Save Your Life

You have one life. Live it.

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Kickstart the new year with the power of a must-do list.

Getting back to work after the Christmas break can be overwhelming as you have things to catch up on and plans to make for the coming year. Many people put together a to-do list, either on paper, their computer or smartphone. And, while a to-do list is useful, it can make you feel even more overwhelmed, as there’s just too much to get through and the list never seems to get any shorter.

The solution is, at the start of each day – or, even better, at the end of the previous day – to make a must-do list. This, as the name suggests is a list of tasks that you must do that day, which you pick from your longer to-do list. Be realistic and just put on enough items that you know you will be able to complete, and allow time for unexpected extra jobs that will inevitably appear.

The great thing about a must-do list is that you are more motivated to get through the tasks, and it feels great as you tick them off – and even better when you’ve completed everything.

If you get through the list too fast then, great, pick one or two other things from your to-do list to do or, if you are able to, treat yourself to an early finish.

Some people break down their must-do list even more, into a morning and afternoon list, or even any hourly one. Personally, I find a daily must-do list is perfect.

Give it a try, and see how your efficiency improves.

There’s much more on lists and how to use them in the Save Your Life book. Please click here to order.

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We work eight hours a day because of a soundbite

Ever wondered why we work a typical eight-hour day? It’s because of a Victorian equivalent of a soundbite.

It’s all down to a Welsh social reformer called Robert Owen. Owen seemed to be one of those people who managed to cram a lot into his life – a true lifesaver if ever there was one.

He started off working in a drapers’ shop, then he got into the spinning business and was elected to the Manchester Board of Health which aimed to help workers’ conditions. Owen later moved to Scotland where he was part-owner of a mill which he ran in a way that offered its workers better rights than most, including childcare for infants. In later life, he lived in America where he formed a utopian community before heading to London to led a socialist association. Finally, in his eighties, Owen became a spiritualist where he chatted to, among others, the spirits of Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson about his plans for world peace!

It was while Robert Owen was campaigning for workers’s rights in the mid 19th century that he demanded a ten-hour limit on the working day but, in a moment of poetic inspiration, he later reduced that to eight hours, with the snappy slogan “Eight hours labour, Eight hours recreation, Eight hours rest”.

So there we have it. Over 150 years later, the working world is a quite different place yet we still play by Owen’s rules. Surely it’s time to move on.

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