Category Archives: Productivity

111 Motivational Business Quotes

Running a business is hard work and often emotional. It’s easy to lose motivation and feel the urge to give up. Remember that nothing worth having comes easy and, in the end, it may be the most rewarding thing in the world. I’ve compiled

  1. The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same. – Carlos Castaneda
  2. My son is now an ‘entrepreneur’. That’s what you’re called when you don’t have a job. – Ted Turner
  3. You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take – Wayne Gretzky
  4. Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. Thomas A. Edison
  5. Those who say it can not be done, should not interrupt those doing it. – Chinese Proverb
  6. The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer. – Nolan Bushnell
  7. There’s no shortage of remarkable ideas, what’s missing is the will to execute them. – Seth Godin
  8. Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right! – Henry Ford
  9. We generate fears while we sit. We overcome them by action. Fear is nature’s way of warning us to get busy. – Dr. Henry Link
  10. You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don’t do too many things wrong. – Warren Buffett
  11. You must be the change you wish to see in the world. – Mahatma Gandhi
  12. I like thinking big. If you’re going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big. – Donald Trump
  13. Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better. Jim Rohn
  14. To think is easy. To act is difficult. To act as one thinks is the most difficult. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goeth
  15. “Some people dream of great accomplishments, while others stay awake and do them.” Anonymous
  16. Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve. Thoughts are things! And powerful things at that, when mixed with definiteness of purpose, and burning desire, can be translated into riches. – Napoleon Hill
  17. Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all time thing. You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing. – Vince Lombardi
  18. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. – Steve Jobs
  19. Never put off until tomorrow what you can avoid altogether. – Unknown
  20. It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. – Charles Darwin
  21. Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. – Thomas Edison
  22. The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. Remember, the greatest failure is to not try. Once you find something you love to do, be the best at doing it. – Debbi Fields
  23. Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy. Norman Vincent Peale
  24.  “A goal is a dream with a deadline.” Napoleon Hill
  25. If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours. – Ray Kroc
  26. The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary. – Vidal Sassoon
  27. Yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games. – Babe Ruth
  28. Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning. – Bill Gates
  29. The winners in life think constantly in terms of I can, I will, and I am. Losers, on the other hand, concentrate their waking thoughts on what they should have or would have done, or what they can’t do. – Dennis Waitley
  30. “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.” Vince Lombardi
  31. There are two types of people who will tell you that you cannot make a difference in this world: those who are afraid to try and those who are afraid you will succeed.” Ray Goforth
  32. Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions. – Albert Einstein
  33. One finds limits by pushing them. – Herbert Simon
  34. Every accomplishment starts with a decision to try. – Unknown
  35. “The secret of success is to do the common things uncommonly well.” John D. Rockefeller
  36. To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart. – Sr. Thomas Watson
  37. Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, you ought to set up a life you don’t need to escape from. – Seth Godin
  38. Surviving a failure gives you more self–confidence. Failures are great learning tools… but they must be kept to a minimum. – Jeffrey Immelt
  39. Saying no to loud people gives you the resources to say yes to important opportunities. – Seth Godin
  40. You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself, any direction you choose. – Dr. Seuss
  41. The man who will use his skill and constructive imagination to see how much he can give for a dollar, instead of how little he can give for a dollar, is bound to succeed. – Henry Ford
  42. Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly and get on with improving your other innovations. – Steve Jobs
  43. The successful man is the one who finds out what is the matter with his business before his competitors do. – Roy L. Smith
  44. Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there. – Will Rogers
  45. You must either modify your dreams or magnify your skills. – Jim Rohn
  46. Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it. – Dwight Eisenhower
  47. Ideas in secret die. They need light and air or they starve to death. – Seth Godin
  48. A calm sea does not make a skilled sailor. – Unknown
  49. What would you attempt to do if you knew you would not fail? Robert Schuller
  50. Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it. Henry David Thoreau
  51. You’ve got to say, I think that if I keep working at this and want it badly enough, I can have it. It’s called perseverance. – Lee Iacocca
  52. If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to meet it! – Jonathan Winters
  53. People don’t believe what you tell them. They rarely believe what you show them. They often believe what their friends tell them. They always believe what they tell themselves. – Seth Godin
