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Top to-do-list mistakes that you should avoid at any cost

Organising yourself with to-do-lists, whether in traditional paper form or with the help of new-fangled mobile apps is a great way to get more out of your day. However, this handy method of keeping on track needs to be done properly otherwise you could end up derailing your attempts at leading a productive life. Here are a few classic mistakes that you should try and avoid.

Mistake 1 – Long lists
One direct way to sabotage your success is to include too many tasks on your to-do-list. If you’re including projects that are going to take months or weeks to complete, then you’ll simply become overwhelmed. Instead you should try and break things down into smaller ‘subtasks’ and be realistic about what you might be able to get done in a day. You’ll have a greater feeling of achievement if you can tick off small jobs which will mean you can maintain your motivation.

Mistake 2 – Treating all of your tasks equally
To create an effective to-do-list you need to be able to prioritize. Not only should you only include achievable tasks, but you should also grade them as to how urgent they actually are. Go down your list and add a score from one to three with regards to importance and then begin tackling them in that order.

Mistake 3 – Not making a new list
Many people that try out to-do-lists will create one big list at the start of the week and that’s it. The problem with this approach is that everyday our priorities change, and without a regular appraisal of your pending tasks you end up with an outdated list that allows jobs to fall through the cracks.

Mistake 4 – Deviating from your list
Another common problem that conspires to derail our productivity is the introduction of random tasks. A to-do-list should be exhaustive of everything that you really need to achieve that day. If you allow extra tasks to take over then you can end up back at square one. If something needs doing then it needs to go on your to-do-list along with a calculation of how important it is, otherwise you’ll spend the entire day distracted with jobs that might not be all that important.

Mistake 5 – Using multiple lists
It’s a big enough challenge to keep one to-do-list up to date. If you have multiple lists written down on paper, on your phone, on your computer and on another device then you’ll quickly find yourself spinning out of control. The best approach is to have one definitive list that you keep up to date throughout the day and generally speaking the best medium is a plain old-fashioned pen and paper.

Mistake 6 – Forgetting to add expected durations
Let’s say you’ve given yourself a dedicated half an hour for lunch at midday. It gets to 12:15 and you’ve finished a big project early. What do you do with those 15 minutes? You could surf the internet, read the newspaper, check your social media, or you could start on a new task on your to-do-list. However, most likely you won’t want to start work on a job that you’ll only be able to dip your toes into in those 15 minutes of allocated time. There’ll be plenty of tasks on your to-do-list which might only take 10 or 15 minutes, but without writing down the estimated time to complete a job next to each task you won’t know where to start. Make this a key part of your to-do-list to help you get more out of those unexpected periods of free time.

What’s your favourite approach to to-do-lists? Do you have any special techniques or strategies that help you smash your tasks? Let us know by connecting on social media at @TimeForYouGroup.

Secret time management strategies that could save you 8 hours a week

Do you ever feel like there’s not enough hours in the day? You’re not alone. A great many people feel overworked, stressed to the max and generally unable to relax. When you’re stuck between jobs, household chores, the school run and other time-draining tasks, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Here are some ways that you can reclaim some critical hours during the week and free up some time for you!

  1. Analyse your week
    If you can’t monitor it, you can’t measure it. To understand where all your time is going you need to do a thorough log of all your activities during the week. Jot down everything you do during the day and how long it takes you. You’ll then easily be able to see what’s taking up the most time, or where you could shave some valuable minutes. Every little helps and it could all add up to an extra half an hour where you can put your feet up and enjoy a cup of tea.

  2. Adopt a to-do-list
    One way to achieve more out of your day and free up time later on is to adopt a to-do-list. You can list all your priorities in once place and then highlight what is most important or urgent so that you can focus your energies in the right areas.  

  3. Take breaks
    Believe it or not - you will get more work done if you spend less time working. Studies show that one of the most effective ways of working is the so-called Pomodoro Technique. Said to improve focus and increase creativity it encourages people to work in 25-minute periods, taking a 5-minute break after each period. After four of these 25-minute periods have passed you then take a 15-minute break.  After employing this technique for 7-20 days users reportedly notice a profound difference in their ability to handle their workload.

  4. Reduce your exposure to distractions
    Once people begin to observe their daily tasks, social media is frequently reported as one of the major drains on time.  The instant gratification of checking social media feeds on websites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – even just a couple of times every hour – can add up through the day. One way to check your social media less frequently is to turn off your notifications on your mobile phone for everything apart from calls and texts and only checking them at the end of the day.

