas of your life.

Other apps are designed to help you determine your vision and goals.

There are apps for helping you organize your projects, and other apps meant to be the repository of your thoughts as you build a wonderful future.

Read on and check out them out!

  • Cost: Free & Paid ($8.99)
  • Best for: Goal setting and habit tracking
  • Website: Done
  • iOS Link: Available in the Apple App Store

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Planning a beautiful future for yourself often starts with creating good habits .

If you’re looking for an app to help you set both short-term and long-term goals , track your streaks and progress, and create daily positive habits, then you might want to try Done.

With this app you can:

  • Set daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals
  • Track habits that you want to quit or develop
  • Group habits into categories (helpful for habit stacking)
  • Back up your data in iCloud or Dropbox
  • Create notes about your habits through the daily journal feature

Users love the app’s simple interface that provides them with a quick view of their progress.

The app is downloadable for free, and offers premium subscriptions starting at $8.99 for the one-time premium upgrade.

2. Way of Life

  • Cost: Free (Offers in-app purchases starting at $4.99)
  • Best for: Cultiviating habits
  • Website: Way of Life
  • Android Link: Available in the Google Play Store

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Here is another app designed to help you cultivate or break habits.

Way of Life allows you to track how well you’re keeping on track with your commitment to create a new habit or break a negative one.

The app works on the principle of “streaks,” and the user is encouraged to not break the chain of positive streaks.

Green represents the days when you’ve done the habit, and red represents the times when you skipped.

The app allows users to view their progress in a pie chart or bar graph.

If you’re looking for an app that helps keep track of your daily habits, this one is worth a try.

3. Success Wizard

  • Cost: Free & Paid
  • Best for: Creating action plans
  • Website: Success Wizard

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If you’re working on self-improvement as part of your overall plan for a beautiful future, this app helps you achieve lasting results.

It helps you commit to doing what’s necessary to reach your goals.

The app is a valuable tool for goal- and habit-setting. Here are some outstanding features users will appreciate:

  • Productivity and goal achievement system.
  • Action plan.
  • SMART goal-setting .
  • Routine scheduler (daily and weekly).
  • Personal journal – For recording insights, ideas, and experiences about your self-improvement journey.

The app is available for free, with an option to upgrade to a Pro version starting at $6.99.

  • Cost: Free & Paid (Starts at $5 per month per user)
  • Best for: Project management
  • Website: Trello

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There are those who view their goals as “projects.” If you are one of those people, Trello is a wonderful app to help you accomplish your goals, whether at work or in your personal life.

Users appreciate the app’s collaborative feature, which allows you to assign tasks to people involved in your projects.

You can also choose to activate notifications in order to receive updates on task progress in real time.

The free version has enough features for individuals who need a visual representation of their goals and a way to track their progress.

5. Life Goals – My Goal Planner & Affirmations

  • Best for: Listening to and creating affirmations

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When planning your future, it helps to have something that motivates you to reach your goals. This app does that, and more.

It is a goal planner, tracker, and setter, all rolled into one.

Here are some of the things you can do through the app:

  • Set lifetime goals and track them through the app’s dashboard
  • Create vision boards
  • Add details and notes to your goals
  • Listen to affirmations
  • Create your own affirmations

The app is available for free.

6. Artful Agenda

  • Cost: Free (trial) & Paid (subscription starts at $3.99 per month)
  • Best for: Aestheic life planning
  • Website: Artful Agenda

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Artful Agenda’s charming design makes the process of life planning easier and more fun.

This app takes inspiration from the aesthetics of a paper planner and the convenience and portability of a digital calendar.

Here are a few of the things you do with this app:

  • Select a cover design and handwriting
  • Actually cross an item off your list
  • Set priority tasks
  • Create positive, healthy habits (e.g., track your daily water intake)
  • Drag and drop planner stickers

This app also provides inspiring quotes for the day, week, and month.

7. Angstrom

  • Cost: Free (trial) & Paid (subscription starts at $49 per year)
  • Best for : Web-based life planning
  • Website: Angstrom

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This web-based app is not only an excellent tool for tracking your goals, it’s also one of the best ways to uncover your true self and determine your life goals, helping you accomplish the important things in life.

Along the way, you’ll be introduced to concepts and tools for achieving everything you’ve dreamed up.

An interesting feature of the app is that you are encouraged to write your own obituary. This is supposed to help determine what you truly want to be.

The app also provides a unique way of determining goals that are important to you and setting milestones that will determine if you’re on the right track in achieving what you want.

Angstrom provides a free trial, and the full version costs $49 annually. The lifetime subscription costs $199.

8. Perspective

  • Cost: Free (offers in-app purchases starting at $1.99)
  • Best for: Digital journaling
  • Website: Perspective

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This app provides great insight into your true nature.

With Perspective, you can view your journal entries from across the years.

This journaling app has features to help track your mood, indicate your level of satisfaction in the things you do, and provide insights to help you make better decisions in the future.

Its simple and elegant interface is able to accommodate rapid journaling and goal/task tracking.

Consider using this app if you need a portable journal to help you live life to the fullest.

The app is available for free, with in-app purchases starting at $1.99.

  • Cost: Free & Paid (starts at $4.99)
  • Best for: Mental health tracking
  • Website: Remente

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This app is your perfect companion to help monitor your well-being and track the goals you set for yourself.

It has several self-help tools that are designed to improve your well-being and help you build healthy habits.

Specifically, you’ll find the following features:

  • Day planner
  • Mental health tracker
  • Guide for goal setting
  • Self-care journal
  • Resources for improving and strengthening the state of your well-being

The app is downloadable for free. A premium subscription is available, starting at $4.99.