  54. Long–range planning works best in the short term. – Doug Evelyn
  55. Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety–nine percent perspiration. – Thomas A. Edison
  56. To the degree we’re not living our dreams; our comfort zone has more control of us than we have over ourselves. – Peter McWilliams
  57. People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily. – Zig Ziglar
  58. “Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” –Winston Churchill
  59. “The secret of success is consistency of purpose.” – Benjamin Disraeli
  60. Once you free yourself from the need for perfect acceptance, it’s a lot easier to launch work that matters. – Seth Godin
  61. A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him. – David Brinkley
  62. I had to make my own living and my own opportunity! But I made it! Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them! – C.J. Walker
  63. There is no royal, flower-strewn path to success. And if there is, I have not found it. For if I have accomplished anything in life, it is because I have been willing to work hard. – C.J. Walker
  64. The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. – Confucius
  65. The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency. – Bill Gates
  66. The cynic says, One man can’t do anything. I say, Only one man can do anything. – John W. Gardner
  67. If you are not willing to risk the usual you will have to settle for the ordinary. – Jim Rohn
  68. “Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.” – John Maxwell
  69. The absolute fundamental aim is to make money out of satisfying customers. – John Egan
  70. Let no feeling of discouragement prey upon you, and in the end you are sure to succeed. – Abraham Lincoln
  71. You need to be aware of what others are doing, applaud their efforts, acknowledge their successes, and encourage them in their pursuits. When we all help one another, everybody wins. – Jim Stovall
  72. The man who does not work for the love of work but only for money is likely to neither make money nor find much fun in life. –Charles M. Schwab
  73. The most serious mistakes are not being made as a result of wrong answers. The truly dangerous thing is asking the wrong question. –Peter Drucker
  74. Identify your problems but give your power and energy to solutions. –Tony Robbins
  75. Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out. – John Wooden
  76. When your life flashes before your eyes, make sure you’ve got plenty to watch. – Anonymous
  77. You live longer once you realize that any time spent being unhappy is wasted. – Ruth E. Renkl
  78. The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity. – Peter F. Drucker
  79. Hire character. Train skill. – Peter Schutz
  80. I don’t pay good wages because I have a lot of money; I have a lot of money because I pay good wages. – Robert Bosch
  81. “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” – Albert Einstein
  82. Let’s be honest. There’s not a business anywhere that is without problems. Business is complicated and imperfect. Every business everywhere is staffed with imperfect human beings and exists by providing a product or service to other imperfect human beings. –Bob Parsons
  83. You must remain focused on your journey to greatness. – Les Brown
  84. Why did I want to win? Because I didn’t want to lose! – Max Schmelling
  85. Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears. – Les Brown
  86. Capital isn’t scarce; vision is. – Sam Walton
  87. “Failure defeats losers, failure inspires winners.” – Robert T. Kiyosaki
  88. Poor people have big TV. Rich people have big library.” Jim Rohn
  89. “Nobody talks of entrepreneurship as survival, but that’s exactly what it is.” Anita Roddick
  90. “I find that when you have a real interest in life and a curious life, that sleep is not the most important thing.”Martha Stewart
  91. “Stop chasing the money and start chasing the passion.” Tony Hsieh
  92. “Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s the determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.”   Mario Andretti
  93. “If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.” –  Steve Jobs
  94. Don’t let the fear of losing be greater than the excitement of winning.” –  Robert Kiyosaki
  95. “Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” – John D. Rockefeller
  96.  “The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.” – Bruce Lee
  97. The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.” –  Franklin D. Roosevelt
  98. “The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do.” – Unknown
  99. I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.” – Thomas Jefferson
  100. Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston S. Churchill
  101. “In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can.” – Nikos Kazantzakis
  102. “I failed my way to success.” – Thomas Edison
  103. “The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.” – Barack Obama
  104. “I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure–It is: Try to please everybody.” – Herbert Bayard Swope
  105. Progress always involves risks. You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first. –  Frederick B Wilcox
  106. “Fall seven times and stand up eight.” – Japanese Proverb
  107. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. –  Mark Twain
  108. The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra. –  Jimmy Johnson
  109. “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney
  110.  “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” – Jim Rohn
  111. “The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones that do.” – Anonymous

