Whenever I look at the answers on the assessment forms people send me, I notice that most of us can’t seem to properly manage your time. (Get Your Assessment Form Here)
The lack of time management results in experiencing many of the “problems” at home or at work.
We seem to fight the clock more often than not, as if we sense that we may be running out of time.
A number of steps can be taken to improve your time management.
1 – Know That You Have a Problem
I learned from AA that the first thing you have to do is admit that you have a problem. I use that technique in all of my goal setting, and the work I do. I identify the things I don’t enjoy first, because only then can a solution be found.
Think about the last couple of weeks. How often were you running late? How many things did you leave undone? How many hours were spent on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, or watching TV? Matter of fact, how much time did you invest in sitting around feeling worried and discontent?
2 – Decide To Change
I believe that most people are fact NOT victims of circumstance.
The result of my belief is the knowledge that we get to choose our actions in life. The world operates in a dance of cause and effect, which begins at the level of thought in each and every one of us.
After you identify that you have a time management problem (or any problem for that matter) the next step is to cultivate the desire to change. It’s not easy to change. Although change seems to be the only constant in our Universe, our brains trigger a sense of fear in the face of change.
Building the desire for positive change in your life happens in one of two ways; either you move towards something or away from something. Identify your motivational force, and then you can set goals for yourself. Your goals will help provide you with a source of motivation.
3 – Stick to Your Goals
Setting goals isn’t enough; you need to stick with them. That’s where vision boards, daily relaxation, and completing incremental tasks comes into play.
It’s been documented that creating a full vision of your “ideal life” may actually cause more harm than good if it’s not accompanied by the correct action. In the movie “The Secret” it seems as if all you have to do is wish hard enough. That’s just not the way it works. You have to be relaxed, in the flow and taking action towards your goals (or away from something). Otherwise, holding the vision of the “Perfect Day” will trigger a sense of defeat in you.
Sorry to break it to you, you can’t wish yourself thin, rich, and amazing. You have to actually become those things first.
4 – Create Daily Task Lists
If you do nothing more than create a few “To do lists” for yourself then you’ll be well on your way to looking like someone who is a master of their own time/destiny.
When I write out my goal list I adopt several different techniques such as S.M.A.R.T., writing in present tense, and working from the end. But, I don’t actually refer to my goal list as a “Goal List”; it’s my “To Do LIST!”
From my master “To Do List” (btw 180 and 200 goals), I periodically make a 30 day list, from the 30 day list I write down a weekly list. Each night I write down from my weekly list “5 Things to do”. I wake up the next morning and start with the first item and work on it until it’s finished. I don’t always cross off all 5 tasks. But adopting this method has proven to be the most effective way for me to not allow ADD to kick in.
5 – Rely On Time Management Tools
We all have the tools readily available to send us gentle reminders so that we can keep our schedules, and implement action that will lead to the realization of our personal goals. Yeah…There’s an APP for that. Find it. Google calendar is simple to the point and will alert you to upcoming events and appointments. Adopting the use of a calendar will allow you to logically choose the action steps to put on your “5 Things to do today” list.
6 – Learn How to Say No
I work with and talk to a lot of ambitious, creative and amazing people. The biggest challenge we share is the ability to say no to taking on new projects. To offset this, I find it necessary to identify the goals and tasks I’ve chosen that are my priority. When I take on new projects or get involved with new organizations I do so because my goals are aligned with taking on the new responsibility.
7 – Get Organized
I’ve learned recently that organization is pivotal to proper time management. Just the act of hanging my keys up next to the door has saved me countless hours over the past year. If you are unorganized, you are likely to waste a large amount of time.
8 – Consider Outsourcing
You may want to call on a professional house cleaner to clean and organize your home. The hours saved will most likely be worth the cash invested in this service.
I am learning that many of the action steps on my “To do Lists” would be better handled by someone with specific skills in those areas (Web development, marketing, PR, etc.). I’m certain that you too can find some areas of your “To do List” that can be delegated to someone else.
In addition to taking this approach, there are other professionals that you can target. There are individuals and companies who specialize in teaching others how to effectively manage their time, stay organized, and create more joy and fulfillment in their own life.
One final note
Time Management is actually a myth.
Time itself is relative. What you will actually become is a Master of Self.
What you will manage is a combination of your thoughts/feeling and the actions you choose to take each day.
Time will march on, the beat you choose to march with it is up to you.