how to use your time effectively and optimize in october

If you’re in the self-development wagon with me then you’ll really appreciate this post.  I know a new month usually means a fresh start for people, but instead of thinking of it as a clean slate, or look at it as what you didn’t like about last month, or didn’t quite get around to doing, and use those as examples to improve this month and push yourself forward.

That’s why I thought thinking about using your time more effectively and learning how to optimize is key for this month. Remember: we’re not calling it a “do over” and brushing under the rug whatever last month’s resentment is, we’re taking those instances and learning what it is we need to do to turn them into good things!

But first, let’s get my friend, the dictionary, out so we can be really clear on what it means to optimize:

optimize |ˈäptəˌmīz| verb [ with obj. ] make the best or most effective use of (a situation, opportunity, or resource): to optimize viewing conditions, the microscope should be correctly adjusted.• Computing rearrange or rewrite (data, software, etc.) to improveefficiency of retrieval or processing.

So there it is right in the description as what I’ve put in this post’s title: being effective.

It’s one thing to say we’re going to do it, and it’s a whole other ballgame to actually do it (aka being effective).

Here are a few things we need to do this month to Optimize October. You ready to follow along and make these next 31 days count??

optimize october

Work on self-help. A crucial and critical thing you should be doing if you want to better yourself. And if this honestly isn’t even on your mind, then what are you doing? There’s only so much Netflix you can watch a night. The more you learn, the more you can implement, and become effective. Whether it be through audio, videos, Periscope (my new favourite tool for watching amazing people deliver valuable content), or through podcasts. In fact, why not listen to the podcast Optimize with Brian Johnson who literally covers this idea in his 100+ episodes. Plus, he’s the man.

Figure out your most productive time/hour. This is something I learned from Chalene Johnson and she calls it the “power hour.” It’s the hour where you’re so in the zone that nothing can stop you; you tune out the world and pretty much just rift on whatever it is you need to be doing. It might take a few days to really become aware of that hour that is a most effective use of time for you, but once you figure it out, use it and take complete advantage of it. Mine is usually in the early afternoon (1pm-ish; probably because it coincides with my daughter’s nap time), or evening (like now as I’m writing this post).

Following a system. This will look different for everyone. Your system might be your daytimer, or the to do list app on your phone, or a notebook (especially when it comes to work), but either way, establish systems in place that take away unnecessary time and thought. This is a BIG one for me that I’m still working on, so let me tell you about the changes I’m making and how they’re working for me. I am a pen and paper type girl, and I swear it helps me out tremendously. Now, I still have an app on my phone that I semi-use, but I have a daytimer that is used for my day-to-days and then multiple notebooks for note taking and content creation. But, I also do like technology, so check out the below tool.

Evernote. If you’re not familiar with Evernote, BECOME FAMILIAR! It’s one of the best apps I’ve ever downloaded. It’s pretty much a virtual holding tank for anything you need to store. From notes (perhaps a grocery list?), to websites to pictures and videos, to documents and PDFs. And did I mention that it’s absolutely free? I actually upgraded my account to premium (which is $50/year) for some additional things like extra storage, and a few other features, but the basic free version is still fantastic. You want to know the biggest wow factor?? You can take pictures, say I find an article in a magazine I like that I want to save, and once the picture is taken, it can pick up letter recognition from that text in the picture, so when you search for it later, all the text is completely searchable. Mind. Blown!!! You definitely can’t do that with PDFs via email. Just saying. Michael Hyatt wrote a great article on using Evernote here if you want to learn more.

Try to become 5% better each day. This is a good one from Brian Johnson’s newsletter that has really resonated with me recently. Part of the strategy for this new month comes from my overwhelm with trying to get a lot of stuff done last month. That’s because my brain wanted to go from the ground to pretty much the sky in a matter of seconds. Things and life don’t work like that. It’s about progress and just putting things in motion and chipping away everyday. If we apply the principle of trying to be 5% better each day than we were yesterday, it is much more manageable and less overwhelming. I can become a 5% better mother today, or complete 5% more of the document I’m working on, or read 5% more, but I can’t just jump from wanting to meditate 60 minutes a day when I haven’t meditated a day in my life. I’m pretty much setting myself up for failure that way. So just focus on what 5% more you can do today, and I’m sure you will be optimizing your time in no time!

Those are a few ways we can optimize this month. And remember...

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Happy #OptimizeOctober.

Now, I want to hear from YOU: What would you add to the list, and what will you try to work on starting TODAY to help yourself #OptimizeOctober?! This is a very important challenge not for me because I set it, but for you who can achieve it if you put in the work! What would you be willing to do in order to make sure you’re working more effectively with your time? Would it mean devoting 10 minutes a day to self-help via a podcast? Or creating a system that you know is long overdue? Or what about figuring out your power hour and really using it properly?

Whatever it is, let’s do this thing!