 

10 Best Self Help Books You Should Read By Age 30

1) How to Win Friends & Influence People
by: Dale Carnegie

2) The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
by: Eckhart Tolle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3) The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
by: Stephen R. Covey

4) The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom
by: Don Miguel Ruiz

5) The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
by: Charles Duhigg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6) Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time
by:  Brian Tracy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7) Thinking, Fast and Slow
by:  Daniel Kahneman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 ) The Last Lecture
by:  Randy Pausch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9) Man’s Search For Meaning

by:  Viktor E. Frankl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


10) The Traveler’s Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success

by:  Andy Andrews

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Effective Ways On How to Wake Up Early

Waking up early is one of the best ways to be more productive. Some of us might find it difficult to wake up early, but the good news is that there are effective techniques that you can practice to help you wake up earlier.

So are you ready to stop giving your snooze button so much action?

10 Effective Methods to Waking Up Early

  1. Wake up 10 minutes earlier each day.
    If you have set your alarm earlier only to find yourself constantly pressing “snooze” until your regular wake-up time, your body probably needs time to adjust. If your normal wake-up time is 8am, you might not succeed at waking up at 5 am immediately. So instead of aiming for a 5 am wake-up right away, gradually wake up earlier by setting your alarm only 10 minutes earlier than your regular wake-up time. Keep doing this every day until you feel adjusted to the new time. This might seem slow to some people, but sudden changes of an hour earlier is usually difficult and not likely not be consistent.
    My personal experience - When I first tried waking up earlier, I set my alarm to an hour earlier than my normal time. I found this to be extremely difficult and could not wake up. For one week, I kept hitting the snooze button until it was actually my “normal time” to wake up. After realizing this wasn’t working for me, I knew I had to do something different. I began setting my alarm to just 10 minutes earlier and was able to wake up to that time without having to hit snooze. I did this for 2 weeks until I felt adjusted to the new time and then, I reset my alarm to wake up 15 minutes earlier. This took 3 weeks for me to feel comfortable and not have the urge to snooze. I repeated this process until I was able to wake up at my desired time of an hour earlier than what was previously my “normal time.” What I learned was that it didn’t matter that it took me 3 months to get used to waking up an hour earlier. The important thing is I was able to do it. Taking a few months to build a good habit is better than never building it at all.
  1. Plan to do something you love in the morning.
    If your goal is to jog in the morning, but you don’t like jogging, you associate waking up early with something unpleasant. You won’t be motivated to jump out of bed because you’ll feel that waking up early is punishment. However, when you plan to do something you love in the morning, you have a reason to wake up early. For example, if there is something exciting that you want to read or an inspiring podcast that you want to listen to, that will motivate you to get up. You can also change your alarm ring tone to play your favorite music.
  1. Jump out of bed immediately when you hear the alarm and head to the bathroom.
    When your alarm rings, ignore all the urges to have “just another minute” of sleep. Immediately, open your eyes and jump out of bed with enthusiasm. Turn off your alarm and make it a habit to go straight to the bathroom. Once you turn on your bathroom light and wash your face, you are much less likely to go back to bed.Tip:If your house is cold during the winter, you might find the urge to sleep in to stay warm. Make getting up easier by putting a robe on your night table so it is ready for you in the morning.
  1. Put your alarm across the room (but not too far that you can’t hear it!)
    If your alarm is right next to you, you’ll hit the snooze button. If you put it across the room, you have to get up to turn it off. But don’t just walk right back to your bed and sleep some more! Go straight to the bathroom. There are also vibrating, and even moving alarm clocks, that you can purchase to help you wake up.Tip: If you have someone sleeping in the same room or in another room, you might be worried that setting a loud alarm and leaving it across the room will also wake them up. To solve this, have a soft alarm set next to your bed so that you can turn it off quickly and have a loud alarm across the room set for a few minutes later. Since you do not want to wake up anyone else, you will be motivated to wake up to your soft alarm and walk across the room before the loud alarm rings. Once you turn off the loud alarm, go straight to the bathroom.
  1. Create accountability by setting appointments in the morning.
    When you arrange meetings with others early in the morning, you feel accountable to wake up early and prepare for the appointment. This is especially effective if it’s something really important and cannot be rescheduled.
  1. Sleep well.
    If you’re planning to wake up at 5 am, make sure you go to bed at a reasonable time. It’s obvious that the earlier you want to wake up, the earlier you should sleep at night. If you normally sleep from 12 to 9 am, you cannot expect to be have a productive day by continuing to sleep at midnight and forcing yourself to wake up at 5 am. You might succeed getting up the first day, but you will be miserable trying to get through the day and eventually, crashing the next day. Having sufficient sleep makes waking up early an easier task and allows you to be more productive throughout the day. Getting a good night sleep also means maintaining an effective night time routine.
  1. Don’t snooze.
    As tempting as it may seem, don’t hit the snooze button when your alarm goes off in the morning. You might think the extra few minutes will give you more time to wake up, but it does more harm than good. Hitting your snooze button doesn’t give you more of the restful REM sleep. In fact, snoozing and trying to get an extra 10 minutes of sleep might cause you to wake up even more tired.When your alarm rings, try to resist the snooze temptation and just get up. If you find it to be extremely difficult, try sleeping half an hour earlier at night. Otherwise, if you snooze often, it eventually becomes a habit and your mind will start to ignore the alarm. As the saying goes, “you snooze, you lose!”
  1. Wake up the same time every day, including weekends.
    When you make it a habit to wake up the same time every day, your body becomes conditioned and regulates your sleep patterns. Over time, your body will actually begin to wake up even before your alarm sounds. Otherwise, if you keep sleeping and waking up at different times throughout the week, your body clock has to constantly adjust, which makes building this habit much harder.
  1. Share your goal and work on it with someone else.
    If you share your goal with family and friends, it creates accountability for you to wake up early. Try to find someone else who wants to awake up early as well so that the two of you can motivate each other. For example, both of you can trying calling each other in the morning to ensure that the other is awake. There are also free wake up services you can use, including WakeupDialer.com.
  1. Be mentally prepared.
    Saying “I’m not a morning person” is a limiting belief. Self-belief is a self-fulfilling prophecy and changing this self-belief to “I like waking up early and being productive” can subtly change your behavior. Before you sleep, it also helps to recite the time you want to wake up and the goals you want to accomplish when you wake up. When you have a compelling reason to wake up, you will be determined to wake up, no matter how sleepy you are.

