Making Time Work for You

Making Time Work for You

01/7/15 James Winston

Now that you may be setting goals for the New Year, it is probably a good time to look at your time management skills. It is probably not surprising that if you can manage your time that you are more likely to keep on track with your goals. And more importantly, you will learn to challenge yourself when you fall into that old habit of saying, “I don’t have time.”

Take a moment to answer these questions:

  • I never have time to __________
  • I spend way too much time on _________
  • One thing I wish I could do every day is _________
  • I procrastinate whenever I have to __________

Review your answers. How long have you been feeling this way? What gets in the way of you accomplishing what you want? Many times, we have more control than we think. Let’s take a look at the top 10 time wasters:

10. Crisis management
9. Telephone, email, internet
8. Poor planning
7. Attempting to do too much
6. Interruptions and distractions
5. Poor delegation
4. Personal disorganization
3. Lack of self-discipline
2. Inability to say “NO”
1. Procrastination

Do any of these ring a bell? Can you identify the time wasters that are keep you from having time to do “____,” spending less time on “____,” doing the one thing (“____”) you like everyday, and no longer procrastinating whenever you have to “____”.  Stephen Covey reminds us that, “Time management is really a misnomer – the real challenge is not to manage time, but to manage yourself.”

Just by answering the questions above and looking at common time wasters, you might be able to determine where time is your friend and where time is your foe. Here are some additional tips to find ways to free up time and replace those time wasters with productivity.

Make a time diary It is important to lay out how you currently use your time. Log the hours in your day: Morning routine, driving, work, meetings, lunch, after work activities, tv watching, surfing the net and social media, etc. Be honest with yourself, and be thorough. Do you see time that is not being used wisely?

Learn to say no We can’t forgo all responsibilities, but we can look at our priorities, goals, and set boundaries to preserve those items and not take on more things that could jeopardize what is most important to you.

Schedule priorities In the words of Stephen Covey, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” Identify your priorities, allot how much time they will take, and schedule them like you would do any other meeting. You wouldn’t miss a work meeting, right? You should have that same attitude about your own personal priorities.

Use technology to better manage your time Although technology can be one of those time wasters, it can also be a friend. There are many time management apps that can help you manage your schedule, keep to-do lists, monitor your productivity, and more. Click here to get a list of helpful apps.

Advocate for yourself As you put new time management skills in place, communicate to those who may try to interfere with your goals. Let them know what you are doing, when you are doing it, why it is important, and what you need from them to help you stay accountable. Remember, time is our most precious resource. Figure out how to use it wisely and in your favor.

Remember, time is our most precious resource. Figure out how to use it wisely and in your favor.

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