Do you need more time? One of the number one complaints that I hear on a daily basis is “I just don’t have the time”. That is the excuse for so many things from diet and exercise to business endeavours and quality family time.
If you are one of those “there’s never enough time” people, don’t worry. I am here to help, and just in time for the holidays! This is a mini workshop to get you on track to achieving your goals and managing your time better.
Now, I can’t do this alone. I am going to need your help. So, take out a blank sheet of paper. Divide the page into two columns and in the first list the following:
- Personal care
- Meal preparation
- Any other activity that you may take part in on a daily basis
In the second column write down the number of hours each week that you spend doing each of these things and total that column. How many hours did you come up with?
There are 168 total hours in a week. How many are you missing?
The most important thing to remember in time management is that we cannot change how many hours are in the day. We can however, change what we do with those hours. It is imperative to focus and compartmentalize your time in order to reach your goals. And, you must start by setting SMART goals.
The majority of people have a general idea of what they want out of life but no plan on how to get it. 23% have absolutely no idea what they want from life and only 10% have specific, well-defined goals. Which one are you?
Every goal that you set for yourself should be:
Here is your next bit of homework:
- Set 4 goals today – 2 health and fitness goals, 1 mental/emotional goal, 1 personal goal
- Beside each one, write down exactly why you want to achieve that goal
- Set out 3 specific action steps that need to be taken for each goal to be accomplished
- Schedule those action steps into your calendar
Now, don’t stop there! While you have your calendar handy, schedule in some of the other regular aspects of your life. Whether it is date night, a call to Mom, grocery shopping, even time to relax, add these items to your calendar. If you are focusing on doing these things regularly rather than trying to rush and fit it into your busy schedule, it will be much easier and take up less of your time!
Whether you have plenty of darts and no target in sight, or plenty of targets and only one dart, this system can, and will work. Compartmentalizing and scheduling will make a huge difference, if you simply do it!
Of course, this is life, and the unexpected will happen. From emergencies and urgent issues to children and last minute work problems, life will always try to keep you on your toes. Think of it in terms of driving: if there is an obstacle standing in the right lane as you are driving down the road, what do you do? You have to go around the obstacle, but it is important to get back in your lane as soon as possible. The same goes for your schedule. When the unexpected happens, carefully navigate the obstacles and get back on track as soon as possible.
Some of the biggest time eaters in our lives are due to technology. If you have a habit of spending too much time on email, Facebook, Twitter, watching television, surfing the web, etc. – you are most likely using these to procrastinate. These are virtual snooze buttons for the tasks in your life that need to be done. The most important thing here is to find the cause for your procrastination. Is it fear? Boredom? Unclear goals? Overwhelming task list? Perfectionism? Once you have identified the cause, you can focus on the solution.
One of the best tools to fight procrastination is self control. Delayed gratification is a very good predictor of success and studies have shown that children who show self control tend to be more successful later in life. They enjoy higher paying jobs, have higher graduation rates and a greater chance of completing post-secondary education. You now have goals, action steps and a schedule. The rest is self control! You can be more successful in every aspect of life if you choose to be!
Keep in mind that YOU control your time, it doesn’t control you. Your mindset is a huge part of this and how you think will make a big impact on your ability to manage your time. Keep these things in mind as you begin making these changes in your life:
- Today is a gift. That’s why they call it the “present”.
- Use the time that you have been given wisely.
- Taking time for yourself is important.
Would love to hear about your time management tools and strategies - the more organized we are the more laser focus we can be!