Waking up early may not come easy at first, but with enough persistence and determination, you can eventually build this into a habit!

5 Productive Starts for a Successful Morning

What makes highly successful people happier, less stressed, and more productive? One of the ways is how they start their mornings!

Successful people know that time is precious and the importance of having a productive morning. The morning is the foundation from which the rest of the day is built on and can predict the kind of day you’re going to have. How you choose to start your morning will have an impact on how you feel throughout the day. Choose to start your morning by being productive and you will feel happier and more refreshed throughout the day. Waking up late, rushing, and scrambling to get things done in the morning will cause you to feel more stressed and tired during the day.

Below is a list of 5 ways to get your morning off to a great start!

1)    Wake up early – When you wake up before the rest of the world wakes up, you have time to focus on what you need to do before you get distracted by meetings, emails, and phone calls. Waking up at 5:30 am gives you  more opportunities to fulfill your personal priorities first and do things that matter to you.

Tip: If you have a hard time getting up in the morning, try going to sleep earlier the night before and gradually wake up 10 minutes earlier each week for the next two weeks, or until you have no issues waking up to the new time. Then, wake up 20 minutes earlier for the next three weeks. Gradually wake up a few minutes earlier each time so that you barely notice the change from day to day. Read additional tips on how to wake up earlier.

2)    Exercise - Many people put off exercising until later in the day, and then not end up exercising because they “ran out of time.” Whether it’s going to the gym, jogging around your neighborhood, or doing yoga, getting that exercise first thing in the morning helps reduce stress later in the day. It gives you a boost of energy for the day and that sense of accomplishment. Exercise has many benefits and not only will it make you think clearer, but you will also be healthier rand scientifically happier.

3)    Eat a healthy breakfast You most likely have heard people say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A healthy breakfast provides the nutrients and energy to jump-start your day. Your brain needs fuel and having that healthy breakfast can boost your productivity and focus. Eat “brain foods” that give you a mental edge, including eggs, nuts, oats, and fruits. If you don’t feel hungry in the morning, you might be eating too much for dinner.

Not only is having breakfast beneficial for your physical health, but it is a great opportunity to sit at the table and spend time with your family. Or if you live by yourself, you can read or listen to something positive and inspiring while you enjoy your bowl of oatmeal.

