Tips on effective time management
“I wish I had more time”
“I will do it when I have time”
“There just isn’t enough time”
How often have we told these lies to ourselves and others? Day after day, week after week, we rush from one meeting to another, one conference call to another. We cram so much into our daily lives and yet most of the time, it feels like we haven’t accomplished most of the things we had hoped for. We forget that wishing to have more time is not only unrealistic, but it won’t help much unless we learn how to manage our time more effectively. All of us have been awarded with only 24 hours each day, and if we plan and maximize each day, 24 hours just might be enough.
Here are some productivity tips to help you maximize your time:
1.Proactive: What is the first thing we do when we open our eyes in the morning? We hand over the decision-making power of how our day will pan out to our gadgets. The first thing we do is to check our phones, respond to our messages and emails and then spend all our day reacting to things that come our way. When we look at the daily habits of most of the successful people in the world including Warren Buffet, Tony Robbins, Robin Sharma, Mark Zuckerberg and many others, we will learn that all of them do not sleep with their mobile phones in the same room. In fact, their bedroom is a sacred sanctuary in which any type of gadget is not a part of.
Not only is it important for us to ensure that we totally switch off when we rest, but this habit also ensures that we retain the power to decide what we will accomplish each morning before we are bombarded with messages that require our attention.
It all starts with a realization and a conscious decision…a decision that we are in charge of our destiny and the actions we take on a day to day basis determine how we achieve our goals. So, let us be proactive in managing our lives. After all we only have one life. And if we do it right, one life is enough.
2.Present: Once we have decided to be proactive in managing our lives, we also need to ensure that we are PRESENT in the PRESENT moment. Most of us are guilty of spending our time dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. In doing so, we spend an unnecessary amount of time and energy over things we cannot change or control. By focusing on the present, we will, not only accomplish more things, but we will also change our future.
One approach that has always helped me to focus on the present is to remind myself to THINK ABOUT WHAT I THINK. I remind myself that I don’t necessarily have to entertain each thought that comes to my mind. I have the power to decide which thought deserves my time and which thought needs to put to rest. Over time I learned to convert my worries into actions and thoughts into prayers. This helps me focus on important things and has helped me raise my level of awareness and mindfulness making me more effective in time management.
3.Plan: As the saying goes, “If we fail to plan, we plan to fail”. Regardless of how proactive and present we are, we need to be disciplined enough to pour our good intentions into an action plan. An action plan is like our GPS or road map that helps us get from point A to point B.
On a yearly basis, I put together my “wish list” for that year. I then carve out these goals into a monthly plan, which then gets divided into a daily action plan. Since doing so, my productivity has more than doubled because since then, I have been able to accomplish more than 80% of what I set to achieve daily, versus just doing one or two things a day and then realizing at the end of each day that I had either forgotten to do some of the things or just didn’t have enough time to do it.
4.Prioritize: Once we put together an action plan, it is imperative that we re-examine our plan and decide which ones need to be done first based on the level of priority. The mistake I see so many people make is that they get the easier tasks out of the way first and then focus on the difficult ones so that they can feel good about having done a lot. This isn’t the most effective way to prioritize because prioritization needs to be done based on which ones are more important and will deliver the “big wins”. All others can either be delegated, done simultaneously or done later.
Always prioritize based on what will get you one step closer to your goal, what will deliver to you the maximum result and what will be the game changer.
5.Play: Sometimes we have so much to accomplish that we forget to make time to play. We need to get into a habit of not just scheduling our appointments but also our playtime. According to Wayne Cordero, the founding pastor of New Hope Christian Fellowship attended by 14,500 members on a weekly basis, life is like a leaking jug. The trick is not to stop the leak but to ensure the fill is higher than the leak. If the fill is higher than the leak, we thrive. If the leak is higher than the fill, we will eventually suffer a nervous breakdown. So as much as we place importance on achieving our goals, we need to also strategically plan our playtime be it resting, spending time with family, working out or reading.
If we refuel ourselves, our output will be great. If we neglect ourselves, we are walking a fine line between surviving and suicide. So if we want to be effective in every area of our lives, we need to ensure we prioritize our well-being above everything else.
After all, effective use of our time is about effectively using ourselves.
Are you ready to thrive?
Meena is also an inspirational writer and her quotes and writing can be found on facebook and Instagram (account name : “Strong and Shine”) - www.strongandshine.com