If you feel like there’s never enough time in the day to get everything on your to-do list done and you’re regularly plagued by the sense that important items are going undone, you probably need to change the way you’re thinking about how you spend your time. Here are five tips for reorganizing your days or maybe your life!
At the beginning of every month, week, day prioritize what you must do to be successful. One of the reasons we fail at managing our time is that we don’t get clarity about what the most important things are in a given time block. As a result, we spend time on things that are urgent but less important. At the end of a given block of time, we realize that the things that would most powerfully move us forward to success weren’t done. If you’ve ever spent an hour in a meeting that wasn’t crucial to your success, you already know the impact on your success.
This recommendation may vary depending on your situation. Identify three to five tasks or issues that are critical to your success for month, week and day. These must be your top priorities. Whenever possible, complete them first before other urgent but less critical tasks have the chance to intervene. The other items can be fitted in as necessary.
Schedule time for your own work. If you are not careful, your calendar will fill up with meetings and other obligations to the point that you won’t have any time left to work on your important priorities. Deliberately schedule two or three-hour work blocks into your calendar, so that you’ve carved out some protected time to do your most important work. To the maximum extent possible, don’t schedule over them or allow interruptions. Consider finding a conference room or another location where interruptions will be minimized.
Don’t be afraid to protect your own time. Work blocks won’t serve their purpose if you allow them to be interrupted. If someone interrupts with something that isn’t urgent or important, just say, “I’m in a work block right now, so can we talk at 10:00 a.m.” or “I’m on a deadline so I’d love to address later, unless it’s urgent and important.”
If you’re a team leader, spend your time in the areas where you’re far better than your staff. Many team leaders don’t delegate enough. They often hold on to projects that someone else could satisfactorily perform. If you do not effectively delegate, you won’t be able to create some time for you to take on bigger and more important projects. Your time and talent should be put its highest and best use.
Select a time management system that you can stick with it. There are loads of time management systems available and numerous applications to help you get organized. Most systems fall apart because simply because people stop using them, or only use them lackadaisically. So if you’re serious about getting organized, resolve to stick with whatever system you select religiously for at least four weeks. After that, it should have become a habit.
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