Time Management is one of those
things that is so important. In my day, this wasn't taught in schools so I
struggled in the early part of my career, spending more time than I should and
on tasks that I probably shouldn't have even worried about in the first place.
If this sounds even vaguely like you then you should find some of the following
tips very worthwhile. In fact, even if you are incredibly organized I think that
you will find something of use in the following paragraphs:
Time Management Tip No. 1 - Structure your "To Do" lists
This is a great reliever of stress too. So simple but it really works...
Step 1. Write down all the tasks that you have to do. Go on - ALL of them !
Step 2. Head 4 columns with the following headings:
A. Urgent and Important
B. Urgent but not important
C. Not urgent but Important
D. Not urgent and not important
Step 3. Allocate your tasks to a column depending on the tasks urgency and
Step 4. Carry out the tasks in the following order: A, C, B, D. I know B tasks
are urgent, but they are not important - so who cares? If you have any tasks in
D and do not get to them - they weren't urgent, they weren't important - so who
Finally, at the end of the day congratulate yourself on the tasks that you did
get done - DO NOT stress over the ones that didn't get done - there is always
tomorrow and another list.....
Time Management Tip No. 2 - It's OK to say "No" !
This sounds too simple to be effective but please hear me out ! There are only
24 hours in one day. You cannot compress time. You cannot stretch time. You only
have the 1440 minutes in any one day to do what you need to do. Very often in
life we will take on an additional duty, whether at work, at home or somewhere
else - and expect to "squeeze it in". This is fine but life is getting busier
and busier and a lot of people are finding that they simply have too much to do
and cannot "squeeze" anything else in. You need to recognise that by "squeezing"
something in, something else has to give, that something ends up being "your"
time, your time to relax, sleep, spend with your family or even spend on your
own. Remember, you cannot compress, stretch or even squeeze time - it is
finite! So how do you get around the problem ? Easy ! You say no - no to the
next person who asks what ever demand is made of you that cuts into "your"
time. You have the power to say "No". Trust me.
Time Management Tip No. 3 - Be Ruthless with time,
gracious with people
Be ruthless with time, be gracious with people. Always make time for people, no
matter how busy you are. You can always ask unexpected visitors to come back if
you genuinely do not have enough time right at that moment. In life, whether at
work or elsewhere, you can learn to spot people that are time users. They are
the ones who stop by the coffee machine or just pop into your office "for a
chat". Nevertheless, be gracious with these people, say things like "Hey, I
haven't got time to chat right now, how about we talk about this over lunch?".
This way, the other persons feelings do not get hurt, you get to get on with
your work and you also get to talk someone at lunch !
Time Management Tip No. 4 - Set targets and measure
Go and find that quiet corner. Have a good think about your life, where you are
and where you want to be. Set down some numeric goals on paper i.e. I would like
to be 10kg (22lbs) lighter in 10 weeks time and I would also like to have saved
$500 at the end of that period. They can be weightier (excuse the pun!) goals
over a longer period if you like, up to you. Now translate those goals into
weekly targets i.e. if you are 80kgs now, by the end of week 1 you should weigh
79kgs, week 2 78kgs etc. I use a spreadsheet but a handwritten chart is fine. I
simply put the week ending dates across the top and the individual targets under
each column. Now comes the tricky bit - to achieve your goals you will probably
have to change what you currently do on a daily basis i.e. more exercise, cut
down spending etc. So please change whatever you need to do. At the end of the
first week, write down your actual result(s) against the target(s). If you are
on target, good - well done - keep doing what you're doing! If you are not, most
important this - don't give up, just change what you are doing, changing it on a
daily basis. Keep doing this until you are back on track. You may also have to
readjust your goals if they were a little over ambitious in the first place i.e.
I want to be a zillionaire in 3 weeks....
What's this got to do with Time Management ? Simple, you will end up managing
your time (and hence your life) to achieve what you set out to achieve. You will
spend less time and energy on things that do not contribute to where you want to
get in life !
Please try it ! It really works ! Last tip - start with something small and
achievable and then work up from there.
Time Management Tip No. 5 - Aim High
In previous months we have spoken about organizing your tasks into what is
important and urgent. We have also spoke about setting targets and
measuring your progress against those targets. These two tactics ensure that you
spend your time wisely and focused on the goals you set out to achieve. If you
would like to review any of these articles the back editions can be found here:
At the start of this year I set two very ambitious personal targets for the
first quarter. One was to lose 10kgs and the other was to attract over 5,000
visitors per day to the site. Well, now in the cold light of March I am PLEASED
to tell you that I didn't achieve either goal. I have only lost 5kgs and I only
have about 2000 visitors per day (from about 800 per day in December). Am I
disappointed? Sure, a tiny, tiny little bit. However, I shot for the stars and I
only reached the moon.
But I still reached the moon (and this is a big but). I am 5kgs lighter than I
was and I have more than doubled the amount of traffic to the site. The trick is
to aim way high, even if you fall way short then you will still be high (in more
ways than one).
I am going to shoot for the stars again this quarter and I have changed quite a
few things to enable me to get a bit closer to my goal. I even have my friend
Josh patiently running me up and down the local hills. I'll let you know how I
Time Management Tip No. 6 A Personal Time Survey
To begin managing your time you first need a clearer idea of how you now use
your time. A Personal Time Survey will help you to estimate how much time you
currently spend in typical activities. To get a more accurate estimate, you
might keep track of how you spend your time for a week. This will help you get a
better idea of how much time you need to achieve your goals. It will also help
you identify your time wasters. But for now complete the Personal Time Survey to
get an estimate.
The following survey shows the amount of time you spend on various activities.
When taking the survey, estimate the amount of time spent on each item. Once you
have this amount, multiply it by seven. This will give you the total time spent
on the activity in one week. After each item's weekly time has been calculated,
add all these times for the grand total. Subtract this from 168, the total
possible hours per week. Here We Go:
1. Number of hours of sleep each night ________ X 7 = _______
2. Number of grooming hours per day ________ X 7 = _______
3. Number of hours for meals/snacks per day - include preparation time _______ X
7 = _______
4a. Total travel time weekdays _______ X 5 = _______
4b. Total travel time weekends _______
5. Number of hours per week for regularly scheduled functions (clubs, church,
get-togethers, etc.) _______
6. Number of hours per day for chores, errands, extra grooming, etc. _______ X 7
7. Number of hours of work per week _______
8. Number of hours on hobbies etc. per week _______
9. Number of average hours per week socializing, dates, etc. _______
Now add up the totals: _______
Subtract the above number from 168 - _______ = _______
The remaining hours are the hours you have allowed yourself to achieve your
goals outside of your day to day activity. There are only 168 hours in any one
week. More on this in the next issue.
ENJOY LIFE TIPS
STRESS MANAGEMENT TIPS