The Power Of Using An Activity Log
Do you have any idea how much time you spend chatting to colleagues, surfing the net, reading junk mail and making coffee every day? A study done in the US found that when people wrote down everything they did for seven days, their perception of how much free time they had doubled. Keeping a log will help you distinguish between time wasting activities and those that contribute to your success. It will also help you determine when your most productive times are during the day and so you can schedule your most (and least) taxing tasks accordingly.
Break your day up into one hour slots, at the turn of the hour; record exactly what you did during the previous hour. This should take no more than one or two minutes to complete. You only need to do this for one week to get a complete understanding of how you are spending your time. The time you invest into this exercise will be very small, verse the time you will gain in the future.
Follow the link below to download a worksheet to guide you through the process of monitoring your activities for the next seven days.
Make a TO DO LIST
If you are constantly trying to keep up with urgent (but not necessarily important) tasks, you need to prioritize these tasks and make a list. There is a little saying that goes” for every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.” You must clearly distinguish between urgent and important tasks, this way you become both effective and time efficient.
After completing this time management training course you will understand why, you must break really big overwhelming tasks down into bite size action steps that can easily be accomplished. This makes the really big and overwhelming tasks easy to manage and complete. I have found that if I break my To do list into lists that contain no more than a maximum of 10 items each, I more readily get a feeling of accomplishment as I move from list to list during the day. Don’t forget to review your to do list every day during your evening review.
Technology has become both a time saver and unfortunately if we allow a huge consumer of our time. The myriad of communication tools available, which include SMS, email, Facebook and Skype etc are major sources of distraction every day. The attention we divert to utilize these very valuable sources of information can negatively affect our concentration, attention, productivity and decision making abilities.
Just like with your overall goal of managing your time, energy and activities, you must manage your usage of these tools as well. Your activity log will reveal how much time you are spending on unnecessary time wasting things such as reading junk emails, sending and reading unnecessary SMS, Chatting to friends on Facebook, watching too much TV etc.
You must never leave leave your email open all day as this will distract your attention every time a new mail comes in. The best way I have found to deal with effectively utilizing these very valuable forms of communication is to set aside two blocks of time, for example one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening to attend to email only.
You must set a small block of time aside each day for social networking and be very disciplined in sticking to your allocated time. The allocation of time is obviously made every evening when you are doing your daily planning for the next day. Please don’t forget to review how disciplined you were that day and how well you stuck to your committed time allocation for emails, social networking etc. If you are not sticking to your allotted time, put the necessary mental steps in place to stick to your allotted time the next day.
Until you begin to manage all the technology that bombards your existence each day, the technology will manage you.
Lack of assertion can and in most cases will affect your effective time, energy and activity management system. Your inability to refuse unreasonable or unrealistic demands from your co-workers, managers and family members and a deep sense of not wanting to disappoint people around you, can become a huge energy sapping waste of your valuable time.
This includes learning when to say no to people, when they just want to chat to you or share their problems with you. It includes saying no to taking on work that can be delegated or effectively done by others. Never promise more than you can deliver as this will negatively affect your performance and keep you away from doing the tasks that are really important. Or more importantly will stop you from doing the things that are really important to you such as spending time with your family.
It is unlikely that someone will look back over their life saying “I wish I had spent more time at the office or away from my family” Life is an amazing journey, put things in place now to get more out of your day, so that you can begin to get harmonious balance in your life. I am positive you will feel more fulfilled and content when you improve the level of balance in your life.
Start to schedule quality time with those people that are near and dear to you, schedule time for you and schedule time to rest and recharge your batteries. Allocate at last 24 hours every week to doing nothing but spending time with your self and your family.
Our Journey through Life
Don’t put all your energy and focus in reaching various milestones in your life. The milestones are very important, but the journey to each milestone is what this wonderful journey called life is really all about. Take some time and imagine that you are at the end of your life and ask yourself what you would have loved to do more of? Now start to put plans in place to allow yourself to allow yourself to do exactly that.
Life is a beautiful trip; it is up to you to enjoy the ride.