Time management is an interesting concept. Each day has: 24 hours or 1440 minutes or 86400 seconds. It is a very undeniable fact. One that we cannot change nor need to manage – time actually manages itself. The sun comes up and goes down, seasons change, and the world turns round and round.
What we can do is plan and do our work and activities within the time we’re given. Creating a time plan gives you more freedom and authority over your time. Knowing what your time is worth to you, and allotting time for the things that matter most to you leads to higher levels of self-respect and will help you value and respect others.
Effectively managing your time doesn’t just happen, nor are your life-long habits and behaviors something that you can change in just a single day. This process requires strategy, planning, concentration and focused attention to daily habits. Learning to better manage your time must be organically introduced into your daily life slowly and steadily.
Understand Your Values – One can only “master” or be an effective time manager when we have clear goals for work, family, career, and health etc. Without clarity of goals and focus, effective time management can only ever be an unachievable dream.
Clarify Your Goals – Goals give you a direction and help you spend your time constructively. Revise and adjust your goals on a regular basis – Priorities and goals change over time so it’s important to review them monthly to assess where you are and where you’re going.
Prioritize Daily – When we decide to prioritize it helps us identify the most important items to concentrate on that will turn over to the highest rewards in the future. “Failing to plan is planning to fail” according to the experts. adequately will eventually lead to failure and disorganization.
Do First Things First – This is one of the golden rules of time management and means that you tackle your most important priorities first.
Go with your Gut – Always use your time in the best way that suits your particular body clock and cycles. If you are most productive at the start of the day, build your most taxing work time into your schedule then. Knowing what works for you and your own body clock will help you maximize productivity. Focus yourself first on being effective with your time – then make plans toward using your time more efficiently.
Find Free Time – The value and payoff of maximizing and enjoying your free time is always diminished in popular press. Happiness, or rather – lack of happiness, can lead to discomfort, poor performance, strained relationships, poor health and even death. Finding time for you to do what you love, and be with those you love is the most important strategy of all!
Build Adequate Systems and Reminders – Different people are different. Whether you prefer to write things down, or have everything you need to manage tucked away in the cloud – you must build a system that helps schedule, prioritize and remind you of what is significant to you and your schedule. Adequate planning, successful execution, and valuable reviews will help you continuously improve your systems and keep them in check.
Distinguish Between Tasks & Schedules – So many people collapse the distinction between planning their time and accomplishing their tasks. Time is planned and tasks are executed within the time you’ve planned for. Both require planning and execution tactics, but they are different. Scheduling is a planning activity and requires time to accomplish it. Working tasks without first planning your schedule is a recipe for disaster!
- Sundown Plan & Review – use the last 15 minutes of the day to review and plan tomorrow’s events.
- Anticipate Breakdowns – add lag time into projects deadlines to plan for inevitable breakdowns.
- Avoid Perfectionism – the time spent perfecting those little annoyances is avoidable, and never really a payoff.
- Say No – saying no to what’s not important will create time for what is more important.
- Avoid Muli-tasking – try starting and finishing important tasks in one sitting before you start something new. Multi-tasking is inefficient, difficult, and leads to more stress!
- Delegate – when possible, delegate tasks that you do not need to touch to add value. Consider delegating everything that you don’t HAVE to do.
- Maintain Your Flexibility – flexibility is the key to success and sanity! Planning can create rigidity, use a plan as a path or a guide to stay near, but make sure you are able to flex to the environment, what’s necessary and emergencies.
Effective time management is about planning, prioritizing tasks, and only doing those that contribute to your desired goals. To best use your time and avoid procrastination and waste, it’s important to clarify your values, write down your goals and respect yourself and others’ time.
Time is. Time lost is not retrieved.
Need help with managing your time? Attend my tele-course: Managing Time To Get Things Done, or contact me today to see how I can help your staff manage their time more effectively.
How are you using your 1440 minutes today? Are you living the life you want to live? Share your story below!