Time – Friend or Foe

I am sure that you are like most people out there and you are feeling like you are working really hard every day, yet you just seem to remain trapped in a place where you are feeling overextended, overcommitted and even overwhelmed. I hope some of the tips contained in this article will finally help you to wrestle back control of your time crunched lifestyle and allow you to start to focus on the things, which really matter. This will help you to get more of the important stuff done every day, yet you will still manage to find time for “off the clock” fun too.

Peter Drucker said it so eloquanty when he said “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” Are you spending your day focused on things, which are not your priorities, but help you to feel busy, being busy? There is a huge difference between “Things you need to do now” and “Things you don’t need to do at all.”

Spinning your wheels is pointless

Just because you are doing things, does not actually mean you are accomplishing much at all. If you want to finally wrestle back control over your day, it all starts with planning and preparation. You cannot allow your day to just unfold at the whims of everyone and everything around you. You must plan your week in advance, thinking carefully about all the priorities you must get done that week.

Your priorities are obviously created by the goals or outcomes you want to achieve each week. Set aside time in your schedule to focus specifically on getting your goal specific activities done every day. This time must then be re-enforced every evening, when you are planning your day the night before. If you want to succeed and achieve your goals, you must “PLAN” and allocate time slots in your day to carry out your priorities or goal specific activities.  

You must become clear on what your priority activities are. This are the daily activities, when performed daily will gradually transform your life and create the future you have been thinking about, but never managed to achieve, because you spend your days spinning your wheels, doing things, which don’t really matter. Once you are absolutely clear on what the right activities are, now you can build a plan to ensure that you get them done every day. Until you do this you are acting in line with what Peter Drucker said, you are efficiently doing the wrong stuff.

Get organised and know what you are going to do Daily

Waking up every day and walking blindly into each day, hoping that things will work out, is as effective as shouting at an approaching tornado and demanding that it go away. You are going to get trapped in a cycle of busyness, spinning your wheels, lost in distraction and overwhelm. If on the other hand you are prepared every day, with a clear picture of exactly what needs to get done and you have time scheduled to complete those tasks, you will actually get the important priority tasks done every day.

Do not open your emails first thing in the morning

There is no better way of handing your life and schedule over to the universe, than having no plan about how your day will unfold at all and then opening your emails first thing in the morning. When you do this you are handing your most valuable possession, namely your time over to everyone, who has communicated with you via email. They get to decide how your day will progress. Your emails effectively dictate, how you will start spinning your wheels for the day and then overwhelm and distraction takes over, leaving you exhausted at the end of another pointless day.

Schedule time for emails and Practice the art of Chunking

You are in charge of your day, you decide when you carry out tasks. Use the most valuable time of your day, namely first thing in the morning, when your energy levels are at their highest and you are the most focused to carry out your priority activities and get them done and out of the way. Only once you have got your day under way and firmly under your control, should you open your emails.

When you decide it is time to handle your emails, completely give 100 % focus to handling them. Do not allow any distraction at all during this time and simply delegate, delete or do what is required, as you handle each email.

They conducted research where they found that, if you smoke marijuana your IQ drops by five points, but if you are distracted it drops by 10 points. So if you are sitting handling your emails or carrying out any other task and you allow yourself to be distracted, you can never be operating at your best. Focus time on completing tasks and you will astound yourself, at how much you actually get done every day.

Try to schedule time for answering or returning phone calls and handling emails, instead of allowing yourself to be distracted every time a call or email comes through. When you dedicate uninterrupted blocks of time, to field calls or answer emails, you get the calls and emails handled far more effectively and gain hours of productive time every day.

I can hear you saying, “I have to answer calls when they come in and I must answer emails as soon as possible. Well think about this, when you are sitting opposite a customer do you field calls or answer emails? The answer is obviously no. Well when you are focused and meeting your priorities every day, you are in one of the most important meetings of your life. “DO NOT ALLOW DISTRACTIONS TO DESTROY YOUR DAY

Always have an agenda for every meeting

Never attend a meeting or call a meeting without having sent an agenda to the person you are meeting with. This will save buckets of time in meetings and allow you to achieve far better outcomes after each meeting. The same is true for telephone calls. Before picking up the phone, make a list of all the things you want to discuss, list all the questions you need to ask. That way each call has a clear purpose and you won’t waste time having to call back and you will achieve the outcome you want.

Plan and schedule rest time

Unless you Plan rest time and schedule your “off the Clock” time to recharge your batteries. It will quickly get lost in the cycle of your current busyness and you will not actually get to rest and recharge your batteries. Schedule your personal time and rest, you always get far more done after a good rest.

Andrew Horton

Andrew Horton

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