Time Keeps on Tricking
Time and I have never been great friends. Not surprising coming from a champion procrastinator, still, I haven’t had as much patience for Time as I’d like. It’s not that I expect to love the way Time operates, but it’s just that Time has always struck me as being a little skittish. You’re in the middle of doing something important and suddenly Time is gone like you hadn’t been working together to accomplish something. Then there are those moments when you’d like Time to get going and instead of hopping on it, Time just lingers and lingers, hanging around like a bad smell. All in all, I find Time just a bit too temperamental for my taste.
My lack of simpatico with Time has meant that I’ve had to come to an agreement about certain things just so I can avoid Time conflicts. For instance, when I travel, I get Time on a leash. I watch every second as if it were my last and plan for all eventualities because if you’re not careful when you need it most, Time will get away from you. One moment you’re flying and the next, you’re stuck at the airport and Time has hopped the last plane without you. I also don’t play around with Time when I have critical deadlines or meetings. I make sure I’m well prepared in advance in case Time slips away.
Rather than be defeated by Time, I thought it would be better to go back to basics and implement some tricks for managing Time.
11 Time Management Tips:
- Schedule time for the things you care about. If you don’t make time for these things you will find yourself living without the things you love or crashing into other priorities because you didn’t make the time.
- Identify your priorities. Do the important things first. Every day, decide what matters most and get it done or at least make some progress on it.
- Set time limits. There’s nothing like a deadline to sharpen your focus and push you to get a task completed in a timely manner.
- Schedule time to be distracted. Years ago an old boss told me that I should schedule half my time for the things I needed to accomplish and half my time for the things that would get in the way.
- Set objectives. Before starting meetings, tasks or calls, determine what you want to get from them. This will allow you to focus your time more effectively and you will know whether you have been successful. Don’t forget to take the time afterwards to determine whether you achieved your objective.
- Create systems for staying organized. Organizing systems don’t have to be complicated, they are really meant to create shortcuts for deciding where things should go or what order they should be done in. It can be a simple as a filing system or reducing the amount of email that comes across your desk.
- Make sure you get enough sleep. Different people need different amounts of sleep, but we all need to sleep. Experts suggest that you get no less than 7 hours but you may need as much as 11 hours to feel well rested.
- Eat well and Exercise. When we are healthy, we are more productive. Studies show that exercise increases the blood flow to the brain increasing alertness and focus. Exercise also increases our energy level and brain function.
- Schedule time to think. If I can only do one time management trick, then that’s the one. In order to plan, perform and produce, I need to think. No matter what you are working on, it will go faster and smoother if you think about it first, even if time doesn’t seem to be your friend.
- Say “No”. Don’t overburden yourself, it adds stress and means that you are constantly fighting an uphill battle to meet objectives. Even a great opportunity can become a problem if you don’t have the time to manage your priorities.
- One thing at a time. The quickest way to overwhelm yourself is to try to tackle everything on your list at once. Break activities down into digestible pieces and do them one at a time.