Time management is a fairy tale for adults. We can’t control, manipulate, or change time in any way. So why then, do we fall prey to the idea of “time management”?
Everyone has the same 24 hours in their day and the same seven days in their week, yet many successful
people get so much more done with their time allotments than the rest is management skills. Controlling time is something we can only accomplish with the mighty Time Stone (which
unfortunately Thanos has at the moment) and since we don’t have that, we must rely on controlling and managing ourselves. I’ve come up with ten steps to help you get a grasp of your to-do list and ensure that what matters to you most doesn’t get bogged down
by all the other stuff.
Ugh! I can’t focus
1. THE FIRST STEP TO OVERCOMING A PROBLEM IS RECOGNIZING THAT
THERE ACTUALLY IS A PROBLEM.
There is a difference between being busy and being productive, and most of us can’t differentiate between the two. We have to accept that we can’t manage time, only ourselves. It becomes a
the problem when the things that are most important to us, like our goals and passions, get swallowed up by trivial and mundane busy work.
People work so hard at time management because they want to have that sense of accomplishment at the end of a hard day. There’s nothing more disheartening than spending all day being busy and getting nothing of importance checked off your list. Recognizing this is your first step in the journey to better self-management.
2. PRIORITIZE YOUR EFFORTS
Stephen Covey, author of “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, makes the distinction between things that are important and things that are urgent. Important things are the tasks that
further your goals, while urgent things typically don’t. Clearing out your email may be urgent, but doing so won’t get you any closer to reaching your goals.
If we spend more time doing the
important tasks instead of the urgent ones, we find that we are far more effective. In other words, don’t major in minor things.
3. ECONOMIZE YOUR EFFORTS
Find ways to effectively multitask. While it is not a good idea to try and multitask things that take deep thought and effort, a smaller task that doesn’t require much thought can be done together. For example, you can get some filing done while taking a phone call.
Grouping similar or low effort activities together allows you to get more done in less time. Minimizing how many steps it takes to complete a task is a good idea too. Try to be conscious of your movements and actions throughout the day so you can minimize some of the things you do habitually.
4. ELIMINATE TIME WASTERS
Time wasters are the things that do not benefit us in any way. Some people consider games to be time wasters and when you spend excessive amounts of time on them they are. However, when
done in moderation if it provides you stress relief then it serves a purpose.
People can be time wasters as well. Those individuals that only take and provide no meaningful interaction to your life have to go. When we remove all the time wasters from our day, we find that we gain a lot more time that would have otherwise been wasted.
5. SIMPLIFY YOUR ENVIRONMENT
Clutter in your office and home environment creates not only stress but extra work when you have to find missing items. A clean and organized workspace and home free up time spent
searching and cleaning. Plus there is the added benefit of stressing less when you know exactly where things are and you can retrieve them in one or two steps.
Try taking a minimalist approach in your home and office. Keep only the items that are essential to performing your tasks and toss the rest. Remember, you can achieve greater focus when your mind and space is clear and clutter free.
6. SIMPLIFY YOUR TASKS
This may involve over-responding and/or under-responding. Examples: Under-responding – fax, which needs only a quick response or confirmation. You can write your answer on the faxed
document and fax it right back.
Over-responding – if someone asks you for something specific, and you know that by offering more help than what was specifically asked for, you can avoid the situation or issue from coming back to you in the form of a problem, then isn’t it worth it to do more? Make a point of over-responding to any situation in which there is an opportunity to solve
more than one problem in the process and when there is the potential for the situation to be presented again, requiring additional energy.
7. DETERMINE WHICH TASKS AND ACTIVITIES ARE MOST IMPORTANT
We will never get anything other than busy work done if we have no idea which tasks we need to do to reach our goals. It is so important to have a clear picture of not only our goals but the
action steps that we need to take in order to crush them. Take some time to figure out what you want from your life and how you can get there.
Then you can add those steps to your to-do list along with all the things we have to do daily to keep things moving along. The trick is ensuring that the goal-driven tasks and activities are not at the mercy of those mundane chores and other
tasks that we find ourselves often bombarded with.
8. DECIDE WHAT YOU CAN GIVE UP IN ORDER TO GET WHAT YOU WANT
The day only has 24 hours in it, and yet, how many times have we “borrowed” from the next day to finish a project and thereby losing valuable sleep. Or “borrowed” from our relationships to pursue a goal, or “borrowed” from family time for work? Sacrifices have to be made sometimes in order to have it all and we have to be ok with that.
If you sacrificed an hour of tv time and got up an hour earlier, you just created two extra hours to get more done. It’s not really hard, it’s just figuring out what’s more important to you and letting go of what’s not.
9. FIND SOME TIME EACH DAY FOR QUIET REFLECTION AND PLANNING
It is vital to find the time each day to reflect on what you accomplished, what you are grateful for, what went right and what went wrong. Take the time to reflect on your long and short-term goals, making adjustments as needed. This reflection will allow you to find out what times you are at your peak and when you focus lags.
With this information you can better plan your to-do lists, getting the most meaningful work done during peak hours and the more mundane and easy
activities during your downtime. The point is to learn more about yourself in order to better utilize your time allotment.
10. LEARN HOW TO DELEGATE
Learning how to delegate is an important skill to acquire. We can save plenty of time for more goal-driven work when we are able to get some tasks automated and delegate others. It’s impossible for one person to be everything and do everything.
So it is beneficial to have shortcuts and hacks for some things without sacrificing quality of course. For soloprenuers and small business owners, this is an absolute necessity in order to keep their sanity. For business owners having systems in place to streamline tasks can be a tremendous help if you aren’t able to delegate and can’t afford to outsource tasks.
Everyone seems to think that we don’t have enough hours in the day to get things done. But the fact is there’s more than enough time to make a meaningful impact every day. The difference lies in how we choose to spend those hours.
The tips above are a start to get you going in the right direction. Timebank GPS will give you the tools you need to tackle your productivity issues like the pros.