Personal experience has shown one true thing: maximizing your productivity, happiness, peace, or impact can best be accomplished if you clearly understand the Rules of Time.
Being more efficient with your time is irrelevant if you don’t know how you want to spend it. In managing time, the desired objective is more important than the clock. To paraphrase Mr. Gary Vaynerchuck, know where you want to go and spend your time on the things that get you there.
The way we can lock in those things to get us there include the following:
- HAVE GOALS
Being more efficient with your time is irrelevant if you don’t know how you want to spend it. In managing time, the “compass is more important than the clock”. Know where you want to go and put your energy into those things that will ensure your success.
Too many of us waste energy trying to be more efficient without first doing what’s important: setting goals. It’s like wanting to become an Olympic gymnast, just spending time in the gym won’t cut it, without direction. You HAVE TO figure out what it is that you want. Knowing WHAT is pivotal to attaining anything. Once you have that target, you can begin creating the steps to get you there.
Word to the wise prepare a list of goals, that list will reveal what is really important to you.
Not sure where to start, check out these great resources:
- 4 Steps to Aha!
- 7 Powerful Questions
- How To Set Goals Effectively
- Five Rules to Set Yourself up For Success
- ANALYZE HOW YOU SPEND YOUR TIME
It’s always good to know how you’re spending your time right now. You can track this using various methods, the old fashion way by taking pen to paper or through myriad of apps on your mobile devices (ATracker is pretty decent). A great hack that I’ve used is setting the timer on my phone to go off every 30 minutes; whenever it sounds, I log exactly what I’m doing. Alternatively, divide your day into 15-minute blocks and record each activity you do.
Once you have your time logs, examine them. How do they compare with your goals? Are you spending time where your priorities are? The great thing about going digital, depending on the app, it may provide some great looking dashboards and other tools to maximize your efforts.
Check out these great resources:
- RescueTime – they have a great free version that you can utilize for experimenting
- Activity Logs
- 28 Free Time Management Templates
- KEEP A TO-DO LIST
You’ve seen or heard this before, and that’s because it works. It’s simple and practical, which is probably why many don’t do it. There are no excuses guys, if you did a bit of digging you can practically find a list already prepped for anything you can imagine. Your to-do list can be digital, on fancy paper, bound in a notebook or loose-leaf. The point is to have everything you want to accomplish on one list. A great hack is to put your top 5 “Do or Die” high priority items at the top of the list.
The Reminders app on Iphone is a free and simple enough tool that gets the jobs done.
- BE MINDFUL OF PROCRASTINATION
I’m the first to admit that I have procrastination tendencies. That’s why to the very best of my ability, I make every attempt to control my environment. I do this in hopes of eliminating things that I might use to procrastinate. I don’t play video games (used to spend hours playing PGA), don’t linger aimlessly on social media, and get rid of the busywork that one can use to avoid taking care of important tasks.
I’ve adopted one effective habit that has helped break me of procrastination: “Do the worst thing first.” At the beginning of every day, I do the one task that is causing me the most stress, and that I haven’t been getting done. Sometimes I just give it 15 minutes — based on the theory that you can stand just about anything for 15 minutes.
If I still find myself procrastinating, I’ll review my WHY for setting the goal. To create extra motivation to complete a task, strengthen the reasons why you need to get it done. As an extra bonus I’ll find something significant to reward myself for getting tasks done.
- GET ORGANIZED
Organization and time management are linked. I find that I get important things done when I have all the tools I need to perform the job.
The opposite of organization — chaos, clutter, disorganization — generally leads to busy work. If your desk is piled high, every piece of paper says “look at me.” You can end up doing a lot of work without ever getting to the important stuff.
- TAKE GREATER CARE OF YOURSELF
It isn’t possible to be “on” all the time. Take the time you need to look after yourself — body and soul — so that you can reach peak efficiency when you need to. Have a list of things you like to do. Find out what activities energize you, and spend more time doing them. This will give you the power and energy to be more productive when you return to work.
Experiment with some of these options, and work on managing your time.