How many times have you said, “There is not enough time in the day?” Let’s face facts. No one is going to upset the space-time continuum and give you that extra hour you’re hoping for. Stop moaning and take control with ruthless time management.
When people think of time management, they often think of tips like, “touch each piece of paper once.” Those are dandy ideas, but reclaiming ownership of your time requires that you first get your head straight.
Repeat after me, “I am in charge of my time.” Take command! Here’s how:
Believe it can be done. When we complain about not having enough time, we’ve already admitted defeat. Before you can make the momentous changes that will really make a difference, you must believe that owning your time is possible.
Take control. Do only what you need to do – the core, strategic work that requires your attention. That sounds simplistic, because it is. Don’t spend time on things that others could and should do.
Manage your calendar. Is your calendar a reflection of that core, strategic work you need to do? If not, cancel, cancel, cancel! If you have an assistant who schedules for you, make sure he or she knows your priorities and is empowered to block any non-vital activities.
Make meetings work. To achieve goals and save time, make meetings effective and efficient. Know what you need to accomplish, stay focused and get the right people involved.
Use “dead” time. Plan for unexpected breaks in your day, like a meeting that is starting late. Review articles, make appointments, answer email or think great thoughts.
Understand the myth of multi-tasking. When you think you’re multi-tasking, you’re not. You are switching back and forth between tasks. The more complex the tasks, the more time it takes to switch. If the work is important, do only that. No email, Facebook or YouTube.
Practice non-perfection. We love the Cult of Done Manifesto. It’s all about accomplishing important stuff. Part of the manifesto reads, “Laugh at perfection. It’s boring and keeps you from being done.”
Waste some time. Not every waking moment can or should be productive. Plan some downtime; just don’t let that 20 minutes of video games morph into 3 hours.
We all know people who are frantic and seem to enjoy it. If you’re one of them, go for it. But if you’re stressed out and not having fun, you’re also not being effective.
The solution to your time trauma requires you to adopt a ruthless, “my-time-matters” attitude. The great news is that when you value your own time, you also don’t waste others’ time. Don’t you just love it when everyone wins?
Have a question or want some input from Humanergy about this topic? Contact us and we’ll get right back to you!