  5. Group similar tasks together
    Another way to free up lots of time is to group similar jobs together. Whether it’s making phone calls, doing the ironing, sorting through belongings, paying bills or something entirely different. If you prepare everything you need for that particular run of jobs, then you will be able to blast through it much quicker.

  6. Plan your weekly shop and your meals
    A big source of food waste and wasted time comes from not preparing yourself for your weekly meals. If you plan out exactly what you’ll be eating for the week then you save extra trips to the shop or supermarket to top up on what you have you in your cupboards. If you want to go one step further, you could even prepare your meals for the next 7 days one night a week and freeze them ready for you to take to work or quickly dish out in the evenings.

  7. Multitask
    When it comes to household chores you can get much more done if you take on mini-chores as you pass through the house and especially if you can encourage your whole family to adopt this approach as well. For example, if you have to pick up some bread from the shop and the dog also needs taking for a walk – why not do both together? It sounds simple but if you do this regularly it can be very effective.

  8. Be well rested
    It might sound counter-productive but going to bed early is one of the best ways to get the most out of your day. A calm, rested brain is likely to handle day-to-day tasks much easier than one which stayed up all night binging on Netflix dramas!

We hope you find a few of these things effective in reclaiming hours from your busy schedule. Have any of these strategies worked for you? Want to share your own tips? Tweet us at @TimeForYouGroup or visit our tips and advice page for more inspirational content:

10 tips for helping your children with their revision

Revision can be tough, not only for students but also for parents. Children can find it very hard to stay motivated, especially after a long day at school, and parents can feel the strain themselves trying to fit homework and other school support tasks into their own busy schedules. Here are some ways to help your child get more out of revision.

  1. What type of learner is your child?
    Everyone has different ways of learning and teaching your child in a manner that doesn’t suit them can often be the reason for a lack of enthusiasm or comprehension. There are three key types of learning styles – kinesthetic, auditory and visual. Kinesthetic learners work best by learning through movement – this could be movements, gestures, dance or acting. Auditory learners take in information through audio signals, so things like audio recordings and songs and visual learners work best with videos, pictures, shapes, drawings and paintings. Try these different methods of learning out with your children and see which one works best, then adopt it as your prime mode of teaching in the future.

  2. Working to a schedule
    To get the best out of revision it’s important to have a structured timetable. Dedicating specific days to specific subjects, breaking revision down into small chunks with breaks and having clear achievable goals can help your child to settle into a routine and feel a sense of achievement when they meet their targets.

  3. Create a fun but distraction-free workplace
    One of the big obstacles to good homework or exam revision is distractions. If your child has spent the day at school listening to teachers and working hard in class, they may be running low on focus. To combat this, you should try and create a study space for them where they will have as few distractions as possible.  So, switch off the TV, find a table and lay out everything they need like books, papers and stationary and get to work.

  4. Encourage and praise
    We were all young once, and while we want our children to do as well as they possibly can it’s important that you don’t overload your children. Limited flexibility in revision schedules, and a lack of praise can cause concentration levels to dip. Try to praise your children when they do well and cut them some slack with household chores every now and then when they are busy getting to grips with revision.

  5. Try something different
    Research shows that one of the least effective forms of revision is the old school method of reading and copying down important information. Less conventional learning methods such as quizzes, flash cards, post-it notes, discussions and even YouTube learning videos can really help bring dull subjects to life.

  6. Use sensible rewards
    It’s not unheard of for parents to ‘bribe’ their little learners with expensive rewards like video games, clothes, phones and even holidays. However, bribery sends out the wrong message to your children, in that you don’t trust them to work hard. You need to signal to your children that they should work hard because of the benefits that come later in life through good exam results and the doors that could open to them. That said, offering small inexpensive treats like some chocolates, or their favourite desert after reaching a revision milestone is fine and can help keep them focused.

  7. Take things outside
    Switching up your learning environment can also have a profound effect on studying prowess. If the weather is nice then try taking your revision exercises outdoors, sit in the garden or a park and do your learning there with a picnic to keep you both going.

  8. Ask for help
    Although we might not want our children to know it, we aren’t living breathing encyclopedias and there are times when your child’s homework will stump you both. When this happens it’s important that you seek out help. Sometimes a quick Google, YouTube video or a conversation with your child’s teacher can help to demystify a subject.

  9. Consider tutoring
    Everyone has strengths and weaknesses and you may find that while you can easily help your child with some subjects, there may be others where someone else could do a better job. This might be your partner, another family member, a family friend or even an outside private tutor with specialist experience and skills to help your child excel.

