How do you save time in life and in your work? What you need most will, does and should come first. This is how you focus not only attention, but energy, resources and get the job/tasks done to a point of completion, with satisfaction and yes do not forget to reward yourself for a task well done!
You can regain and reclaim your control, freedom and time-efficient task completion. You can relive your residual, underlying, anticipatory and other forms of stress, overcoming procrastination effectively, all in due time!
Opt for the best, shortest, way to get the most important things done quickly and reliably. Make the best use of every moment you have to spare and ensure down time for yourself in the process too.
Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save. ~ Will Rogers (1879 - 1935)
Your interest will be best served if you opt to focus on tasks, actions, decisions and things to do that will get and keep you back on the right and fast, even inner track to success. It can be done.
That is the good news. Effective time management does not have to be a pipe dream.
In your life and work, it will in all likelihood be impossible almost for you to take care of everything you want, all at once.
Be realistic, balanced and wiser with your choices, options, actions, how long things take, as well as what needs to be done first.
Most of us try to do too much, with too little time. That is the typical pattern. Well, why do you not break the mold by trying something and being different, upstream and a little unorthodox?
You need to accept, state that you will not be able to take on and get done ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING in just a short time (ending up short-changing yourself) Get into the habit of adding 5 minutes, to however long you think something will take.
For example: how long does it take you to get to and from home and work? Do you know your exact commute time? If you have to be in the office for an early breakfast meeting, should you leave earlier?
Any construction, weather, transportation delays (flat tire, elevator not working, leaving you to climb some stairs you did not bargain on), knowing where you are going, ) Exactly, shortest routes to get there, alternatives, directions/map, GPS, etc. if you are unfamiliar with the area, location, person in question etc.
I have a new philosophy.
I'm only going to dread one day at a time.
~ Charles M. Schulz (1922 - 2000), Charlie Brown in "Peanuts"
This will start to give you a BETTER idea that TIME MANAGEMENT is about more than time, being on time, how long things take.
Very little attention is often given in musing on this topic, to the peripheral and crucial core competencies that come with self-management, structured thinking, problem-solving, process-mapping, cause-effect type diagrams etc. to make living, getting around, even being on time that much more do-able!
How do you view time?
As a gift, blessing, damn irritant, annoyance, nuisance, never having enough of it, how you structure, live and make sense of your world, why you are here, what you are/should be doing, purpose in life – OK, maybe that is stretching it a bit.
But for the majority of us, we do not necessarily have a healthy relationship with time. It is so much more than an hour/minute/second indicator, cell-phone time display, watch on the arm, clock on the wall etc.
TIME IS MONEY we have often heard said and that just reflects this paced, unique relationship (sometimes quite warped!) that we have with the concept and passing of time.
How we use, abuse, waste it at times a real obsession and debilitating factor, contributing to less fulfilled lives, more stress, even illness, depression, lack of motivation, disappointment and mediocre performance.
We need to take a renewed and hard look at what time is and what it can do for us, what we can do with, by and through it (for self, for others, for society, our loved ones, kids, family, work, those who have less, under-privileged ones, those who battle, struggle and are oppressed)
That is good use of time.
Help to redefine what time is and can do in and through your life and you will have an uplifting empowerment sensation, that will free you from the self-imposed, perceived chains that time brings into your life and pursuits.
Here is a challenge for the brave amongst us – opt to remove your watch for a single day and not be dependent on it at all and see if you can work effectively, get more done, discover how watch-dependent you really are.
We check it several times a day, moments we waste that we could have spent on something else, different more important.
Just count and record how many times you glance over, look at your wrist-watch or other devices (with time).
It drives pretty much everything we do – when we get up, rise, go to bed, watch TV, take a bath, spend in the office etc. It drives and dictates our days, into bite-size chunks of time, meetings, places to be, people to see, errands, things to complete and do, travel etc.
One of the most fundamental principles of time, is that we do not want to go around wasting it!
Not our own and not those that belong to someone else. TIME IS PRECIOUS! (regardless of whom claims ownership to it!). We need to respect each other’s time more also. There are some time-stealers that we need to be aware of.
Memos, writing things down, not communicating effectively, setting and voicing expectations properly, agreeing on deliverables, timelines, milestones and deadlines. Sometimes what we perceive as bad management can a be a variety of other things (selective listening, or poorly developed listening and communication, interpersonal skills, reading things wrong, not hearing or verifying properly or correctly the accuracy or our understanding of what was said, agreed upon, or what we need to do or deliver, when to whom, be where again? We do not ask enough questions).
Underlying much of our failures at effective time management is not only personal discipline and lack on interest, willingness or fear of change, but simply not having the awareness and ability to say what we want, get done what needs to be done.
