There is a prevailing myth that we, as humans, can manage time. We really can’t. There are 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour and 24 hours in a day – every day and it’s the same amount for everyone. So why is it that some people seem to get so much more out of their time? They recognize that they can’t manage time; however, they can use that time effectively to get things done.
Time management is about effective time utilization. It’s that easy and it’s that hard. So how can we get the most out of our time each day? Here are three keys to get you started:
- Know what’s important.
- Understand time needed for what’s important.
- Block out time for the important.
The first thing to do is to get clear on what’s important. These are the things you need and want to do. On the job they are your job responsibilities and goals. This may be a weekly report, month end statements, or the project that is due on Tuesday. In your personal life, these are the things that are important to your life goals. These may be spending time with family and friends, exercising, enjoying your hobbies. Whatever is important, make note of it, take the time to get clear and stay aware of what’s critical to your job and your life. Make a list so you can stay on top of them.
Now that you know what is important take the time to figure out what is required for each item. The weekly report may take an hour each Friday; okay make a note of it. If the month end statements take a day, recognize it. If you want to exercise an hour four times a week it’s important to take that into consideration. Assign time for each of the important items on your list.
Finally, when you know how much time is needed for the important things you can open your calendar and start blocking out time for each item. The weekly report that takes an hour every Friday should have an appointment with you every Friday. If you need an hour four mornings a week to exercise, schedule it – make an appointment with yourself to get in shape. When we look at our calendars the things that are scheduled and have time blocked out are more likely to get done as planned. These items are compelling on our calendar so put the items from your important list on your calendar.
People who effectively use their time to get things done recognize these three steps and follow them. Their exact method probably varies, but they acknowledge and make time for what’s important to them. This gives them control over what they do each day and they are focused on accomplishing the important goals and spending their time on important things.
We each have the same amount of time each day, what we do with it is up to us. Make this a great day!