Everyone has days when they look up at the clock and wonder where the day went. You had all the good intentions in the world but somehow the time flew by. You have probably made the comment, "Where do you get the time...?" You see people doing projects, hobbies or being successful in their lives and you question if somehow they have found a way to put extra time into their day.
What is their secret? How do they manage to do so much more in the same 24 hour day? As I mentioned in my precious post; managing your time is just as important as managing your money. When you get to the end of month realizing that you have no idea where the money...you know you are not managing your money. The same process applies to managing your time. Here are some steps to help you time more time in your day:
1. If you would like an extra hour or two in your day. Take a nap. This may sound strange but many people stay up too late at night only to not be able to rise in the morning. Another habit is to try to get up very early and stay up late thinking they are being more productive. However, the key is to plan one or two short naps into your schedule. You will revive yourself and be able to work another hour or two later in the evening.
2. As stated in the step number one, you must plan your schedule out for each day. Do this every night before bed. You will get up in the morning feeling that you have a handle on the day. Follow your daily plan as closely as possible. If you do have to make changes, get back to the schedule as soon as possible.
3. Learn to prioritize. This appears to be simple, however, we all struggle with wanting to do the easy, quick task first. If you let yourself fall victim to procrastination you will never finish some tasks and they will keep reappearing on your schedule. You will begin to feel overwhelmed and frustrated because you have not tackled them.
4. Make quick decisions. When you are faced with a decision, follow the rule of non-procrastination. If you avoid making a decision you are delaying the consequences. By not doing anything you are actually making a decision and it may not be the decision you really wanted. You will then have to live with some unpleasant consequences.
5.Live with imperfection. Despite wanting to do every job to the best of my abilities, there are times when I have realized that I must let go of some of my perfectionism. If you are writing a paper or drawing up a proposal, you will never achieve absolute perfection. Learn to set a time limit and then live with your results. Sometime you have to just move on and get the job off your desk.
6. Be realistic. In working with my clients, whom I have coached in time management, so many times I have seen them come in with a list of thirty tasks that they want to accomplish in the next week. When I look at the list with them, talk to them about what is realistic and what is not, I hear the same tired argument. "I need to get these done. I will get up early and work late but this has to get done." These clients are setting themselves up for failure. Many of there time estimates are way off. They do not allow themselves time for planning, organizing or life. No matter how prepared you are for making a meal, you can not make it in 30 minutes. When you watch a cook on television making a 30 minute meal, she is not including the clean up, setting the table, preheating the oven, putting the ingredients away, etc. So go over your schedule carefully so you have allowed yourself the time needed.
7. Find your prime time. We all have our own time of day when we feel more productive. When you are doing your schedule, think about when you are at your best mentally. Plan mental activities such as paperwork, test taking, paying bills, etc. for those times. Also think about the times when you are least likely to be interrupted. Do activities such as cleaning, organizing and planning when you are feeling the most creative.
8. Build in a savings account. In other words, build in time for the extras that will pop up during the day. There will phone calls, neighbors knocking, children needing attention, an urgent email that needs attention, etc.
9. Organize your work space. Whether you working in the kitchen or an executive office, make your work space workable. It is very hard to work productively, save time or get ahead when you can not find anything. You waste precious minutes looking for the right file or the right form.
10. Stay on track. Avoid being distracted by little tasks that you see that you decide will only take a minute and will give you instance satisfaction. I am sitting at my desk and I realize that my waste basket is almost full. Yes, I could jump up and take it to empty it, come right back and start again. However, more than liking, I would go to empty the trash basket and realize that the mail had came. I would gather the mail, begin to sort it, see a bill that needed to be paid, pay the bill and there I would go...down the rabbit trail.
11. Set specific start and finish times for checking and answering email or reading other social networks. If you do not set a stop time, you will suddenly realize that an hour has went by and you are still on the web. Further, set time for researching specific information. Many times I will find that I have an interest or question about a certain subject. I find that I will be overwhelmed by the vast amount of information on the web and want to read every article on the subject. If you find yourself in this delima...just stop. Write a note to yourself and record the web page. The next day that you feel there is time, book an hour for this research. Enjoy the time and then stop. If you feel you need more time, rebook it with yourself.
You manage your time. You can either let yourself control the clock or let the clock control you.