  10. Keep a positive mindset
    Maintaining a positive attitude is one of the keys to success in revision. If you have a glass half empty approach, then you will set the both of you up for failure. Try to be encouraging instead of critical if you want to foster a can-do attitude. If your child is slacking off, consider why that might be, often it’s not that they are lazy just that are finding that subject difficult, so scolding them will do the very opposite of what you are trying to achieve.

Every child is different and there is no such thing as a one-size fits all approach to revision, but hopefully some of these tips will help you and your child to get the most out of their revision schedules. For more tips and advice please visit our website:

How to use Google Sheets to keep your life organised

What do all super-organised, methodical people rely on the most? Is it a diary? No. Is it post it notes? No. Copious amounts of coffee? No. The answer is a good old-fashioned spreadsheet!

While Microsoft Excel is certainly the most established form of spreadsheet software for managing your life, Google Sheets is the new kid on the block and we rate it highly. Here are a few reasons why we think it rocks.

  1. Realtime updates
    Let’s say you manage a children’s sports team as a hobby and you want to keep players and parents updated with the latest fixtures and training events. With Google Sheets anyone you have shared the spreadsheet link with will get real-time updates every time you need to change or add a date. This means that you no longer have to waste time sending out emails every time you want to make a tiny update.

  2. Avoiding duplication
    With Excel, you could quite easily get lost in a sea of spreadsheets. If you prepared a sheet then sent it to a colleague, friend or family member and they made some changes and sent it back to you it could be very easy to end up in a mess of duplicate copies. With Google Sheets all the changes can be seen as they are made so there is no need to make secondary versions.

  3. Everyday uses
    Spreadsheets aren’t just for data boffins. Everyone can find a use for a spreadsheet. Want to track your spending habits and manage your monthly budget? You can do it with a spreadsheet. Want to make a rota for household chores such as washing the dishes? You can do it with a spreadsheet. Want to help your children keep track of their revision tasks and homework? You can do it with a spreadsheet.

  4. 100’s of templates for you to choose from
    Spreadsheets can help you organize so many things in your life from family calendars to budgeting and even wedding planning - the uses are endless. However, it’s not always easy to know where to start which is where Google’s Sheet Template Gallery comes into its own. Here you can browse a ton of templates with all kinds of uses pre-made, editable and ready to go.

Simple spreadsheets can be a powerful tool for organizing both your work and your daily life. Being able to see what you’ve done already, so you don’t repeat yourself, organizing tasks in a logical way and having somewhere to store good ideas can all make your life a lot less stressful. So, give, Google Sheets a spin and let us know if you find it useful by tweeting us at @TimeForYouGroup.

18 Quotes That Will Inspire You To Achieve Your Goals

Inspiration by nature can arrive entirely out of the blue and when it comes it’s important to grab it and turn it to your advantage. However, sometimes you can go days, weeks even months without ever feeling inspired about anything. In this scenario, you need to hunt it down, Here are 18 inspirational quotes to grease your gears from some of the greatest minds around.

On a positive attitude

“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.” – Roy T. Bennett

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins

“If you are pained by any external thing, it is not this thing that disturbs you but your own judgement about it. And it is in your power to wipe out this judgement now.” – Marcus Aurelius

“If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough” – Mario Andretti

“We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in.” - Arianna Huffington

On knowledge

“We can be knowledgeable with other men’s knowledge, but we can’t be wise with other men’s wisdom.” – David Brooks

“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.” – William Shakespeare

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” ― Confucius

On goal-setting

"The question I ask myself like almost every day is, 'Am I doing the most important thing I could be doing?'” - Mark Zuckerberg

“To live a fulfilled life, we need to keep creating the "what is next", of our lives. Without dreams and goals there is no living, only merely existing, and that is not why we are here.” - Mark Twain

“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” - Steve Jobs

“You are never too old to set a new goal or to dream a new dream.” - C.S. Lewis

On success

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” ― Maya Angelou

“You're never as good as everyone tells you when you win, and you're never as bad as they say when you lose.” ― Lou Holtz

“If Plan “A” fails, remember you have 25 letters left.” – Chris Guillebeau

“Some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all -- in which case, you fail by default.” - J.K. Rowling

“Think progress, not perfection” – Ryan Holiday

"It always seems impossible until it's done." - Nelson Mandela


What’s your favourite inspirational quote? Let us know by connecting with us on Twitter @TimeForYouGroup.

