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A publication from Medium on personal development.

Time Management

In Forge. More on Medium.

📋 Today’s tip: Fill in the blanks to figure out your focus.

In Forge’s new five-day course, What Should You Really Be Doing With Your Life?, Felicia C. Sullivan suggests a thought exercise to help identify your purpose at work. Try defining your purpose in a simple sentence: I seek to ______________ (your contribution) so that _________________ (impact).

As Sullivan puts it, “Your ‘why’ keeps you focused and helps you evaluate roles and opportunities to determine if they’re speaking to your core.” …

🗓️ Today’s tip: Balance your time with a “one for them, one for me” approach.

In Forge’s new five-day course, What Should You Really Be Doing With Your Life?, Felicia C. Sullivan offers lots of great, actionable tips that can help you find your focus and live the life you want. Sometimes, she reminds us, living the life you want has a lot to do with managing where you spend your time.

Sullivan shares a tip from brand designer and illustrator Krista Elvey: The struggle between chasing your wildest, weirdest creative impulses and paying your bills is very real. So…

Forge Career Course

Today, we’ll focus on time — including all the ways you spend and squander it — to design your ideal day

Illustration: Julia Moburg

This is day one of a five-day course on finding what you’re meant to do. Read our introduction post, which includes an overview of each day.

The writer Zadie Smith once said, “Time is how you spend your love,” and I believe this to be true. Before you start your journey to rediscover your purpose, you’ll need to take a step back and evaluate how you’ve been spending your precious minutes each day.

This means looking at where or with whom you place your energy and how you want to spend your time in the future. Our lives don’t radically…

🤔 Today’s tip: Ask yourself, when in the day am I most energetic?

You’ve probably fallen into the Coffee Trap before, wherein you have your first cup of coffee and suddenly, as the caffeine courses through you, decide you can conquer the world that day…only to find yourself rethinking your ambitions a few hours later. The good news is, these energy peaks and valleys can work to your advantage.

The TodoistOfficial Instagram account makes a great point: The key to daily productivity is scheduling around energy, because “timing is integral to our decisions, actions, and reactions.” So look at the…

📂 Today’s tip: Use your Drafts folder.

Here’s the task-prioritization hack to try when you’re tired of to-do lists and calendars. Jason Chatfield writes on Medium that this is a trick that works “100% of the millionty zillion times I’ve done it”: At the start of the week, write out, or at least start, the main emails that you have to write. You can also just start an email with the subject line reflecting something that needs to get done that week. (For example: “Touching base with Jason about Project Z’s deliverables.”) …

🗓 ️Today’s tip: Ask yourself, “Where are the holes in my schedule?”

Fun is all well and good once you’ve finished your homework…but the problem is, when you’re a grownup, you’re never finished with your homework. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t make time for fun. As entrepreneurship coach Charlene Walters writes on Medium, it’s easier than you might think. Look for holes in your schedule, she advises, and “search for places that you have downtime that you can better allocate. Maybe you’re spending 10 hours a week watching Netflix without realizing it. …

Today’s tip: Time out your morning routine.

In her fun (and foul-mouthed) No F*cks Given podcast, Sarah Knight offers a solution to chronic lateness that’s shockingly simple: 1) Identify when you are most prone to lateness and rushing—for most people, this is the morning. 2) Time how long it takes you to do all the things (in the morning, maybe this includes showering, making coffee, and then either commuting or shuffling over to your couch). 3) Time it again the next day, and the next.

Voila, now you know how much time you really, actually need. Allow yourself that…

Cal Newport’s advice for automating your workflow

Photo: 10,000 Hours/Getty Images

Email is a thief disguised as convenience — and its sneaky energy-sucking threatens to ruin our work lives.

Replying to emails and company message threads never feels like it should count as “real” work. After all, have you ever seen a job posting that lists “quick with tonally appropriate Slack emojis” or “a whiz at inbox zero” among a candidate’s ideal skills? Yet, most of us spend upward of a third of our workdays feeding what the author and Georgetown professor Cal Newport calls “the hyperactive hive mind workflow.” …

Today’s tip: Track your weekend hours to maximize your fun.

Does it ever feel like your weekend just evaporates into thin air? By Monday night, you’re exhausted again (or still), and can’t even remember what you did all weekend. Here’s the thing: the weekend actually includes about 37 waking hours, as Laura Vanderkam points out in Forge. Chances are, you spend a lot of those hours puttering around, scrolling, and/or trying to remember what it was you actually wanted to do.

But as Vanderkam notes, we should be as mindful of our leisure hours as we are with our work…

You probably have more leisure time than you think. Here’s how to maximize it.

Magnifying glasses looking at an alarm clock.
Magnifying glasses looking at an alarm clock.
Illustration: Dora Godfrey/ Medium

The time between the moment you close your laptop on Friday and the moment your alarm goes off on Monday morning can feel shockingly short. But it isn’t. Assuming eight hours of sleep a night, there are 37 waking hours between 5 p.m. Friday and 10 p.m. Sunday. That’s nearly the equivalent of a full work week — which seldom feels like it disappears into nothingness, even for people who like their jobs.

But a key difference between weekdays and weekends is that work hours have built-in accountability. We think through how we’re going to spend our working hours with…

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