10. Fabulous

  • Cost: Free (trial) & Paid (subscription starts at $2.99 per month)
  • Best for: Daily self care tracking
  • Website: Fabulous

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A well-planned future involves having good, healthy habits. This science-backed app encourages users to make smart changes in their habits in order to achieve better health and improved levels of well-being.

It does so by showing users the importance of self-care to their overall wellness.

If you’re currently struggling to achieve better habits, this app is the one for you. Use it to:

  • Maximize your energy levels do accomplish all your activities throughout the day.
  • Create a solid morning routine with a stack of good habits .
  • Have a better plan for managing stress.
  • Eat healthier.
  • Exercise better.

Some of the features that users love in this app include:

  • The Mind Bus – sessions to help calm your thoughts.
  • 4 Hours Deep Work – helps you achieve meaningful and creative work.
  • Uplifting Fabulous – coaching sessions to help process grief.

A one-week free trial is available. Subscription to the app starts at $2.99/month.

11. MindMeister

  • Cost: Free & Paid (starts at $2.49 per month)
  • Best for: Collaborative mind mapping
  • Website: MindMeister

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If you're a visual person, lists might be a deterrent in organizing your thoughts and ideas. Here's an app that allows you to visually map out your ideas and share it with others through the cloud.

With this app, you’ll be able to create mind maps, edit them to add themes and styles, and share your ideas with others if it’s a collaborative project.

Furthermore, MindMeister allows you to sync your creations with an online account to let you access your mind maps through multiple devices and platforms.

12. Expensify

  • Cost: Free (Offer in-app purchases)
  • Best for: Tracking your spending
  • Website: Expensify

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Planning a beautiful future involves getting your finances in shape.

This app helps you keep a record of your purchases, making it easier to track your spending habits and determine whether you're using your hard-earned money to your advantage.

Specifically, Expensify is helpful when it comes to:

  • Receipt scanning – to have a record of every financial transaction you make throughout the day.
  • Mileage tracking.
  • Expense tracking.
  • Contactless payment.

Now it’s easier to submit an expense report if it’s needed at work, or to keep track of household spending. [ A pen-and-paper method also works well with the help of budget printables. ]

  • Best for: Minimizing food waste
  • Website: Kitche

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A beautiful future also means having a healthy, thriving planet on which to live.

This is an app that helps you with green living by encouraging you and your household to minimize food waste. As a result, you save money, teach your family the value of maximizing their resources, and live sustainably.

The main way this app helps you is by reminding you of products available at home. This helps users plan a menu with what’s already available on hand.

Other features include:

  • Product scanning from supermarket receipts.
  • Shopping list creation.
  • Tips for minimizing food waste.
  • Thousands of smart recipe suggestions based on the products you have at home.

This app is a great way to become mindful of your food preparation and consumption habits.

Kitche is available to download for free.

14. Things 3

  • Cost: Paid ($9.99)
  • Best for: Planning daily schedules
  • Website: Things

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Organize your life and plan your daily schedule with this easy-to-use app.

With this app, you can create a daily to-do list that you can add notes and tags to. You can also set a schedule for this to-do list in your calendar and break it down into manageable steps.

Other features that you’ll love in this app include:

  • Calendar Integration
  • Cost: Free & Paid (starts at $5.99 per month)
  • Best for: Creating check lists
  • Website: Any.do
  • iOS Link: A vailable in the Apple App Store

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If you need an app that’s easy to use but that integrates all your work and personal to-dos in one place and helps you keep track of your daily tasks, you might want to consider Any.do.

This app ensures that your daily life has a semblance of order and your tasks are organized. It gives you the space to list down everything that needs to be done, share your lists with others, and edit lists in real time.

Some features you’ll enjoy include:

  • Grocery List
  • Daily Planner

16. Time Timer

  • Best: Digital timer
  • Website: Time Timer

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Managing your time well is a hallmark of a well-planned life.

This app helps you harness your time in the most productive way possible. Learn good time-management habits, such as the Pomodoro Technique , by using this timer that provides a visual reference for the time you spend on tasks.

It also helps you develop the ability to concentrate and stay focused. This app is indispensable if you’re aiming to become more productive and efficient at work, school, and home.

17. My Study Life

  • Best for: Tracking academic schedules
  • Website: My Study Life

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This app is useful for developing good study habits, as well as better time-management skills.

The app syncs across different platforms, ensuring that you can work on your schedules and revisions on any device.

Through this app, you’ll be able to:

  • Check for overdue homework and other class assignments.
  • Resolve conflicts in class and exam scheduling.
  • Set revision tasks for assignments.
  • Receive reminders for unfinished tasks, classes, and upcoming exams.

18. My Life Organized

  • Cost: Paid (starts at $29.99)
  • Best for: Personal organization
  • Website: My Life Organized

life planner online | apps for future planning | planner app for android | free planning apps

This app is a great tool if you’re aiming for a highly productive life. It helps organize and keep track of your habits, life goals, and personal projects.

The app allows you to create a task hierarchy, breaking down a big to-do into reasonably sized actions. It can automatically convert a task hierarchy into a to-do list.

If you’re using habit stacking to build your good daily habits routine, this app is worth a try.

This app is available for free, with an option to upgrade to a Pro version for $29.99.

19. Routinery

  • Best for: Building daily routines
  • Website: Routinery

apps for future planning | apps to get your life together | personal planner app

When you have a solid plan for your future and are working toward it, you look forward to the opportunities that each day brings. An app can help reinforce those plans and provide feedback on your progress.

This app was created based on behavioral science to help you harness the power of positive habits to bring success and happiness into your life.