Also, make your task list count, do not put or write, include unnecessarily repetitive tasks, recurring meetings, frequent updates into your calendar, if it overpowers, overfills or clutters, ending in more ‘busy-work’ than productive work.
Too much or too little information on tasks, data, type of information, decisions, can delay action. We need to be aware on not drowning or overwhelming ourselves or others with these types of tools and content. It has to enable, not disable to work right and best!
Someone once said information is not knowledge, knowledge is not wisdom, wisdom is not informed decision-making… UNLESS IT GETS THINGS MOVING FORWARD RIGHT AND FAST!
Common sense, limits, guidelines can all help us get out of this procrastination trap that we so often set for ourselves.
Having meetings and face-to-face schedules, conference calls, events etc. are not bad in itself. It is how we approach, select and participate in them that is the problem!
When it starts wasting time, that is when it becomes a problem. Have a chain of command and be on time – these, if not handled well, can steal a lot of productive time.
Some expert sourcing and guru advice in this arena, comes to us from Alan Lakein, the progenitor of modern time management techniques. The question, according to our expert here, is:
DO I WANT OR NEED TO BE DOING THIS RIGHT NOW? These days business is so much more that a mere state of being (as the term implies), BUSY! Be an independent thinker, self-started and problem-solver. That is what most employers and task lists would ask or want, to get results that count and makes the difference when it matters most –even when you have tight, competing or conflicting deadlines.
Make your time management RATHER pro-active management of self, tasks, others, priorities etc. for optimal success.
Act ahead of events, anticipate, plan and prepare, do not expect to get far with random chance and no plan. FAIL TO PLAN, PLAN TO FAIL is the saying, right? Setting and tracking your goals (however ambitious), is a good way to work your way through that priority list and motivate yourself to keep going. Delegate your tasks to others who can help you achieve your goals while you focus on what is most important.
You need the ability and practice will make perfect here, to hone and harness, establishing clear priorities, think preventative, rather than corrective, change your outlook and paradigm, remain open-minded and flexible, it will be easier to deal with a growing task-list, competing tasks for attention and resources, and related challenges, obstacles that you may encounter along the way.
Be creative in your problem-solving and approaches, making it fun to find ways to knock those tasks off your list. It can even be fun and highly rewarding.
You do not need to have no choice and merely bounce from one panic to the next, or from one crisis to the next.
There are some middle-ground and solutions, even balancing acts, delegation, rankings etc. for you to tap into to make it more manageable, that means you and time and competing priorities even!
Get, be and stay organized, not losing control of situation or priorities, re-shuffling priorities when need be or situations dictate, require change or alternations. Avoid rework and/or quick fixes, putting things off or more procrastination. It will not serve your purposes, interests very well at all.
SO, to recap…
There is not enough time to try and do everything and be everything to everybody! All at once. Be patient as you chance your habits and behaviors (it is contra-intuitive and will get better in time)
Here are some simple steps you can pick up:
(1) Plan and work to be more relaxed, tolerant or change, things not all getting done (impossibility),
(2) Focus and target what can and must be done and get it done! IT is really that simple. What can wait, will have to wait (inevitably it does anyway). Be more realistic in your expectation of self, time, others. If you cannot do it yourself, outsource your tasks to trustworthy assistants!
(3) If you are stressed, overwhelmed, do not know what needs to get done when , this chaos, confusion and tension, can lead to procrastination.
(4) When prioritizing, work with must, need, like to, maybe type categories to start getting you into more habits.
(5) Listen to the signals that your body is sending you too. IF you are constantly feeling fatigued, not rested, cannot recharge your battery, have no stamina, energy left, to start, let alone finish your day, something is amiss, awry and out of whack. You need to rebalance the scales.
(6) Do make a list(several if you have to) or a task-master list to help you get a very real handle on what is at stake, in play, what needs attention right away, what can wait, making it easier to knock some of the tasks off the list in time available.
(7) Get a planner and plan your work day, according to time-blocks or time-frames, whichever you are most comfortable with planning in. Some work in 30 minute to 1 hr slots, some longer chunks of time, for specific purposes. Be realistic, map something out that works for your preferences, timelines and priorities.
(8) It is a deliberate act, that you need to take issue with and can only do for yourself. You need to actively and purposefully schedule time to accomplish your goals and your tasks. Again, consider outsourcing tasks that need to be accomplished on a regular basic!
(9) Try your best to break through the frustration, tension and disappointment, feelings of being overwhelmed by the amount of work you have to do and things you have to accomplish. Break it down into task, categorize and prioritize, tackle in the most efficient, ranked way possible in the time that you have available.
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