Does it ever feel like there is never enough time in the day? Are you always rushing? Do you feel stressed at the end of the day? Do you believe that you are not accomplishing what you hoped? Better time management may be the answer.
Dr. Respect at http://marcusgentry.blogspot.com says we must protect, organize and prioritize our time. If you are having any of the above listed difficulties, then my guess is you are missing at least one of those elements.
Protecting our time is important. We all have the same amount of time in a day. Its what we do with it that is critical. Do you find yourself doing things you really dont want to do or spending time with people who take more than they give? These are examples of not protecting your time.
Your time is your gift to spend, as you will. You can spend it wisely or you can waste it. Its your choice. However, one thing you cant do is get it back to do over again.
Sometimes we all do things that we dont really want to be doing but when we do, it should be in furtherance of a bigger goal that we have. Maybe we dont want to be going to work today but we want to collect our paycheck at the end of the week, so its something we choose to do to get to the bigger payoff.
However, there are things that we do that just arent important, dont lead to anything and waste our time. Can you think of any activities that fall into that category for you? Do you know that the average American watches on average three hours of television each day? How is that for a time waster?
I know when I first got my computer, one of the things I unwisely spent my time on was computer games. I dont mean an occasional game here or there. Im talking about an addiction, an obsession—playing solitaire until 2 AM. If I didnt get that under control, I would have not only been wasting my time, but I would have been wasting my life.
I have three general categories for which I like to protect my time. One is for making progress toward my work/life goals. These are the things I do to move me forward in life. These are generally geared toward helping people in some way, generating more clientele, and increasing my revenue streams.
In this category, it is my sincere hope that one day I will have enough income to hire out all those necessary jobs that I dont love to do so that I can focus all my time on the things that are my passion but until that time, there are still things I do to move myself forward that I dont totally love. However, I try to get them done as quickly and as painlessly as possible.
The second category would be spending time with people I care about—those people who nurture me. I protect time for the special man in my life, my sons, my extended family and my friends. There are some people whom I avoid when I am protecting my time. They are the ones who generally take more than they give. Do you have people like that in your life? If they cant be totally eliminated, at least minimize the time you give to these people.
The third category would be simply things that bring me pleasure or joy. There are things I do that I can do alone or with others when I need relaxation. I like to read a good book, watch a good movie, horseback ride, canoe, ski, walk in the woods and something I got to do this weekend—swim. Protect your time so that you get to do the things that bring you joy.
Organizing your time has to do with having a good time management system. Dont wait until something is due tomorrow to start on it. Have a good plan and systems in place so you are in charge of your time instead of your schedule being in charge of you. Learn more about time management systems in our Time Management teleclass.
Another aspect of organizing ones time is maintaining laser-like focus. Did you know that the average persons mind wanders around seven to eight times a minute? Developing good work habits that include staying focused until the job is done is critical to organization.
Prioritizing your time has to do with deciding whats most important. I said I have three categories—goal-oriented actions, time with important people and time doing enjoyable activities. They dont necessarily prioritize in that order.
There must be a balance. I know that when I spend too much time working, I start to feel on edge and tense. This is generally a strong indicator that I need to switch my focus to one of the other areas. A person cannot be in control of their time if all they do is goal-oriented activity. A healthy balance is necessary for good time management and a healthy lifestyle.