7 Steps to Effective Time Management

Do you have a never-ending “to-do” list?  Maybe you’re trying to figure out why you just can’t seem to get everything done. Does it feel like, the faster you go, the “behinder” you get?

If your answer is yes, welcome to the human race!

Time Management is critical to your peace of mind and success – what can you do?

Start with an activity log.

  1. In each slice, list a category. Some of the categories on your log may include: work, family, friends, community, hobbies/interests, travel, self-care, etc.
    We are unique individuals with differing values and demands so our categories will be different.
  2. Keep your log for one week. All it takes is a pen, paper and your commitment. Track how much of your time is being spent (or invested) in each of the main categories.
  3. Review your list after one week. What patterns do you see? Where would you like to be spending more time? Less? Were there any surprises?

Be sure to keep an eye out for things that take time, those we do with little or no thought. Things like showering, sleeping, taking care of our health (doctors and exercise) and personal care.

Another big category people often miss is the time spent running the household: laundry, shopping, cooking, housecleaning, keeping the car washed and running, paying bills, home maintenance, etc.

Lastly, include the time enjoyed on fun things like celebrating birthdays and holidays, planning vacations, dining out, FaceTime chats and enjoying quality time with friends and family.

Practice good time management techniques.

The number one success criteria for time management is self-management.

  • Are you planning weekly and acting daily?
  • Are you setting boundaries, focusing on the critical few, accurately estimating how long something will take to do it?
  • Are you batching similar tasks?
  • Are you delegating, eliminating, trying to find ways to do things smarter, not harder?

Know your triggers and time wasters.

Two of the most common are Procrastination and Perfectionism.

Triggers of procrastination include fear of failure, low energy, feeling overwhelmed, lack of focus and just not wanting to do something.

Getting stuck in the proverbial procrastination loop of putting it off, thinking you’ll do it later, revisiting it time and time again, or hoping it will just go away are sure ways of letting the day, week and month slip away.

Perfectionism has been described as being free from all flaws or defects.  How many things can you identify that are 100% perfect?  The need to do things perfectly is typically viewed as a positive, that is, until the quest keeps one from accepting anything short of perfection.  It’s important to not let perfect be the enemy of good. Instead of pushing for perfect and perhaps getting nowhere, recognize where good is good enough.

Take steps to overcome your tendency to procrastinate by:

  • Evaluating and identifying which of these are getting in your way
  • Doing a little problem solving
  • Taking action
  • Reviewing what worked and what didn’t, and
  • Incorporating lessons learned into your future ways of thinking and acting

Be aware of other obvious time wasters.

Take note of the not-so-obvious things such as the number of meetings and time spent in them, distractions, interruptions, hours of mindless television, time spent on social media such as Facebook, surfing the web, careless research, and cell phone scrolling. I am not saying these are bad things; however, I am saying you need to check in with yourself to see if you are using these things or letting them use you.

Identify what is most important to you, then ask yourself…

Is what you are doing today getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow?

Use your most powerful tool in your toolkit – your ability to think, then act!

  • If your time, energy and actions are not supporting your journey, it’s time to make some changes. You can change what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, and how much time you’re spending at it.
  • You are where you are …  because of you. The life you have today is the sum total of your thoughts, choices, decisions and actions.
  • Everything you are and will be is up to you.
  • You can create the future, and the time for what YOU want by making changes in your thoughts and behaviors.
  • Your decisions about who you want to be, what you want to do, and how you want to do it will define the path for you.

Let this thought sink in… it is not how much time we have; it is what we do with the time we have that matters. Until we meet again, make every moment of every day count!

If you would like help creating and living the life you want, I’d love to talk with you. Contact me at joan@jmclark.com.


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