Post Preview: Time management is essential to achieving the goals and achievements you’ve always dreamed about. These easy time management tips will propel your forward on your journey to greatness.
Tick, tock, tick, tock.
How many of you have sat through a long teaching, or waited in a doctor’s office, and the sound of an analog clock is burned into your ears?
You keep checking the time- one minute passes. So you try to busy yourself. Then you check it again. Its only been a minute and some seconds.
Yikes. Time slows and you feel like you will never get out of there (especially when you were a kid in school!).
Kinda like the Bueller Bueller scene from Ferris Bueller’s day off… it just drags onnnnn.
At other life events, time seems to slip through your fingers. It goes so fast- that you are afraid to blink. Before you know it, it’s the next day, or the next year and you have no idea where the time went. Even worse, you might not have anything to show for your lost time.
While these are some more extreme examples, daily time management is pretty basic.
The premise is that you have 24 hours- during that time you need to do personal things and you often have to do work things.
For a firefighter or other shift worker, you could work for longer periods of time where most of the 24 hours is work and very little is personal time (also, a dedicated caregiver feels this way!).
Because of these differences in time allowances, we need to have some skills to manage our time.
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Why Time Management for goal achievement?
Time management, when done correctly, can allow you to get the most out of your day. You are able to organize and prioritize the important personal and work related tasks an make headway on your goals.
You are able to actually show what you did with your time.
Another benefit is that when your day is organized you can actually schedule stress free, free time. I know that sounds like an oxymoron but it’s not. How many times have you had free time but you had this cloud hanging over you that you are procrastinating. That’s not free time, that’s you causing yourself anxiety.
Using your time wisely is so beneficial to your stress and anxiety levels. You can prioritize what’s important, make peace with what isn’t, and then still have time to unwind.
Easy Time Management Tips
1. Eat the frog (it’s delicious!)
Eat the frog? Yes, I want you to eat the frog.
Let me explain.
This phrase was coined by Mark Twain and has been used ever since. He stated that if you ate a frog every morning, you could do everything else, because eating the frog would be the worst thing you would have to do.
In a nutshell, The principle is this: Do the biggest, ugliest task of your day- FIRST.
Why first? Because then you are free to focus on other things and you won’t have anxiety or stress about procrastination. If you are doing a major task each day to further your goals, you will be making baby steps forward each day. A helpful planner can be a major game changer in your frog eating adventures- don’t get sidelined by indecision.
Brian Tracy, a very popular leadership coach, said this about eating the frog “Successful, effective people are those who launch directly into their major tasks and then discipline themselves to work steadily and single-mindedly until those tasks are complete”
If you want to be successful, you need to imitate those who have already earned success. Brian Tracy acknowledges finishing major tasks will make you successful- and that’s what were after.
So a simple way to success- simply eat the frog!
2. Recognize the time suckers
Time wasters are those magical gnomes that come and steal all the time from the day. Before you realize it, you’ve barely gotten anything done and your list of things you want to do has gotten larger.
Common time wasters can be things like technology, including television and cell phones.
But what about other time wasters? Like gossiping to your neighbor who stays at your house for three hours? Or an unorganized work bench that makes it impossible to complete your task?
What about not setting boundaries on your time? If you let everyone else dictate how your day will go, you wont get anything done that YOU wanted to do- because you followed someone else agenda.
An easy way to identify your time wasters is to simply keep track of the time you spend in one day. Write down how long it takes you to do your morning routine, your daily task etc- then you can figure out where the time wasters are.
3. Have simple and clear goals with follow up
This one may seem like a no brainer- because, in principle, it is. The problem lies in implementing these clear goals and making sure to follow up.
I really like the book, The 12 week year, because it helps to establish a solid plan of action. It highlights the importance of setting quarterly goals and then breaking those goals into action plans. It also covers how to conduct regular reviews to make sure that you are on track to attain your goals.
It’s not that goal setting is hard, it’s that it’s hard to stay committed. Using a planner and allowing a strategy like the 12 week year (or The Checklist Manifesto, which tends to resonate with medical professionals ) can really make a difference in your goals over the next few months. I have a free printable for goal setting, check it out here.
4. Organize your life, Organize your mind
Everyone has done a cleaning or building project at some time or another.
How frustrating is it, to be halfway through the project and realize you are missing something you desperately need?
This happened to me once with an Ikea table- I almost threw the damn thing out the window.
So think back on a time that having an organized project area would have saved you time- especially when you are trying to meet a deadline.
Make it a priority to keep your space organized, and to double check you supplies before you begin a project (even if that just means an extra pen!). You will be amazed at how much time you save when you have everything you need at your fingertips.
5. Reflection is the Key to Time Management
Just like you need to include time for planning, organizing and implementing your plans- you also need time to reflect on what you have done to accomplish them.
This can be a daily or monthly reflection- but it’s important that you set aside time and schedule this review.
When you fail to review what you’ve done, you fail at the most important part: accountability.
If you don’t check to make sure that you are on track, you are most likely off track.
Many successful men and women spend 15-30 minutes each day reflecting on their goals and the steps necessary to achieve these goals. It’s what sets them apart from the rest. When you keep your goals and progress at the forefront of your mind, you stay motivated to succeed.
This is just part of the overall plan to achieving your goals. IF you don’t have a plan in place and dreams to accomplish- then you are missing out. Time management is essential, but not the only piece to the puzzle.