Some features that you’ll appreciate in this app include:

  • Habit and routine management – Let’s you create your own habits and routines, sends reminders, and gives recommendations of habits to develop.
  • Routine timer – Consists of a timer and progress tracker.
  • Feedback and Statistics – Displays your “streaks” and provides a progress report.

The app is available for free, with in-app purchases starting at $2.99.

Final Thoughts on Life Planning Apps

There you have it—the best life planning apps to help you plan your excellent future.

We hope you’ve found one that suits your needs.

Here are some more resources to help you realize your dreams:

  • How to Create a Ten Year Plan for Your Life [with a Template]
  • 51 Vision Board Ideas for Your Important Goals
  • 9 Printable Life Planning Worksheets & Templates
  • 11 Online Vision Board Apps and Websites
  • 21 Goal Ideas to Set and Achieve for a Better Year
  • 100 Life Goals: The Ultimate List of the Best Long-Term Goals
  • 10 Daily Goal Examples to Help You Conquer the Day
  • 23 Health Goals to Achieve

Finally, if you want to take your goal-setting efforts to the next level, check out this FREE printable worksheet and a step-by-step process that will help you set effective SMART goals .

life planning apps | life planner app ios | life management app

  • Published December 4, 2020
  • 6 Minute Read

The Influence of Personal Life & Hardships on Leadership Development

The Influence of Personal Life & Hardships on Leadership Development

The True Numbers Behind 70-20-10 & the Overlooked Impact of Hardships on Development

More often than not, in the midst of a leadership development program design discussion with a client, they’ll say something about 70-20-10. “We’d like you to keep in mind the 70-20-10 model of development ,” they say. “Have you heard of that?”

By this point, our faculty members are well-versed in gently pointing out that, yes, we’ve heard of it, because the research for that model was developed right here at CCL.

“Fantastic! We like to base most of our designs around that model!” comes the response.

And so it’s gone for much of the last 30 years, with 70-20-10 becoming a beacon for how leadership development designs should be arranged.

The theory behind it is as follows: 70% of learning should come from challenging on-the-job assignments; 20% of learning should be gleaned from watching and working with others; and a modest 10% represents formal, in-classroom or virtually-based learning. Instructional designers often loosely translate that to: “more interaction, less lecture; more pre- and-post-session work and more longitudinal programs in order to ensure learning transfer , fewer day-long seminars filled with soon-to-be-forgotten theoretical concepts.”

Is this a good model for learning? Yes.

And more so, it’s widely accepted as the gold standard, a research-based, long-standing model often cited by development professionals, most of whom may not even know about the original research findings that eventually led to it.

Up until a few months ago, I was one of those development professionals. Then, I had the opportunity to meet with Cindy McCauley, a senior research fellow and expert in the area of putting experience at the center of talent development , which stems from the work of Bob Eichinger and Mike Lombardo, the famed 70-20-10 creators. I needed some slides on Cindy’s work, and while reviewing what she’d sent me, I noticed one particular pie chart: “70-20-10” it said at the top of the page, but below, the chart had 5 different areas: “challenging assignments” took up just under 50% of the circle, with roughly 40% split between “other people” and “hardships.” A final 10% was split between “formal coursework” and “personal life.” I was confused.

“What’s this?” I asked Cindy, only to have her confirm my suspicions: These were the original results from the CCL research question, “Where do key development learnings come from?” That data found that “hardships” were equally as important as “other people,” and that lessons from one’s personal life aided development in an essential way. And yet, I’d never heard of the 50-20-20-5-and-5 model.

Cindy explained: The originators of the model dropped hardships and personal life events because organizations had little control over them. Coursework could be replicated, mentors could be assigned, but who could guarantee hardships? Or — more importantly — who would want to? After dropping those 2 pesky categories and doing some simple recalculations, the model shook out at the now-trusty 70-20-10 breakdown.

Consider that this model was developed in the late 1980s. Perhaps looking for or focusing on hardships felt unnecessary. If things were going well for an organization, why manufacture a hardship? And were hardships even something to discuss openly at work? Similarly, work wasn’t likely considered the place to discuss one’s personal life; workplaces were quite a bit more formal, and lines between the personal and professional were more clearly delineated than they often are today.

And in either case, Eichinger and Lombardo weren’t wrong: It could be more of a challenge for employers to try to create these types of experiences for all employees (i.e., manufacture a hardship or ask employees to share leadership lessons learned outside of the office).

Still, you don’t need to think too much about the current business environment to see how different things are today. It’s not unusual for an employee to be friends with their whole department on Facebook. The lines between work and home have blurred significantly, as people bring their emails to bed on their smartphone and as family obligations are split more equally among couples, often requiring more flexible schedules.

In fact, according to several recent studies, Millennials report that a good balance between work and life is one of the most important factors in accepting or continuing with a job or organization. If we don’t help employees to mine their personal experiences for leadership skills, we risk not only losing out on prime learning opportunities but on disregarding a part of their life that they have identified as being of paramount importance.

As for hardships, I’ve found it impossible to find an organization that doesn’t have a full list at the ready. Layoffs, budget cuts, mergers, acquisitions — anything from C-suite scandals impacting morale and public brand to the stress some workers feel about being required to move or risk losing their position in the company. (And that’s not even mentioning the global coronavirus pandemic and its aftermath.)

At this point, companies no longer need to manufacture hardships; these days, they’re pretty much guaranteed.

Ignoring these hardships in favor of focusing solely on challenging assignments or coursework does a significant disservice to employees. Pretending hardships aren’t there doesn’t make them go away. In fact, ironic mental processing holds that asking employees to ignore a stressful hardship, such as rounds of layoffs, pretty much ensures that they won’t be able to focus on anything else.

