How to Take Back Control of Your Life Using Tools Like Owaves

Owaves Team COVID-19, Day Planner, Owaves101, Time Blocking

We only have 24 hours in a day. If we factor in roughly eight hours of sleep and four hours of meal time, we really only have 12 hours in a day. If we then factor in distractions and a sense of being overwhelmed with our massive ‘to-do list,’  we quickly feel that we simply don’t have enough time in the day to complete important tasks. Think back to one or two things you’ve told yourself you want to do, but don’t have the time to do. Now think, what exactly is stopping you from making the time for what you desire to do? Scheduling your days and weeks can not only help boost your productivity levels, but it can also help you feel that you are honoring your priorities and values on a daily basis and thus taking back control of your life.      

With the added stressor of COVID-19 dominating our everyday life, we might also feel less accomplished, due to increased distractions we experience from being constantly at home (and surrounded by family, the TV etc). 

Nir Eyal, author of “Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life” and author of the blog Nir and Far, describes that it doesn’t necessarily matter what exactly you do with your time. Rather, success is measured by whether or not you did what you intended to do. He provides an example of checking your work email, which at face value seems like a productive task – but if you do it when you’ve scheduled family time, then it’s considered to be a distraction. I have outlined three easy steps below that allow you to take back control of your life by using tools such as the Owaves app to plan your time. 

1. Identify Your Priorities (Goals)

You first need to decide how much time you want to spend on each factor of your life. The Owaves app specifically helps with piecing together where you want to allocate blocks of your time, as the app gives you the ability to incorporate 8 main categories of activities into your day: Love, Eat, Move, Work, Relax, Sleep, Flow, and Play. 

Categories of Activities in the Owaves App

First, the domain Love is an indication of time spent with family or friends. We humans need to stay connected, especially in this stressful time of the pandemic. Although we might not be able to host large gatherings currently, we can use Love to block out regular times to virtually connect with loved ones. 

Second, the domain Move reminds us that we need to input some time in our day for physical exercise. Moving our body helps decrease stress levels and increase levels of dopamine, ultimately making us more productive. 

Third, the domain Work allows us to specifically input our periods of time where we need to do concentrated tasks. The beauty of the Owaves app is that if we have meetings scheduled on our Google Calendar, we can easily sync those blocks of time on the app directly. 

Fourth, the domain Eat gives us gentle reminders to consume meals regularly throughout the day. It’s important to prioritize healthy eating as this gives us energy to carry out our other tasks.

Fifth, the domain Relax reminds us to take periods of time in the day to unwind. These can be equally as productive as periods of hard work. Balance is key. 

Sixth, the domain Sleep prompts us to dedicate adequate time to a good night’s rest so that our daytime hours are spent as focused as possible. 

Seventh, the domain Play gives us an important reminder to input points of time into our schedule that give us joy. Planning a fun activity to look forward to each day is a great way to motivate you to get your other tasks done.  

Finally, the domain Flow gives us an opportunity to plug in blocks of time that are dedicated to chores, or other miscellaneous tasks that need to be done.

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Owaves’ Eight Activity Categories

Seek Traction vs. Distraction

As individuals, we can then dedicate a specific amount of time to each domain, spread throughout our days, weeks, and months, based on our personal and professional goals. Eyal distinguishes between two forms of activities. A distraction is an activity that inhibits productivity and sets you back on your goals. On the other hand, traction is an activity that brings you closer to your goals. He believes that “By turning our values into time, we (then) make sure we have time for traction.”      

2. Re-Evaluate and Hold Yourself Accountable

The best way to ensure long-term use of scheduling your days is to revisit the time you spend on each domain and ensure that it is keeping you on track with your goals. With the Owaves app, you can easily check your ‘vitals’ to view exactly how much time you allocated to each domain. With this in place, you are able to stay on top of your time and take back control of your day-to-day life.

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The Vitals Section of the Owaves App

Research has shown that an effective way to hold yourself accountable is to have others stay on track with you. Ultimately, doing things completely alone can feel daunting more times than not. With Owaves’ new #MyMoai feature, you are able to see your colleagues’, friends’, and family members’ planned days. This feature also allows you to feel motivated by your loved ones’ planned days and encourages you to focus on what you planned to do, since you know that your circle of people have viewed your day plan.

Other Features in Owaves’ #MyMoai Version

Owaves offers other distinct features that can help keep you motivated through each day that you plan. For instance, the app shows you how many consecutive days you’ve planned your day, using a Sun emoji. This would be a great way to make a goal with yourself or others in how many days you are able to stay consistent with your schedule. The Seeds emoji are the total number of activities planned. These can motivate you to incorporate more details in your daily O’s. Finally, the Raindrops emoji are the total number of likes, or reactions you received from others viewing your activities. This could also be a motivating point to thoroughly plan your day, because with increased activities in your day, comes increased likes of your scheduled plan.

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The Seeds, Raindrop, and Sun Emoji

3. Be Flexible!

The final step is to learn to be flexible. This might sound counterintuitive, but with planning your day it is important to know that not everything goes as planned. However, with a scheduled timeline of what you need to do and when, you won’t feel as overwhelmed figuring out what needs to get done if things throughout the day adjust slightly from external factors. Instead, you’ll simply have to slightly rearrange your tasks.   

Take the above actions to start taking back control of your days, and thus, your life!

References

Eyal, N. (n.d.). How to be more productive and focus (+ free schedule maker). Nir & Far. https://www.nirandfar.com/schedule-maker/

Eyal, N. (n.d.). How to get the most out of your calendar. Nir & Far. https://www.nirandfar.com/your-calendar/

Owaves 101 is a blog series showcasing tips for work-life balance from fitness experts and successful professionals. Olympians, Ironmen, inspiring yoga teachers, physicians, and clinical dietitians, among others collaborate and share ideas in a common mission of leading healthier, fuller and more balanced lives.

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