When it comes to time management what tools do you have in your toolbox? There are many ways and suggestions on how to manage your time. There are hundreds of books and many philosophies around this topic.
What I am going to Share with you is not a new concept or idea it is more of a perspective to look at. Time is something we created to measure sequences in life, durations of days, activities and used to measure. It is so overly used and underused at the same time. We forget how to manage it and make it work in our own lives.
We have one life to live yet we are so distracted we forget to be in it. We forget what is important and lose focus quickly. We are interested in what draws us out we forget to look at what is drawing us in. Here are some steps to help you with Time Management.
STEP 1: WHAT DO YOU WANT YOUR TIME TO LOOK LIKE?
Managing time has been an ever-evolving skill. Most seem to neglect it. Some people are not even taught ways to manage or even use their time wisely. So today I would like to ask you ” What do you want from your time, your day, your hour, your project?” What do you want from it? What do you want your time to look like? Without any limits write down what you want your time to look like. If you have one life, one day, one hour, one minute what would that look like for you? Write it out on a sheet of paper. What you want your time to look like.
Would you add more of something? Would you get rid of something? Would you move something around? Funny thing is that we have the choice to make time for what is important for us. So why don’t we do that? Why do we do things we don’t want to do? Why do we make things that are not important to take up most of our days and hours?
STEP 2: WHAT DOES YOUR TIME LOOK LIKE NOW?
Now, look at your time in the present moment. Take a week or even a month and write out what you do on a daily basis and bring to your awareness as to what you do daily. The fact is a lot of people just do stuff and have no awareness as to what they do. They are on autopilot, in their own mind and own thinking that they lose track of what they are doing. They lost focus, purpose and ultimately get distracted. This isn’t about excuses, or justifying why you do something. This is more for you to become more aware of your time, and what you’re doing. It is very interesting how the most precious things in our lives are ultimately free and yet we put no value or care to it most of the time.
STEP 3: WHAT CHANGES DO YOU WANT TO MAKE?
What changes do you want to make? Now I want you to look at your activities, your life and the things you want to do and reflect on what changes you want to make. You should have two lists that show you what you want and what your time looks like now. Ask yourself “Why do I want my time to look this way?” ” What does it do for me?” Also, ask yourself why am I doing certain things that I know are not important but yet take up my time? What benefit do I get from it? Now is the time to write about what you are keeping and what you are going to get rid of. Some people write a stop doing list. That is pretty powerful because now you are making yourself accountable for not doing the things that are not important for you and that distract you. Make changes to your list and write one complete list for your time.
STEP 4: PRIORITIZE YOUR ACTIVITIES
I can’t stress enough how important it is to prioritize what is important for you. Mastering this skill of prioritizing is where productivity really comes in. What is a high priority? What is a low priority? You have written a list of what you want your time to look like. You have activities and other things that you want to bring in your life. Prioritize this list as to what is most important to you. You can use numbers, letters, stars it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that you understand what is a priority for you and really take the time to think about this. What is your priority? Not what others priorities are for you? What is most important for you about your time? Remember you have one life, one day, one hour and one minute. How do you want that to look like? What is most important for you? write out your priority list in order.
STEP 5: TIME MANAGEMENT TOOLS AND TECHNIQUES
You have the priority now. What do you do next? This is starting to get into the techniques of time management. If you are like me I would have a huge list that could probably go on forever if I allowed it. I have a huge list but to do it would take all my time which is not what I wanted my day to look like. So here are a few tools you can use to think about your prioritized list and how to get more things done and manage your time the way you want.
Look at your list and see what can you delegate someone else to do? We often underestimate the power of allowing others to do the task that you really don’ t have to do, want to do or have time to do. Delegation, when used appropriately, can be a great way to manage your time and get more done. Does it have to be you all the time? Who can you delegate a task to? Family, Co-worker? You can also consider a service provider that offers what you have on your list. The idea is to get thinking about who can do this task that is a low priority for you
Automation. We often don’t even think of this as being a time management skill. Is there anything on your list that you can automate so you don’t have to think about doing it that often? Automatic calendar reminders, auto delivery, auto pay. There are so many things out there. What can you automate from your list that could possibly save you time? If you solved a problem in your business how can you automate it.
Elimination. You could take this from your stop doing list. Start eliminating things that are not a priority and waste your time. Now is the time to take a firm stand in your time and to say no. No more. I am done. I am reclaiming my time and making better use of it. Sometimes it is as easy as getting rid of a task or activity. Super simple and yet not even considered. What can you eliminate from your list.
Remove your limiting beliefs around time. I don’t have enough time, I don’t understand tech, redirect your thinking to break through and get into action. Our limiting beliefs limit our potential and prevent us from accomplishing bigger and better things. What can you tell yourself that will reframe your belief and move you forward?
System Creation. From your list is there a way to create a system in place that would make it a lot easier, save time or effort? What can you do to create a system around some of the things you do. To better optimize your time. Some people create a system around their workout. They have a work out routine identified, time scheduled, music or podcast ready, equipment set up and all they have to do is show up and workout. Systematically just flows. It can be the same for other things especially in business or at work. It can be as simple as every week I do my planning, and every day I make my list. It is a system that is created to know when one thing happens other parts happen. See if you can create a system for any of your tasks that could save you time.
