The trouble with time management is that you never, ever manage time. There are 168 hours in a week and they keep ticking away no matter what you do. Once you realize this, your view changes from “managing time” to “managing what I do with my time.” Stop trying to manage time and shift to managing yourself. This shift is monumental. How can you start to make that shift today? Here are a few ideas.
Analyze your time. You think you know how you are spending your time. Track it and see if you are right. Keep a little notepad (or a spreadsheet if you are digitally inclined) and set an alarm to go off every 30 minutes. Stop what you are doing and write down your activities for the previous 30 minutes. Do this for a week. What you discover is a more accurate picture of how you spend your time. I can tell you that every coaching client of mine who has done this has been surprised by the results.
If you can’t do it every 30 minutes, set your alarm for a 60 minute segment. If you can’t write it down when the alarm erupts, do it the next time the alarm goes off. Get as accurate a record as you can.
Set a plan. You can’t take control of the past but you can control your future. Look at your analysis, strategize, and set a plan. You may discover:
- You don’t have a plan. You schedule your appointments nd then everything else just happen.
- You are doing the things at the wrong time of day (right things, wrong time). Try shifting them around to improve your productivity.
- You have a schedule and ignore it (yeah, me too). Maybe you will want to try scheduling more to lock in activities. Maybe you want to schedule less so you have flextime.
- You have irregular sleep, exercise, or eating patterns. Research says this doesn’t end well.
- You can’t say, “NO.” without feeling guilty.
Whatever your issue, sort it out and make a plan to correct it.
Start with small steps. The normal tendency is to try and change everything at once. Resist this. You are setting yourself up for failure. Set a plan with small changes that you can make stick. Then, DO NOT DEVIATE DESPITE TEMPTATION. New habits are built from small steps.
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