So where does this leave us trying to make use of this model? The phrase “If it’s not broken …” comes to mind, but the problem isn’t that the model is broken — it’s that it’s incomplete. And the answer to filling that gap has been there all along; crisis can be turned into opportunity .

Organizations can address hardships head-on and develop learning opportunities around them rather than trying to sweep them under the rug. Who could turn their back on the chance to get 20% of learning lessons from that bucket alone? And they can do something similar with the area of personal life, which would both cater to the confirmed preferences of Millennials and honor the extra-professional experiences of all employees.

Viewed through a hiring lens, giving the appropriate credence to lessons gained from hardship and acknowledging that personal life affects professional life might even increase the career opportunities for those with non-linear career paths, like employees who took time off to raise children or care for family members, or excellent job candidates who spent time pursuing an artistic passion or serving in the military before moving into their current line of work.

It’s unlikely that I will stop hearing “70-20-10” from my clients any time soon. But my hope is that there’s an appetite to modernize the revolutionary work of Eichinger and Lombardo, ironically by returning to our original research findings. It may have just taken us 30 years to grow into it.

Ready to Take the Next Step?

As much as organizations have traditionally overlooked it, the reality is that hardships and personal life do affect professional life and development. Equip your people to turn the hardships they undergo into learning experiences and development opportunities with customized leadership development  tailored to your unique needs to help grow your organization into the future.

Based on Research by

Cindy McCauley

With over 30 years of experience at CCL, Cindy has contributed to many aspects of CCL’s work: research, publication, product development, program evaluation, coaching, and management. She designs and manages R&D projects, coaches action learning teams, writes for multiple audiences, and is a frequent speaker at professional conferences.

Jessica Glazer

Jessica partnered with clients to develop and deliver custom programs that meet their most pressing development needs, and she was an instructor for many of our open-enrollment programs. In addition to being an executive coach and researcher, she has taught at Johns Hopkins University and Harvard University.

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What to explore next.

personal life management assignments

Hardships can be powerful teachers. Through your personal and professional setbacks, these 4 unexpected lessons can help you turn challenge into opportunity.

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We don’t know how long this new reality will last, or exactly what lies on the other side, but we do know that leadership can be the differentiator in every organization. Learn how to turn crisis into opportunity.

Development isn’t passive. It’s more than letting life experience wash over you. The best leaders understand the benefits of leadership experience and actively mine their experiences for lessons and growth.

How do people learn to be effective leaders? According to over 30 years of research, 3 types of experiences help leaders learn and grow. Learn about the classic 70-20-10 framework for leadership development.

On-the-job experience is the number one way people learn and grow, accounting for more than 50% of learning. Here’s how talent leaders can maximize that learning to develop leaders.

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The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL)® is a top-ranked, global, nonprofit provider of leadership development and a pioneer in the field of global leadership research. We know from experience how transformative remarkable leaders really can be.

Over the past 50 years, we’ve worked with organizations of all sizes from around the world, including more than 2/3 of the Fortune 1000. Our hands-on development solutions are evidence-based and steeped in our work with hundreds of thousands of leaders at all levels.

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What is self-management? (7 skills to improve it)

Alicia Raeburn contributor headshot

Self-management is your ability to regulate behaviors, thoughts, and emotions in a way that better serves you and your work. Learn the 7 most important self-management skills to become a better leader.

It’s certainly not easy, but self-management can be learned. And it’s worth doing—as you improve your self-management skills, you’ll naturally grow as a leader. From the top project management skills to your own personal development, we’ll go over what self-management is and the seven soft skills to develop it.

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What is self-management?

Self-management is your ability to regulate your behaviors, thoughts, and emotions in a productive way. This means excelling in both personal and professional responsibilities for the benefit of yourself and your team.

[Inline illustration] What is self-management? (Infographic)

Effective self-management leads to better emotional intelligence by supporting your self-awareness and well being. This means staying on top of social cues and respecting your own personal needs.

Self-management is an important leadership quality that doesn’t always come naturally, but with the right tools and practice, you can develop. Let’s dive into the top seven self-management skills to develop. 

What are the 7 self-management skills?

Developing self-management skills requires a certain level of self-awareness—you need to know yourself before you can regulate yourself. Start slow and embrace the process, remembering that these skills are ongoing.

Skill 1. Time management

Time management is when you control how you use your time. This means prioritizing your most important tasks first and managing your daily to-do list . A leader who has good time management skills can manage their time effectively without the need for external help.

Having good time management skills can help you stay engaged and avoid procrastination . As a leader, time management allows you enough time to both stay on top of your own work and empower others to do the same.  

Skill 2. Self motivation

Self motivation is your ability to get motivated and proactively accomplish daily tasks. It takes a certain level of personal responsibility, but practicing self motivation can help you become more self-aware and prioritize what's important to you.

[Inline illustration] Self motivation (Abstract)

This is similar to intrinsic motivation , which is motivation that comes from within. Like self motivation, intrinsic motivation stems from a variety of personal factors. For example, your internal motivator for volunteering could be that it makes you feel fulfilled. External motivators, on the other hand, are influenced by factors outside yourself. For example, working faster because you’re scared of the repercussions if you work slower.

Enjoying the work you do is an important part of staying motivated and engaged throughout your workday. Plus, liking the work you do can help you inspire your team to do their very best. To practice internal motivation, work towards goals that excite you and fuel your sense of purpose.

