Time Management – Manage your Activities, Within your Available Time
Manage your Activities, Within your Available Time
Trying to manage time, which is relentless and never stops, is as effective as shouting at an approaching tornado and telling it to go the other way. We cannot ever manage time, but with foresight and planning, we can choose to allocate our time more effectively. Money is infinite and we can earn more money at any time. Time on the other hand, when viewed from our current linear perspective, is most certainly finite. Should something so valuable, not be invested as effectively as possible every day, to earn you the best return possible? I want to share a few really powerful and practical tips with you today, on how utilise your time as efficiently, effectively and productively as possible every day.
An extensive study done in the USA, found that people who utilised an activity log and recorded their activities for one week, all felt like their productivity and free time doubled. Using an activity log is really simple. You create a daily log sheet, broken up into hours, with a few lines below each hour to record your activities during each hour of the day. As each hour passes, spend a few minutes recording how you spent the last hour. Do not analyse the data, you are collecting. Simply think about what you did and record your findings on your log page. At the end of the week look back over the seven pages and analyse the data. Look for periods of productive and non-productive time.
One of the greatest benefits, which will come from this exercise, is one of awareness. After completing this exercise for seven days, switch your thinking around for the next week. Before each hour starts, look at the activities you will be carrying out and ask the question is this most effective and valuable use of my time?
As the week progresses, you will be far less likely to waste any time reading emails every time your smart phone bleeps or shooting the breeze with work colleges. You will learn the art of utilising your time as effectively and efficiently as possible. Over time, ensuring that each hour is invested as wisely as possible will become one of your new success habits. You won’t need to consciously think about it. You will just unconsciously use your time as productively as possible.
Planning Your Day the Night Before
Armed with the information gained after conducting the week long activity logging process, you will know the time of day when you are most or least productive. This will give you an opportunity to understand your daily rhythms, so when you are “Planning your Day the Night Before” you are able to allocate the most difficult tasks, to be carried out during your most productive time every day.
Sit at the end of the day or as I like to call it “Done for the Day”. At a time chosen the night before during your daily planning session, you decide, when you will stop all work related activity, for the day. This is a time you give yourself permission to switch off from work related activities and to recharge your batteries. Ten minutes prior to reaching your done for the day time slot, you start your daily planning session, in which you plan how you will invest your time the next day.
The best way to start your planning session is to first review the day, which has just passed. Explore all the activities; you had allocated yourself, to carry out during your planning session the night before. Reward yourself for all your successes that day. Even if that means you just sit, smile and feel the glow of satisfaction, for a job well done. If there are any tasks, which you were unable to complete that day, for whatever reason, these must be allocated, during your planning session, to be performed in the first available time slot the next day.
You will then explore any meetings you have and any priority tasks you must complete. Armed with this information and knowing when your most productive time in the day is. You will set aside time slots, which are cast in stone, to carry out your daily priority tasks. The secret to make these time slots work for you and to ensure that you don’t keep reaching the end of the day, without having completed all your priority task, is to not allow any distractions or interruptions during this crucial priority time, during the day. You would not allow any interruptions during a meeting with a client, to disrupt proceedings. Treat your daily time slots where you carry out your top priority activities, the same way.
Do Not Disturb
The reason most people get to the end of the day and they feel exhausted, but they still feel like they got nothing done, is that they allow constant interruptions during their day. They never remain focused on completing single priority tasks. Set aside time for meetings, handling emails, time when people can pop in to discuss things etc. The real secret to mastering the use of your time every day is to tell people when you are available and when they can only reach you in an absolute emergency.
During those priority task times, close your door, switch off your mobile phone and focus all your energy on completing those priority tasks. When you follow this simple process of allocating time slots to complete your top priority tasks every day and you remove any possibility of distraction from the equation, you will effortlessly complete all your priorities every day and will start to see incredible results show up in your life and business.
Earl Nightingale was quoted as saying that he can tell exactly how successful someone will be, purely by looking at the daily agenda. Are you satisfied with how you are utilising your time every day? Is your daily agenda, going to deliver the level of success you want or is it the major reason why you are trapped in a life of average? Introduce these few daily disciplines into your life and you will see a remarkable improvement in your outcomes this year.
Author: Andrew Horton Time Management