STEP 6: SCHEDULE
Next, you will want to schedule your high priority tasks. Some would say that high priority task are things you do that give you the most bang for your time. Some call it the 80/20 rule. others call it something else. What to know is that your high priority tasks are things that are important to you to get done. Put your task in a Calendar, Planner, Project Management Tool and start getting things done.
Make the time for what you most want your day to look like. Put in everything, workout, time with family, reading, shopping, free time, etc. Whatever it is for you. Put it on the schedule and put time frames. There are many ways to do this. You can create Blocks of time during the days or weeks. Or you can create just individual times. You can schedule monthly, quarterly and yearly. You can also put reminders in your schedule. The idea isn’t to overschedule the ideas is to make time for what matters most for you. When you put it on the Calendar and schedule it out you now have more awareness as to what you want to do with your time.
STEP 7: TO DO LISTS
To do lists are not to get things done. It isn’t the purpose of a well designed to do list. The main purpose of a to-do list is to help you organize your tasks, projects and highlight the important stuff. It allows you to get everything out of your head by writing them down. You write them down in one place and have a birds-eye view of your biggest priorities. This list is much easier to manage than one swimming in your head all the time. You can organize tasks when they need to be completed this will help you plan your day accordingly. This will also help you focus on your most important work.
Most people misunderstand the task of a to-do list. They believe it is a tool that should help them complete every task that calls their attention. Really, a solid to-do list will focus your attention on the right work and prevent you from getting sidelined by low priority tasks. Your task list is a tool that will ensure you get the right things done. Doing this correctly will improve your productivity.
STEP 8 HABITS
Charles Duhig talks about in his book, The Power of Habit. By focusing on the keystone habits and you will get much better at managing your time. A Keystone is a stone that holds all other stones in place. A keystone habit helps to not only solicit other good habits but also helps eliminates bad habits as well. By focusing on keystone habits you will get much better at managing your overall time by making your habit creation much easier. Eliminate bad habits that waste your time and focus on keystone habits that propel you forward.
Stop procrastinating. Create deadlines for yourself. Do unpleasant tasks early in the day to get it done when you have the most energy and give yourself a reward once you’ve completed them.
Minimize interruption. The more uninterrupted time you get during the day to work on important tasks, the more effective you’ll be. Identify your interrupters and find a solution. Once you have broken your flow it can be difficult to reestablish it. Instead, discipline yourself to work on a task single-mindedly until it’s complete.
STEP 9: QUIET TIME AND BREAKS AND REJUVENATION
With all the time we put into looking at what we are doing and scheduling out our tasks and planning. One thing we don’t put enough emphasis on is scheduling quiet time, free time and breaks. These are essential because they help rejuvenate you, they give you time to be more creative. Even a computer needs to be rebooted. Make time for meditation and put it in your schedule. Make time to take a break. Walk away get some water and just take some time. It doesn’t have to be a long break.
Especially if you are an entrepreneur. It is easy to keep going and run off of fumes and not even realize it. Keep your mental, emotional and physical states at peak levels by breaking frequently. We have a limited capacity. Human beings are not meant to operate at high speeds for long periods of time. Instead, we are meant to work more rhythmically between spending and renewing energy. Create a routine that creates renewal in your day. Rejuvenate yourself with proper sleep, exercise and eating right so you can work more optimally.
STEP 10 DECLUTTER AND ORGANIZE
Having a cluttered environment helps you lose focus. When you lose focus it cost you time. Declutter and organize your environment. You don’t have to do it all at once. Start with something small. Like a drawer or a counter and work your way around from there. You will build momentum and find yourself more motivated to organizing other areas.
STEP 11 BUILD MOMENTUM WITH YOUR TIME
Building momentum to get work done and to save time requires some creativity and some skill. First learning how to FOCUS and not get distracted when working on a project. You need to turn off phones, notifications, etc.
Get rid of multitasking and work on one thing at a time. Trying to work on multiple things at once decreases productivity. Multitasking is not a superpower prioritizing is. Working on one thing at a time with focused attention is a superpower.
Create daily focus blocks of time. Block off parts of your day for creative task and task that require focused attention. The hard part is to Resist getting distracted during these blocks of time. Find a good stopping point when doing work so it doesn’t keep nagging your brain.
Build an Effective routine for your work, day and week. Establish hard edges in your day. Capture every commitment. Do your most creative work first. Create a rhythm for your day, your week. Make a ritual of your routine. An effective routine is personal and built on your own talents and natural tendency. So experiment and find out what works best for you.
Focus on high-value activities. Identify activities that would have the most impact. Focus on those. You have the choice to design your time the way you want it. Make it count and focus on the things that you want and need to focus on. Create a plan, eliminate distractions overcome your mindset and cut out the unnecessary tasks, delegate, automate when you can, focus on what you are doing and what is important for you.
STEP 12: CREATE A PLAN
Having a good plan in place for achieving your goals will help you save time and energy. Planning your day can save you up to two hours in wasted time and effort through your day. Having a plan will help keep you focused on the right things and not get distracted. It can help you take action, remove procrastination and opens your mind to creativity and increases your mental power. It definitely increases your productivity.
If you want to be more productive and save time to align your daily activities with your priorities and believe you can do that. I could go on a lot longer and talk about ways to save time and increase productivity. I believe that there are strategies and a lot of people have a way to do it. What matters most is that you create a way that works for you and how you think, work and live. The idea here is to get started and recreate your time that you design that will help you accomplish your goals and live the life the way you want.
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