Time management is hard for many people.
(article continues below)
No matter the industry time management is not easy in today's world simply because as a nation we are busier than we have ever been. So rest assured you are not alone in this dilemma. If you feel multi-tasked out and always seem to be juggling more balls than you can catch and toss up at once then perhaps it is time for a paradigm shift.
The most successful people are ruthless with what they spend their time doing. The greatest thing about success principles is that they are always the same no matter where they are applied.
The rest of the article will highlight some of the key aspects of effective time management that most successful people understand.
Important Versus Urgent
The biggest challenge in running and operating a business is that you still have a life! But life is not going to stop so you can effectively run your business with no headaches, no challenges, no setbacks and no stress.
You have twenty-four hours just like everyone else does. And here's a tip: even if you had twenty-five it would still seem like you don't have enough time. So the first step is to make sure to decipher when something is urgent and when something is important.
Sadly most urgent things take the place of important things, and important things end up being pushed back on the lost. If something is urgent and requires your immediate attention then take care of it. But, take care of it only if by not taking care of it you will jeopardize taking care of the more important things to do.
Important things and urgent things vary from person to person so you can be the judge.
First rule about time management: you can't manage your time. Time is not going to wait for you and time cannot be compartmentalized. You can't manage your time but you can, however, manage your priorities.
Make a list of priorities on a first day-to-day and then week-to-week basis and put them in ascending order of importance. Knock off the most important once first and only then can you move on to the next items on the list.
It is easier to manage priorities than to manage your time because time is definite but priorities do not have a timeframe. Sometimes you may underestimate how much time something may take or even overestimate how much time something may take you to complete and so managing your priorities is the most effective way to get yourself being more efficient.
Wake Up Early
Waking up early is the best habit you can pick up. Most successful people rise early and go to bed late. And trust me you will not die from lack of sleep.
Set a goal for yourself if you are not a morning person to rise at least an hour earlier than you have been and to go to sleep an hour later than you have been in the past. You'll find that that extra hour you wake up gives you ample time to really plan and schedule your day effectively and the extra hour at night gives you ample time to reflect on the day.
If you are spending most of your time sleeping then success is going to always be elusive for you. Success is not going to attack you in business, you must pursue it with all you've got and this means with every hour you can muster.
Distractions usually come in all different shapes and sizes. Some are self-induced and some you just can't do anything about. The focus here will be on the self-induced distractions.
Some common ones are cell phones, internet browsing, television and exercise. All four of them seem harmless but they take up more time than any other thing people do on a daily basis. The average American is said to watch an average of thirty-eight hours of television a week. That's like a part-time job with no pay!
The first step here will be to anytime you find yourself distracted from doing what you know you're supposed to be doing, write down immediately what the distraction is. You'll find that it is usually one of the four things listed previously. Once you can identify which distraction is usually the culprit it will be easier to stay away from them until the tasks are done.
Distractions are really things you should do after you do what you're supposed to, but choose to do earlier than you should. There's nothing wrong with watching television, but if it is getting in the way of you finishing up your proposal then it is a distraction.
Budget Relaxation Time
It is very important to fit in relaxation time into your schedule. Most people don't do this and find themselves feeling overworked. It resonates more when you can actually fit relaxation into your schedule versus trying to find time to squeeze it in.
Pre-planned relaxation always feels better and rejuvenates. Squeezed relaxation leaves you feeling guilty and exhausted thinking about the work you have to do tomorrow. It is okay to even allocate one day a week to just do something fun so you can decompress and be ready for the working days ahead.
Remember the saying: all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy -- they should add exhausted too.