Skill 3. Stress management

Leaders often deal with stress, but to be good at self-management you need to embody healthy stress management. Without stress management, you can suffer from overwork and, eventually, burnout .

Leaders with good stress management skills approach work in a focused manner by connecting their initiatives to larger goals. When you know which task is most important and how project deliverables are tied to team goals, you can better prioritize work and will likely feel more fulfilled doing it. Engaging with your work in this way is a form of self-care, and it can help reduce your stress levels and keep you level headed.

Skill 4. Adaptability

Being adaptable means you have the confidence and ability to pivot when changes arise. This is especially important for leaders who work in a fast-paced environment where project changes occur often. 

For example, imagine a new project comes up that’s a higher priority than the one you’ve been working on for the last couple of weeks. Instead of becoming stressed or frustrated, you can adapt to this change and move forward with openness and curiosity. This is an important skill to have to maintain flexibility.

While being adaptable may be uncomfortable at times, it can make you a great leader as you have the ability to tackle anything that comes your way.  It also empowers your team to do the same.

Skill 5. Decision making

To be effective, it’s essential for leaders to develop decision-making skills that reduce confusion and increase team empowerment. Problem solving and addressing issues can help you grow your decision-making skills. 

Like all the skills we’ve looked at so far, decision making is something you can learn. Start by sharpening your critical thinking skills and learning how to analyze key information when problems arise. And use data-driven decision making to ensure your actions come from data rather than guesswork, so fewer issues will arise down the road.

Skill 6. Goal alignment

Setting goals means you prioritize the most important projects that have the highest impact on your business. 

This means being able to see the bigger picture and knowing what’s best for your team members and organization. In the long run, this will generate better results and boost team morale .  

Goal alignment consists of three main skills:

Goal setting. When goal setting, be sure to identify current pain points, forecast growth objectives, and analyze your current resource allocation plans —all of which can help you set informed goals. Use the SMART goals framework to make sure your goal is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.

Goal communication. Not only does this involve managing your team’s goals, but it always involves aligning them to your organization’s overall goals. That way,  your team members understand how their work ladders up to larger objectives. This requires transparent communication and aligned teamwork .  

Goal tracking. Not only is it important to set and communicate goals, but it’s also important to track them. This is critical for connecting daily work to larger goals and seeing how your team is progressing over time. 

Skill 7. Personal development

Personal development is key for all team members, but especially for leaders. In order to build your team’s knowledge, you first need to build your own.  This means taking the time to attend workshops, take courses, and connect with industry experts to develop your management skills.

This means taking the time to attend workshops, take courses, and connect with industry experts—all of which can help you develop your management skills. 

By continuing to develop your skills, you can empower your team to do the same. Not only does this mean individual career development, but it also means growth for the good of the company. 

Examples of self-management

Analyzing examples of self-management in the workplace can help you understand the skills you need to develop and embody healthy self-management. 

These examples involve refining the way you see yourself in order to develop strong self-esteem. Here are some examples of self-management to better understand how you can empower yourself to be a better leader in the workplace:

Example 1: Setting goals and aligning them to the larger picture.  

Team lead Daniela Vargas wants to increase returning customers by 10% this year in order to meet her organization’s growth goals. To start, she writes up a business case and schedules a meeting with the head of operations and product development. During that meeting, Daniela walks the department heads through her plan to rebrand an existing product line that hasn’t performed well in the past. The leaders agree to the plan and Daniela gets to work to develop a detailed work breakdown structure . 

Example 2: Stress management and time allocation.

Ray Brooks starts his day by going through his daily to-do list. He notices he has a few tasks that need to be completed and an overdue task that he didn’t get to yesterday. He also gets a meeting invite for a new project that is flagged as a top priority. Instead of becoming overwhelmed and frustrated with the tasks on his plate, Ray goes to work to reorganize his schedule. Critically, Ray realizes that he can’t get everything done that day. To get his best work done, he prioritizes the new project meeting, since it’s a top priority. He then spends the rest of his day tackling his high priority tasks while maintaining the quality of his work. Instead of working all night, which Ray knows will stress him out and take away from his family time, he decides that his least important tasks will need to wait until the next day. 

In both of these situations, the leader made rational decisions based on what was best for themselves and their teams. They were quick to make intelligent decisions while considering their own well-being in order to get good results. ​

Managing your behaviors and emotions

Managing your thoughts and behaviors can help you become better at self-management and, in turn, stronger as a leader. By streamlining your individual organizational systems, you’re proactively working towards becoming the best leader that you can be. 

Learn additional ways to support your team with work management software. From increased productivity to team visibility, effectively managing your work doesn’t have to be challenging. 

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12 Time-Management Tips to Improve Your Life

15 Min Read | Feb 14, 2024

Jade Warshaw

Ever feel like you’re racing up the down escalator in life? You spend all day running and gunning and being busy—but you never seem to make real progress. It’s like there are never enough hours in the day to do everything on your list, so lots of things get done halfway—or worse: not at all. And it’s super frustrating! Am I right? Come on, I know you feel me on this.

We’re up against some serious time sucks and straight-up distractions in this crazy “hurry up” world. So even though we run around wearing busyness like a badge of honor, it’s really just a front if we aren’t actually making true progress. And as I’ve grown as a wife, mom and business owner, I’ve learned that when it comes to time management, I need to plan and protect my time at all costs if I want to truly be productive.

When we manage our time well—both at home and at work—we can drop the guilt about not getting everything done because we learn not everything is important. And even if it is important, we’ve already decided what our top priorities are going to be each day. We finally start spending our time on purpose .