4)    Focus on projects that require your full attention – Take advantage of the quiet hours of the morning and complete the most important projects early in the day when your willpower is still high. Having that time to yourself allows you to focus without being interrupted. Everyone has a dreaded task that they would like to procrastinate on. Instead of having it loom over you throughout the day, get it out of the way as early as possible and the rest of the day will be much easier. As tempting as it may be to check your Facebook, it’s a good idea to eliminate these distractions until you have completed the important work.

5)    Plan your day – Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Planning can be done either the night before or the morning of. Spend a few minutes to write down the tasks and goals you want to achieve for the upcoming day. Prioritize and schedule your appointments.  It’s also a good idea to refer back to your list during the day to help you stay on track. Make sure you schedule in some time to relax! Allotting time for breaks will help your day be more manageable and less stressful. In the evening, reflect on your day’s activities. Did you complete what you set out to do? If not, what could you have done differently?

Successful people also know that not only is it important to get a productive start to your morning, but it should be a habit. Keep the same routine every day and you will achieve the results you want. Just like successful people have a productive routine in the morning, they also practice good nighttime habits.

9 Tips to Help Manage Your Time

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” ― H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Ever feel like there aren’t enough hours in a day? Perhaps, you need to review how you manage your time and stop procrastinating. Below are some tips to manage your time effectively.

Time Management Tips

1)      Make a daily to-do list – Prioritize and put the most important tasks at the top of the list. Even if those tasks are dreadful, tackle them first and get it over with instead of dreading and avoiding it throughout the day. Include things you want to do on your list too, so that you have things to look forward to. Try motivating yourself with a reward if you get to everything on your list.

2)     Differentiate between what’s important and what’s urgent – Dwight D. Eisenhower once stated, “what is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.” Don’t fall into the trap of believing that all urgent tasks are also important. Knowing the difference between the two can have a huge impact on managing your time efficiently and effectively.

3)     Take work with you – Anytime you find yourself with extra time, pull your work out. For example, you can bring your work with you to a doctor’s appointment because you may expect to be sitting in the waiting room for a while. This tip is perfect if you commute daily. We can use the time that we spend on the bus or train to get something done.

4)     Say no – Sometimes, in order to get all the important things done on your list, you have to say no to certain things that are not urgent. If you need to get something done today and your friend asks you out to a movie, don’t rush into saying yes right away. It is okay to suggest a different date when you have finished what you needed to do. This can be a difficult task for many people but do your best not to fall into the trap of having that instant gratification.

5)     Find your productive time – Do you find yourself being more efficient in the morning or at night? If you’re a morning person, try waking up earlier.  Starting your day an hour earlier can help you complete your tasks faster so that you can spend more time during the day doing things that you want to do guiltlessly.

6)     Set uninterrupted time each day for yourself – Set up a time devoted only to completing your work. During that time, don’t surf the web, check your email or respond to texts. If it is an emergency, people will call you. Check your messages and respond at certain times during the day, such as once every two hours. If you need to check messages as they arrive, limit each session to less than five minutes. You’ll find yourself being much more productive.

7)     Set up a schedule – Figure out how much time you need to get your own work done and determine how much free time you have after that. Don’t make too many commitments if you don’t think you will have time to keep all of them without sacrificing the time you set aside for your own work. Don’t forget to schedule time to relax.

8)    Set reasonable deadlines – When you set reasonable deadlines for yourself, it gives you motivation to meet it. Even if it is something that you need to do on a daily basis, plan to get the task done before a certain time in the day.

9)     Review your progress – At the end of the day, review what you have accomplished. See if you were able to complete all your tasks for the day. If not, review to see if you wasted any time and how you can avoid time wasters. Then, make a new list for the next day in order of importance.

The Difference Between Urgent and Important Tasks

“What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower

Do you ever feel like you’re always busy working, yet your list of things to do never seem to get any shorter? Or you feel like you’re getting a lot of things done, but you’re not actually making any progress with your long-term goals? Remember that being busy doesn’t necessarily equate to being productive. You might be struggling with understanding the difference between what’s really important for you and what’s merely urgent. Understanding this difference can make a huge impact on the quality and productivity of both your personal and professional life.

Great time management means being efficient and effective. This means that we must spend our time on things that are important and not just the ones that are urgent. Knowing the difference will help us overcome our natural tendency to focus on urgent, unimportant tasks so that we can make time to do what’s actually essential for our success.