Why The People You Surround Yourself With Are The Key To Your Success

One of the key phrases that crops up again and again among top motivational speakers such as Jim Rohn and Tony Robbins is the idea that “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”.  Let’s look at this in a little more detail.

The Law of Averages
This idea comes from the Law of Averages, a theory which says that the result of any given situation will be the average of all outcomes. In practice this means that when it comes to our relationships, careers, our self-esteem and our personality traits we are a product of those people we choose to surround ourselves with the most.

Exercise 1
Let’s try a small exercise. Grab a piece of paper or open your phone and note down the names of the five people that you spend the most time around. These people could be your family, your friends, co-workers, or someone else.

Now, ask yourself about the personality traits of those people. How would you choose to describe them? Are they positive? Kind? Creative? Ambitious? Enthusiastic? Negative? Bossy? Critical? Arrogant? What do they do with their lives and how successful have they been in pursuing their goals?

Now stare back at your list and consider it carefully. If the traits are overwhelmingly negative, then perhaps it’s time to consider finding new people to spend more of your time with? After all, if you spend a lot of time with these people then you likely mirror a lot of these undesirable traits too. This doesn’t mean that you have ditch those people out of your life, rather that you should seek out new influences to start to tip the scales in your favour.

Exercise 2
Now let’s perform a second exercise. Write down adjectives that describe an imaginary mentor or friend that you would like to bring in to your circle of five. What words would you use to describe them? Seeking out and spending more time with positive influences is a key part of personal growth, so consider who you know that matches up to your description of your imaginary mentor – it’s time to start spending more time with them!

What do you think of this theory? Have you seen results by adopting this strategy? Let us know by connecting with us on Twitter @TimeForYouGroup.

Minimalist Workouts For Busy People

If you lead a hectic, busy life then it’s very easy for things like health and fitness to slip down your ladder of priorities.

Whether it’s looming deadlines, the school run, or family and work engagements, other plans tend to take priority, and when you do get a small amount of down time it’s not unusual to just want to relax and put your feet up.

However, it’s no surprise that the people with the most jam packed of schedules are often the ones who are most at risk of health problems. If you leave yourself no time to exercise and your diet isn’t quite up to scratch, then it won’t take long for your body to start to show signs of stress. Here we will offer some workout tips and take a look at four time-sensitive workouts that you should almost always be able to fit into your day – no excuses!

Working out at home
While gym access can greatly benefit you in working towards a better body, it’s not essential. There are so many exercises that you can do at home, even if you are short on space. Yoga, bodyweight exercises and other more high-intensity workouts can all be performed at home. Search Google or YouTube to find one that works for you.

Strength Training or Cardio
If you only have time for just a few workouts per week then strength training should always be your first port of call. With strength training such as weighted exercises, you burn calories at a quicker rate throughout the day, where as with cardio such as running your body stops burning calories after it cools down. Strength training is also a great way to maintain muscle, whereas if you focus on cardio alone you will likely loose muscle definition as you start to slim down.

3 Great Beginner Bodyweight Routines:
Bodyweight exercises are such a good option if you’re short on time. They require no special equipment or expensive gym memberships and you only need a small amount of space to carry them out. Try alternating between these workout routines, three days a week, and see what differences it makes to your level of fitness and the way you feel. If you are unsure of what any of the exercises are then perform a quick Google or YouTube search before you get started.

-    40 x Jumping Jacks
-    10 x Push Ups
-    30 x Squats
-    30 x Crunches

-    40 x High Knees
-    30 Second Plank
-    30 x Lunges
-    10 x Push Ups

-    20 x Burpees
-    20 x Squats
-    35 x Crunches
-    10 x Push Ups

Weight training routines:
These weight training exercises can also be completed with only very minimal equipment – typically a pair of dumbbells. If you are very new to weight training, then you may find 10 repetitions of each exercise difficult. If that’s the case, then try reducing them down to 6 or 8 reps for the first week or so while you get used to things. Remember to familiarize yourself with these exercises through Google or YouTube if you aren’t sure what they mean.

-    10 x Goblet Squats
-    10 x 1-Leg Hip Thrust
-    10 x Split Squats
-    30 Second Farmers Walk

-    10 x Goblet Squats
-    10 x 1-Leg Hip Thrust
-    10 x Split Squats
-    30 Second Farmers Walk

-    10 x Floor Presses
-    10 x 1-Arm Bent Over Row
-    10 x Split Squats
-    30 Second Farmers Walk

Do you have any special routines that work for you and fit easily in to your schedule? Let us know on by connecting on Twitter @TimeForYouGroup.

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