Listen, this isn’t just about crossing more off the to-do list—it’s about choosing to prioritize your life in a way that moves the needle closer to your goals, and often times, this is a day-by-day decision. Time is the most precious resource you have, and if you don’t protect it, everything and everyone else will steal it.

What Is Time Management?

Time management is using your time wisely to do what is most important to you.

You might think time management is about getting the most done in the least amount of time. Or that it’s about getting done what everyone else needs from you. Or maybe time management isn’t even a concept to you because each day is just you flying from one task to the next. The true goal of time management is to spend more time doing what needs to get done most (and spending less time on distractions and people pleasing).

Lots of us know what we care about, but do we spend our time on those things? We say our family is our top priority, but we continue to work late nights and miss valuable time with them. We say we want to get in shape, but we don’t carve out time for healthy meal prep or exercise. The list goes on and on. Before we know it, we look up and feel like a slave to someone else’s schedule.

But the truth is, you get to decide how you spend your time. I know it may feel like your boss chooses—or your spouse, or your kids, or your church. Nope. You get to choose. The moment you realize you’re in charge of your time and your life is the moment you get your power back.

The Benefits of Time Management

Time management is important because, if we’re not careful, we can end up going from one type of busyness to another. By trying to do too much, we end up not doing much of what actually matters. And that simply is not it.

Here are some benefits of time management:

Increased Productivity

Time management isn’t just about boosting your productivity, but when you manage your time well, you’ll be more productive! You’ll spend less time on busywork and more time on the things that are important. And here’s a tip: Identify your most focused and energized times of the day and schedule your most important to-dos during that time. Your productivity will shoot through the roof. That’s what I’m talking about!

Less Stress

Chasing a finish line that’s always moving gets pretty exhausting. Being stretched thin, scattered and rushed adds a lot of unnecessary stress to your life. Your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health will all take a hit. And if you’re not careful, all that chaos can lead to burnout.

Want to build a non-anxious life? Learn how in Dr. John Delony’s new book.

On the flip side, managing your time well and having a clear expectation of what is time well spent actually lowers stress. You’ll focus your energy and be able to clearly see at the end of each day all that you’ve accomplished.

When you manage your time wisely, you can focus on the present moment and enjoy it. If you’re always distracted by where you’re not , you miss out on the here and now. When you’re at work, be at work. When you’re on the phone with your BFF, be dialed in. Wherever you are, be all there. You’ll be spending your time on what’s important to you, and you’ll actually get to enjoy the experience.

So, I’m sure you want to live a more productive and low-stress life. But how do you actually get there? Here are 12 time-management tips to help you spend your time doing what’s most important to you.

1. Do a time audit.

The problem isn’t how much time you have. We all have 24 hours in a day. The problem is how you use it.

To figure out where your time goes, you’ll need to do a time audit. This means keeping a log of what you do every day and how much time you spend on each thing. It might take a few days of keeping track to get a good picture of where your minutes and hours go. And make sure to be detailed and even include things like commutes—you might be surprised at how you multitask during certain time chunks. Maybe that commute is also your daily call to dear old Dad.

And if you’re like me, you’ll probably find some surprises. ( Do I really spend 30 minutes browsing Netflix for the right show? )

2. Identify your distractions.

After you do your audit, you need to pinpoint the distractions and time traps that knock you off course. A time trap is something that steals time from you.

Maybe it’s scrolling social media or binge-watching Netflix. Maybe it’s a weekly meeting that has nothing to do with your job. Maybe you get bogged down solving coworkers’ problems—and then you don’t have time for your own!

When you know which activities waste your time, you can protect yourself from them. You’ll know what to say no to so you can say yes to more important things.

3. Figure out what’s most important to you.

For most of us, the problem isn’t that we’re not doing enough—it’s that we’re doing the most . Sit down and figure out what’s really important to you. This could be simple daily habits—or larger weekly or monthly goals. One thing I do at the start of each year is make a list of five nonnegotiable values. Having this list is like a filter for how I prioritize my day. So if I’m ever feeling crunched for time or frustrated by my schedule, I can use that set of values to get rid of “obligations” that don’t line up. Sorry, neighbor’s birthday party, you just got voted out.

Focus your time, energy and resources on what’s most important to you. Author Patrick Lencioni says, “If everything is important, then nothing is.” Your time is limited, so decide what makes the cut and what doesn’t.

4. Identify your priorities.

A lot of things are important. But not all things are urgent. The next step is to figure out which important things need to happen first and create a list of them in order of priority. Then schedule your time that way. Having a clear plan allows you to stay focused and keep less important tasks from distracting you from the main thing.

Luckily, there’s an easy way to figure out what task is a priority and what you can get to later. Everything you want or need to do falls into one of these four categories:

  • Important and urgent
  • Important but not urgent
  • Not important but urgent
  • Not important and not urgent

Priority chart

Look at the chart and figure out where the tasks on your time audit fall. Obviously, things that are both important and urgent should be your top priority.

My boss, Dave Ramsey, likes to call his top daily priority his A1 (like the steak sauce). He focuses on A1 first and then works on A2, A3, etc. If a less important task pops up—something that could be categorized as a B or C priority—he knows it’s a distraction that can be handled later or by someone else.

5. Schedule your priorities.

Once you know your top priorities, put them on your calendar first. Here are a few examples:

  • If you want to grow in your current role at work, schedule time to study and learn. Sign up for an online class or meet with a mentor and block out time to get it done.
  • If you have a work project due, put time on your calendar to work on it.
  • If you want to have a better relationship with your spouse, schedule a regular date night and commit to it. (Add a line item to your budget , too, so you’re not looking in the couch cushions for cash to pay the sitter!)

