Wikipedia defines Time Management this way: Time management is the act or process of planning and exercising conscious control over the amount of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency or productivity.
There are lots of apps, tools, books, blogs, etc., about how to better manage our time so that we feel – believe – that we have accomplished whatever we have set for that day. Then when we realize we haven’t used our time wisely, we berate ourselves and on an on. You know what I mean – we’ve all been there.
Successful people do indeed manage their time more effectively than those who are not successful. For many, poor time management and chronic procrastination are buddies. Some of us have to use tricks, some of us need techniques, and some of us need tools. Some of us just need to identify and focus on what is really important.
If you are a chronic procrastinator, maybe what would do you the most good is having someone hold you accountable – a person, not a technique. If you need to have tools, chose the ones that you are likely to adhere to – maybe giving yourself a deadline works for you. If you need help focusing on what’s really important, you may need to talk with someone – a mentor, a coach, a colleague.
Here are five common ways to help manage your time more efficiently:
1. Get Organized and Stay Organized
I was once told by a very experienced teacher that if I have to make a choice between working or organizing my desk or files, to always choose organizing. When the space is organized and you spend less time looking for stuff, you can focus more effectively on actually doing the work.
2. Take Responsibility for Your Time
Don’t blame your time- wasting on other persons, or activities. You make the decision each moment for how you will spend your time. If you allow others to waste your time on activities you don’t really want to participate in, or you’ve been distracted by something other than what you need to be working on, or you just don’t want to do it, take responsibility for those decisions. If you really want to change it you will. There are many tools out there to help you.
3. Create a Schedule and Stick To It
Time passes so quickly, especially when you have goals set for each day. Create a schedule and stick with it. Just as you shower and brush your teeth daily, checking your schedule and performing the activities you have planned to further your life and your business should be a priority. Set aside the time, and don’t allow any distractions unless they are emergencies. Some of us need distractions to help get clearer about whatever we’re working on. If you like distractions, set some time in your schedule for it. The distraction of putting out fires is usually not in our control. Don’t fret about it. Fix it and get back to whatever you were doing as soon as you can. The schedule is a guideline not a shackle.
4. Eliminate Distractions
If you are working from a home office, have specific work hours. If you work in an office with other employees or partners, let them know that you are busy during specific times and hours and cannot be disturbed. When you take your work-time seriously, others will as well.
5. Do An End of the Day Review
Realistically, we often over schedule ourselves. Don’t get overwhelmed by your to-do list. If it didn’t get done today for a good reason, schedule that task for tomorrow; but be sure to give it priority. Remember – it’s a guideline not a shackle. When you have more days of not getting things done than you do of successfully completing your list, you need to reassess your approach and change it.
If you’re a business executive or leader struggling with effectively managing your time, you may be able to benefit from the services of Ruth Mott, a coach with years of executive experience in a variety of industries. Visit MottCoaching.com today or call 888-530-7718 for more information. Get ahead—and stay ahead—of your busy schedule.