Time is your most valuable resource, Instead of trying to balance work and leisure why not make money doing what you love? As Rob Moore says, ‘It isn’t time management, it’s life management.’

As you become more productive and make more money your sense of self worth and mood improve and you feel you have more time. However, in a job you’re earning money for someone else and your income is limited by the hourly rate.

The ‘self help’ section of bookshops is one of the biggest and sales of these books increase every year, yet how much of their advice do we actually put into practice? Procrastination is the biggest productivity killer, draining momentum and self esteem. It takes the greatest amount of energy right at the beginning to get started.

How and when do you work at your best? Are you a lark or an owl? Observe your own body’s rhythms and organise your work accordingly. Timetable the most creative, intellectually demanding tasks for when you are most alert. Of course you also need time to relax and have fun, but even then it’s important that you choose the activities you put your energies into well. Do they support your goals and your growth? Live life to the full and satisfy your need for variety and mental stimulation. Experiencing joy is part of looking after yourself and will help boost your energy and inspire those around you.

And how about that to-do list? Prioritise the jobs that need doing, do the most important tasks first and everything after that will seem easier. The Pareto principle states that 80% of your progress comes from 20% of your work, so do that important 20% first to get the maximum return on your energy investment. Stop before you become overwhelmed, celebrate your small successes, reward yourself for your achievements.

David Allen, in his book Getting Things Done’ has a great way of pre-filtering the to-do list – the 4D method – Do, Defer, Delegate, Delete!

  • Do it if it will take less than 2 minutes.
  • Defer it to your calendar if only you can do it and it will take longer than a few minutes.
  • Delegate it if you can think of somebody else can do it.
  • Delete it if really doesn’t matter to you.

To boost your creativity and productivity, factor periods of undisturbed, quiet thought into your daily schedule in a conducive environment, one that is warm, light and comfortable and make sure you take holidays completely disconnected from work.