Figuring out how to fit everything into 24 hours reminds me of how I feel when I’m packing for a trip. If I stuff my suitcase with too many clothes and shoes, I won’t get it closed (even if I sit on it!). Something has to go or my clothes will end up wrinkled and my shoes will get crushed.

Sometimes we do that with our calendars. We cram in so much that the quality of what we are doing goes down. We aren’t truly giving our best effort—just checking a box. But the reality is, time management is about choosing what’s most important and being willing to skip what’s not important in order to increase the quality and fruitfulness of our time.

6. Focus on one task at a time.

Multitasking is a myth in many cases. Especially if you’re trying to multitask two active tasks. Have you ever tried to talk to someone while they’re texting? They aren’t listening. They can’t actively listen and actively write! When we do too many things at once, we do a bad job on all of them. In most cases, it’s better to focus on one thing at a time.

You have to be intentional about your focus. In his book Deep Work , Cal Newport says, “Who you are, what you think, feel, and do, what you love—is the sum of what you focus on.”

If your attention is scattered, you’ll feel scattered. If you focus on the mile-long list of things you haven’t finished, you’ll feel overwhelmed and frustrated. Instead, let yourself focus on one thing at a time. Then watch how your output increases and your stress decreases. Now that’s a win!

7. Set boundaries.

When you schedule your time and set boundaries around it, you’ll spend it more mindfully. Your work will turn out better when you give it a clear start and end time.

And when I say boundaries, I don’t mean loosey-goosey suggestions! If you put “work on presentation” on your calendar from 9 to 11 a.m., then that’s what you do from 9 to 11! Don’t dillydally on Instagram or take a snack break. That can wait.

Here’s an example to show you what I mean. Microsoft did an experiment in one of its offices in Japan. They let employees take off every Friday for a month, and during that time, they saw a 40% boost in productivity—even with the extra day off! 1 The workers actually got more done in less time.

I’ve even seen this in my own life. I can do my makeup in 10 minutes. But if I give myself an unset amount of time, I somehow expand the same 10-minute routine into 40 minutes. Mind bending.

The lesson here is that work will take as long as the time you give it. Boundaries will help you do what you need to in the time you have.

8. Practice saying no.

No is a powerful word. We talked about this before. You need to practice saying no to the things that steal your time or don’t match up with your goals . And I mean actually saying no—like, “No, I can’t take on this extra project”—because it’s important for you to be home to spend time with your kids. I said it before and I’ll say it again: If you don’t protect your time, everything and everyone else will steal it. If you want your time back, you have to open your mouth and take it.

Say it out loud and practice in front of your mirror or dog or therapist. Because the truth is, you don’t have to sign up for every volunteer opportunity or grab coffee with a friend every day of the week.

Saying no to time traps will free you up to say yes to what really matters.

9. Give yourself realistic time limits and don’t rush.

We decide what goes on our calendar and how much time we give to it, so we shouldn’t be surprised when our schedule’s overstuffed (just like that suitcase). If you think a task is going to take 30 minutes, don’t schedule 25 minutes and hope you hit every green light on the way. Give yourself a little extra time. And be sure to build a buffer or transition into your schedule to keep you from rushing, because shifting tasks takes a minute, and let’s face it—we all need time to pee.

Rushing is a choice. So what will you choose? Will you be busy, burned out and running ragged? Or will you be peaceful, calm and flexible? Rushing is a state of mind just as much as it is a state of our schedule.

10. Recognize the season of life you’re in.

We want to do it all, be it all, and have it all—all the time. But Lord knows one of the secrets of time management is understanding that life comes in seasons. What’s most important to you when you’re building your career will be different from when you’re a new parent or a retired grandparent.

Just because something doesn’t make the cut in this season of life doesn’t mean it never will. It just means you know what’s best for where you are in this stage of life. If you’re about to get a promotion at work, you know it probably isn’t the best time to coach your son’s little league team.

When you’re making room and committing to something new, let yourself take something else off your plate. Everything is temporary, so be present and enjoy where you are.

11. Make room for rest.

Rest is one of the most underrated and necessary parts of life. When you’re running all day every day, you wear down your ability to be productive and focused when it actually counts.

After a few hours of heads-down work, power all the way down and take a full break. Go for a walk. Meditate for 10 minutes. And when you get home from work, be with your family or friends and refuse to sneak a peek at your emails or worry about the big project due at the end of the week. By setting boundaries and prioritizing rest, you’ll get more done when you’re at work.

And do the same thing at home. If you plan to rest when everything around the house is done—the pile of laundry or dishes—you’ll never get to rest because it’s never all done. Go to bed early, take a nap, and rest when it’s time to rest—then watch how this improves every other area of your life.

12. Don’t compare your time to someone else’s time.

I used to hear the adage that we all have the same 24 hours. And I’d look around at the people in my life thinking, If they’re doing that with their time, I need to be doing that.

But then I realized how time can be different. Three hours at home as a stay-at-home mom with two babies is not the same as three hours with a live-in nanny. Eight hours working from home running your own online business is not the same as eight hours working at a factory where you clock in and out.

Your time is your time. It’s not better or worse, and it’s certainly not to be compared to someone else’s time.

Find Peace in Chaos

As you can tell, I’m passionate about time management. I believe it’s an incredibly important part of living a fulfilling, purposeful and enjoyable life.

If time management, or lack of it, has you feeling anxious, check out the latest book by my friend and colleague Dr. John Delony, Building a Non-Anxious Life . It will help you find peace in chaos by looking at the Six Daily Choices you must make to have a non-anxious life.

Did you find this article helpful? Share it!