Urgent tasks are those that require immediate attention and are generally associated with achieving someone else’s goals. These are often the tasks we concentrate on first, yet they are usually not important to our long-term goals. For example, many people perceive a phone call as something that is urgent and one that that needs to be answered right away. However, completing this urgent task is not necessarily important and, often times, can be rescheduled to a later time.

Important tasks are those that contribute to our long-term values and goals. These tasks will help us advance our career and our well-being. They don’t have immediate deadlines, but you need to make an effort to complete them in order to achieve your goals.

The Eisenhower Decision Matrix

Stephen Covey, author of the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, popularized Eisenhower’s Decision Matrix, a helpful and inspiring set of principles to help us avoid wasting value time and energy. Use Eisenhower’s Decision Box to identify the quadrant that your activities fall under so that you can prioritize and manage your time better.

  • Important and Urgent – Q1 consists tasks that are urgent and contribute to fulfilling your long-term goals and missions in life. These are crises and problems, such as having cholesterol problems and you need to get a full body health check, or a term paper deadline for a class you need to pass in order to graduate. Completing these tasks will help you achieve your desired outcomes in life.
  • Important but not Urgent – The tasks in Q2 help you achieve your personal and professional goals, but are not time-sensitive. This includes learning a new skill and strengthening relationships. Beware of this quadrant because, since these activities aren’t pressing for our attention, we typically keep them there forever. For example, how many times have you put off exercising because it’s not urgent? We tell ourselves we’ll get to those things someday after you take care of all this “urgent” (but not important) stuff. What if “someday” never comes? You’ll be delaying your important tasks for a long time! According to Stephen Covey, we should seek to spend most of our time in this second quadrant. Fulfilling these tasks will provide us with lasting happiness, fulfillment, and success. Invest your time in Q2 activities and you can prevent many of the crises and problems of Q1.
  • Not Important but Urgent– Q3 tasks are those that other people want you to do that delay you from achieving your goals and do not contribute to your own desired outcomes. See if you can reschedule or delegate these tasks. For example, if you receive a phone call from your friend during your productive hours, ask if you can call him or her back later. Then, create a time slot, or “office hours” for those you interrupted you, so that you can deal with all those interruptions at once. This will allow you to concentrate on your important tasks for longer. Don’t fall into this quadrant’s trap and spend a lot of time and energy on urgent tasks that are not important. Many people spend time on Q3 tasks, thinking they’re working on Q1 tasks. Q3 tasks are not necessarily bad, but you may not want to constantly please others at the expense of your own happiness.
  • Not Important and not Urgent – Q4 tasks are simply time wasters, and includes watching TV, playing video games, and scrolling through Facebook, Twitter, and Instragram.  Avoid these distractions as much as possible. That’s not to say you have to get rid of all these activities; just don’t let them get in your way of accomplishing your goals. If you have completed what you have set to accomplish for the day, reward yourself by watching your favorite TV show before you sleep and get ready for the next day. Sometimes, knowing that you will have a reward waiting for you helps you to stay motivated throughout the day.

Prioritize and plan!

In summary, invest your time in Q2 activities to eliminate crises of Q1, balance the requests of Q3 with your own needs, and reward yourself with Q4 activities after you have completed the tasks in all the other quadrants.

The secret to effective and efficient time management is prioritize your tasks and activities based on their importance and urgency. Don’t spend your days busy rushing to complete tasks that have no lasting benefit for you and then have no energy to do anything else.

Download this Eisenhower Decision Matrix Worksheet – We have created this free worksheet for you to download and apply to your own life. Make a list of the tasks you spend most of your time and assign them to the appropriate quadrants in the matrix. Doing so can give you an idea of what activities you should be focusing on and what activities you can ignore.

7 Ways to Stop Procrastinating

Do you find yourself having tasks that you need to accomplish yet you find yourself putting them off? Maybe you tell yourself you perform better under pressure, that you’ll do the work when you have more “free” time, or that you are just not in the “right” mood to do them now. What if you never have more “free” time or if that “right” mood never comes? Whichever excuse you may find yourself giving, it doesn’t change the fact that you are procrastinating what needs to get done.

Procrastination affects everyone to a certain degree, but the difference is that not everyone takes the effort to overcome procrastination and manage their self-control. But you have what it takes to resist the urge to procrastinate. Yes, you. By reading this, you already acknowledge that procrastination only hurts yourself, and it is a challenge that you need to surpass. It is important to know what causes procrastination so we can overcome it.

