Ever wonder how time just flies by and you feel you haven’t accomplished what you set out to on any given day? Ever wonder how highly successful people manage to make the time to achieve all that they set out to achieve for the day, week, month, or year? You may be wondering, what is it that they do to manage their time so well, or, where did all my time go? I still have some much to get done. You may some times wish the days were longer, or that there were more hours in a day. The sad truth is, you have more than enough time in a day to achieve most if not all your tasks, and you have the same exact amount of time as all those successful people. The difference is, they have made time management a habit and a routine, through perseverance and practice.
Here I suggest five ways you can immediately implement in your daily life to manage your time and as a result be more productive every day of the week:
1.Make a list
Take a pen and paper and make three columns, on the left column write out the hours from the minute you wake up to the minute you lay down. Note the time in 30 minute increments. In the middle column, write down exactly what you do, or what task you perform at that specific time of the day. For example, 6 am – Wake up, 6:30 – 7:00 am – brush teeth, take shower, etc.
Be as honest and as specific as possible, and account for the entire week, broken down by days. At the end of the week go over the list and take a note of all the unproductive activities you engage in the most and see if they could be cut short. For example, if you wake up at 6 am, brush your teeth, and shower at 6:30 am, have your breakfast and leave for work by 7:15 am, and then get back home at 6 pm, once home you change and sit on the couch for a good hour or two watching mindless TV, before you eat dinner, and then maybe get on your computer for another 2 hours web surfing, then you know that those activities can be minimized in order to make time for more useful, productive activities.
Implementing this small exercise every day or every week will really help you realize where all your time goes, and how you can carve out valuable time to do more productive work.
2. Prioritize, high to low
Once you have completed the first exercise, you are ready to start prioritizing your activities or tasks for the day from the highest to lowest.
You may have noticed certain activities that eat away the time such as watching television, texting, checking social media sites, talking on the phone for hours about something irrelevant, playing video games, and so on. These activities can be cut down substantially, and in its stead, activities or tasks that are important can be substituted. Some examples of such activities could be doing the laundry that you postponed, folding the clothes, writing that blog post you may have been putting off for a while due to lack of time, or even spending that quality time with the family in the evenings that you’ve been promising but have not been able to really deliver.
Once your high priority activities are taken care of, you can start squeezing in your low priority or secondary tasks. These tasks are not mandatory, and need little attention as they are optional or insignificant in nature.
You will notice your days becoming more productive, and most of all meaningful. You will notice the days just fly by, and hopefully, all those activities and tasks you had been meaning to work on, get done.
3. Schedule time for each activity
Scheduling the time for each activity goes somewhat hand in hand with prioritizing. Getting the harder more time consuming tasks done first. You need to be realistic about how many activities you can accomplish in a day and set up a time frame to perform each activity or task. For activities that you know may take longer than others, prioritize in order of time required, and push them to the top of your schedule, and for those that will take the least amount of time, push them to the bottom.
4. Use a calendar
Using a calendar and/or planner (paper or electronic) can be one of the best ways to organize your tasks and activities for the day, week, and month. These days there are a multitude of mobile apps available for android or iPhone. Google has a great calendar option that is free as well. Most of these apps are cost-effective, and are a way to get started. You can even set up alarms and reminders for each task so that you don’t forget or are forced to get started.
5. Reset and repeat
As the saying goes ‘A stitch in time saves nine.’ Make the change, set a schedule, create a routine and form a habit now. There is no better time than the present to get started. Time is one of those things that once gone, will never return, time is precious. The steps I mentioned are a great way to get started, and can always be manipulated to fit your busy schedules. You will notice a significant change your lifestyle, and will enable you to do all the things you love to do.