Jade Warshaw

About the author

Jade Warshaw

Since paying off over $460,000 in debt with her husband, Sam, Jade Warshaw has been coaching others on how to go from the angst of debt and payments to the ease of financial peace. As a co-host of The Ramsey Show, the second-largest talk radio show in America, Jade helps people pay off debt by teaching them to shift their mindset and actions around money. Jade is a Ramsey Solutions Master Financial Coach, debt elimination expert and debt-free entrepreneur. Learn More.

How to Say No: 6 Tips

When we say yes but don’t mean it, we end up exhausted, anxious and burnt-out. Here are six tips to learn how to say no without feeling guilty.

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How to Set Boundaries: 7 Simple Steps

Boundaries. Everyone needs them—most people don’t have them.

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Personal Perspectives

The scam of life balance, personal perspective: stress management is chucking perfectionist expectations..

Updated March 20, 2024 | Reviewed by Ray Parker

  • The concept of "balance" is an impossibly high bar.
  • Attempts to force our lives into balance often cause unnecessary stress and suffering.
  • Learning to reframe our efforts as a verb of balancing is helpful.

Let go of the concept of “balance.” It might seem odd, but I’m sticking by my statement. But it’s good, healthy, even ideal for each of us to attain balance in our lives, right?

In the early days of my protracted mid-life crisis , I told myself I would finally get myself balanced. That I would discover and stick to a fitness routine that would render me not only strong and college-days-of-old-thin. And because what I arrived at was yoga-based, I was also convinced it would give me emotional and physical balance. Like I would be able to—metaphorically speaking—hold myself in the balance of a crow pose indefinitely.

“It’s the routine I’ve been searching for,” I told myself as I hit “purchase now” on the website for the DVD-based program. For a mere $99 (plus shipping and whatever handling is), I was paying short money for a long-term balance. A no-brainer.

What Forcing Toward Balance Causes

What I neglected or perhaps refused to internalize inside myself was that the yoga program was really yet another flavor of what Buddhist meditation teacher and author Miles Neale called “frozen yoga”—our society’s ripping up of ancient practices from their contextual and meaningful roots.

This was not actual yoga (the word meaning “union,” referring to body and mind). It was fast-food fitness ridiculousness. Never mind the fact that the instructor and all the “students” on the DVDs were in their 20s, and I was pushing well into my 40s as I forced myself to follow the program calendar’s call for hour-plus daily high-intensity workouts.

I ended up with throbbing joints as I jammed my body into cobras, down dogs, and warrior poses. Sure, there was some so-called meditation at the end, but that seemed to be an afterthought, or better yet, a pre-thought of “let’s dress this up with some McMindfulness as well.”

Ignoring my aching, truth-telling body, I kept ramming my body through the workouts and ended up with raging tendonitis in both elbows, the right of which ended up requiring surgery. My yoga DVDs ended up in the basement, doing a perfect “Shavasana” (corpse pose) along with a host of other dead DVDs there on the shelf.

Sure, it was part of my midlife experience, and yet don’t we all, crisis or not, try to force ourselves toward perfection and permanence in a distorted quest for the fictional nirvana called balance?

Not only did I fall on my ass repeatedly during the routines, but I was also completely unbalanced in my expectations of what would bring alignment, strength, and flexibility into my life.

Turning Balance Into a Verb

Take ballet dancers, the highest example of balance-prowess. They, unlike most of us, seem to physically “get there” around balance, don’t they? They stand on the tips of their toes. They glide across the floor as if suspended by divine strings. Balance, for sure.

And yet, any actual dancer will tell you that they never “balance” while on stage. They don’t assume a pose and hover their body there. They will tell you that their expertise is how they flexibly and skillfully are balancing. With thousands of hours under the waistbands of their leotards, they have shown up over and over to the skill of quick shifts of posture and weight transfer. If you look closely, they are constantly in motion, their tiptoes fluttering, wiggling slightly to shift and adjust. They are highly skilled balancers.

You could try standing on one leg. Keep your eyes open, though. Close them, and you’ll find yourself wavering, perhaps toppling over, trying to stand rigidly there, particularly without the input your open eyes give your balancing brain.

In many moments in personal and professional endeavors I have tried to rigidly stay put in my expectations as I reached for something. The problem is that in doing so, I also closed my eyes. I limited my awareness of what I needed to keep flowing and flexibly balancing with the ebb and flow of others and situations.

Don’t do a balancing act. Instead, get moving as an apprentice in the balancing art.

Balancing Practice

  • Try standing up from where you are, breathing in slowly and deeply into the belly, and reaching upward toward the ceiling (or sky if you’re outside). Get yourself “balanced”—easy, right?
  • Continue to breathe in, reaching upward, and really feel the stretch in your body. Notice any shifting you need to do, the " ing" of balancing.
  • Take another breath and try coming up onto the balls of your feet, still reaching upward, again noticing the shifting, the balanc ing .
  • See how long you can hold the pose, not balanced but ongoingly balancing, imperfect, sure to change, and allowing yourself to stop, start, shift, and do what is necessary to reach and bring yourself flexibly higher.

And unless you’re crazy-bold, don’t even think of trying to stay balanced on just one leg with your eyes closed. Not even those DVD-frozen yoga addicts dared do this one.

Neale, M. (2011). "McMindfulness and Frozen Yoga: Rediscovering the Essential Teachings of Ethics and Wisdom." https://insighttimer.com/blog/mcmindfulness-frozen-yoga-miles-neale/

Mitch Abblett Ph.D.

Mitch Abblett, Ph.D. , is a keynote speaker, author, and clinician who helps others own more connection and impact in the raw matter of life ... moments.

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