How many books have been written about time management? You’d think that by now just about everything that could be said, has been said, however, it continues to be a relevant topic.
At first glance, you might be inclined to ask: “how hard can this be”. All you have to do is buy some sort of organizer or today you can use your cell phone to manage your time. Just plan ahead and follow the plan. It really does seem simple enough. So, why do we struggle with the management and best use of our time? There are many reasons why time ends up controlling us.
The best you can do is work to control your use of time and make sure your use produces desired results. When you examine the available time each day, you realize you really only have 16 hours to get anything done…those other 8 hours are spent sleeping. Now you’re down to 16 hours before you’ve done anything except rest. Then you have to consider some other factors.
Everyone needs a certain amount of time each day for themselves. This time can be as simple as getting ready for work, watching a favorite TV show, reading or getting a haircut. Then you have to devote a certain amount of time to family. Finally, you have to allocate time for work. Most full-time jobs require at least 9 hours for work plus travel time.
Now, you’re left with about 6 hours to share between personal and family time. Having too little personal and family time can create stress and have a negative impact on you and your family as well as your professional productivity and/or earnings.
So, how can you achieve the necessary balance between personal, family and work demands on your time? First, you need to have clearly defined short-term and long-term objectives that are in writing. You have to decide on what is most important and what can be postponed (don’t do this one too often) if necessary. Each day, there are things you must do and things you want to do. Once you have specific objectives, you can move toward success by completing tasks each day. You have to be willing to eat the elephant one bite at a time.
Your next challenge involves avoiding the many time thieves you encounter each day. A variety of situations will attempt to distract you and pull you away from your tasks. Your planning has to keep you on task and get you closer to achieving objectives. Keeping a simple journal each day will help you stay focused, allow you to measure results and make changes to improve.
Always start your days by answering the question: “What do I expect today?” and end each day by answering: “What happened today?” and “What did I learn today?” Manage your time effectively and maintain the necessary balance between personal, family and work lives. You’ll be happier and make more money.
How do you manage your time? Any tools or advice you can offer?