When it comes to time management, I’ve had a bumpy ride. In an effort to increase my productivity I finally bought a diary and created a list of goals. I could never have anticipated the enormous impact those two simple steps would have. Eager to develop effective time management, I continued to read all I could on the topic. Although I’m still learning I’m now in a place where I’m dedicating time to what matters to me most and making more progress than I ever imagined was possible. If you feel, as I did, that the days pass you by without your consent and you are always running against the clock, effective time management may well be your new best friend.

 

For an initial boost to your productivity one of the best things to do is to declutter your living and work space. In your living space focus on where you will work on your goals and hobbies. When I first set out on my time management quest I did a deep spring clean of my bedroom, the area where most of my activities were based. I even allocated a drawer space for my bills so they didn’t pile up on top of my stereo. I can now file them weekly from the drawer and can totally avoid any unsightly clutter. Once everything had its place I immediately felt freerer and uplifted, my mind was clearer and my focus improved. It also increased my efficiency too, as I now only spent seconds accessing what I needed.

 

Perfectionism can be the biggest obstacle to time management. Often perfectionists focus on the minor details and tend to lose sight of the whole. If you are a perfectionist give yourself an overall time limit for your tasks and stick to it. This will help keep you focussed on the entire project and discourage you from dissecting your efforts and focussing on the minutia.

 

When managing your time well, focussing on one thing at a time is essential. When we multi-task we may think we are using our time more efficiently however this is usually not the case. It can actually take twenty to forty percent longer to finish tasks when we multi-task compared to when we complete these same tasks sequentially.

 

In order to effectively keep track of our daily schedules it is vital that we write them down in one central location. It is strongly recommended by almost all time management specialists that we invest in a diary. Once we have a diary we simply need to check it daily as opposed to the momentous task of remembering not only everything we need to do, but when we need to do it and in what order. I suggest buying a page-a-day diary as this allows you to write a full list of the days activities. I colour code mine in red for appointments (handy as they stand out) and black for my to-do lists.

 

Once you have your diary you can now begin the exciting process of setting your goals. Please see last months series on goal setting titled ‘How to turn our dreams into reality’ to find out where your passions lye and discover how to create meaningful goals for your life. Remember to make goals S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timescaled) and to break your larger goals up in to manageable steps which can then be added to your diary on a weekly basis.

 

Next week discover the challenges we face when trying to achieve in record time and the necessity of prioritising non-urgent but important activities!

 

How efficiently do you use your time? Do you have a diary or calendar? Do you struggle to get everything done that you have set for a day? Please comment and share your experiences with our community to gain insight, encouragement and support.

 

Exercises:

 

  1. Invest in a page-a-day diary.
  2. Read How to turn your dreams into reality
  3. Create a S.M.A.R.T. goal.