7 Tips on Overcoming Procrastination

1)      Make a To-Do List – Write down everything you have to do. The Eisenhower Decision Matrix can help you prioritize your tasks in terms of its importance and urgency. Write down any consequences that can incur if the tasks do not get accomplished. Be as specific as possible.

2)      Set reasonable deadlines – Allow reasonable time to complete the tasks and set a short amount of time aside for breaks and possible interruptions. Do not give yourself too much time or else you’ll find yourself procrastinating and do not give yourself too little time, as you may feel pressure and give up. A helpful way to follow the deadlines that you set for yourself is to mark the deadlines down on a calendar or a planner. You can also set up an alarm on your cell phone to remind yourself.

3)      Divide up the task – If the task will take a long time, divide it into smaller tasks and spread it out over several days. Treat this as multiple tasks and write down the deadlines for completing each of the small tasks. This way you wouldn’t feel overwhelmed thinking that you have to do it all at once.

4)      Change your expectations – Often times, we procrastinate because we are waiting for the “perfect moment.” We want to have everything ready and in a certain way before we even begin. Although perfection may be desirable, don’t delay what needs to get done by waiting for the perfect moment that may never come. Doing nothing and waiting for the right moment will cause you to waste good opportunities. Instead, get started with what you have and work out difficulties when they do arise.

5)      Reward yourself – Each time you complete a task, give yourself a reward, such as a five-minute Facebook break or a healthy treat.

6)      Check off what is accomplished – Refer back to your To-Do List and check off the tasks you have completed. Seeing what you have accomplished will not only make you feel great about yourself, but will also keep you motivated to continue with the rest of the tasks on your To-Do list.

7)      Make this a habit - The bright side is that procrastination is a learned behavior and therefore it can be unlearned. With enough effort and practice, you can overcome procrastination.

Now that you know 7 easy ways to help you stop procrastination, avoid making excuses, and start your tasks now. Don’t wait until the perfect time to do something because you might end up never even doing it. It’s time to overcome your procrastination habits!

The Causes and Cures of Procrastination

You tell yourself that you’ll wake up in another 10  minutes, that you just need 5 minutes to check Facebook, or that you just want to watch one last episode of this drama. Soon enough, you find yourself spending the next few hours procrastinating. With the expansion of the Internet and social media, procrastinating is getting easier and taking more self-control to resist its temptation. Realizing that you need to end your procrastination habit before it gets any worse is a good first step.

Before we break our bad habit of procrastinating, we need to find out the root causes of procrastination. So what is procrastination and how can we overcome it?

5 Causes and Cures of Procrastination

1)      Fear of Failure – Some people procrastinate because they fear that no matter how much effort they put into something, they still might not do well. An example of this type of thinking is, “No matter how much I study, I know I’m still not going to get a good grade in this class.” This kind of negative thinking will cause you not to try at all, thus leading to procrastination. Instead, practicing positive thinking will motivate you into trying and starting your tasks now.

2)     Laziness – This is the feeling that you don’t have to do the tasks now. You convince yourself that you’ll work on it later when you’re in a better mood.  A way to cure laziness and give yourself motivation to start your task is to reward yourself if you start now. When you give yourself a reward for completing something now instead of later, you will feel less lazy and more driven to accomplish the task sooner.a

3)     Lack of focus – Distractions are everywhere and you must learn to ignore them. Every small break you take to check your Facebook or email distracts you from the task at hand and causes you to lose your focus. One helpful tip is to seclude yourself in a room where you are unable to do anything else but the task that needs to get done. Disconnect your Internet and shut off your cell phone if you have to. Instead of checking your email every 10 minutes, set certain times throughout the day to check your email and phone calls.

4)     Disorganization –When you are disorganized, you are more likely to procrastinate. A cure for this is to keep an organized list of tasks that you need to complete. Prioritize the tasks and a set deadline for each based on how important and urgent the task is.

5)     Expecting Perfection – Many people procrastinate because they pursue perfectionism. They fear doing a task poorly, thus they wait until they are more organized with their time and resources. Having this perfectionistic attitude only hinders you from starting your task early. Instead, you should realize that nothing can be absolutely perfect and by waiting, you are only wasting your own time.

It is important to understand the causes of procrastination so that you can work on stopping procrastination. Procrastination is a learned behavior and therefore, with the right amount of effort and persistence, we can all take the necessary steps to overcoming procrastination.