31 January 2019

managing timeWhat is the most valuable gift you can give? It’s simple: time.

We never seem to have enough of it, yet all too often we waste the time that we do have. It doesn’t make sense! Every now and then, we inevitably have to pause and check in with how we are spending our days. Are you really making the most of every moment?

I learned a very harsh lesson almost 20 years ago that time really is the single most precious thing we have. Before you know it, it’s gone.

So, if you’re not maximising every moment of your day, how can you improve? Ultimately, you have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Marie Curie, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci and Albert Einstein!

I have learned a few things along the way, namely the difference that being aware of how you use your day can have. Here is how I manage my days. I’d be interested to hear if these work for you, or any other tips that you use. Leave them in the comments below.

Schedule

How can you maximise your time if you’re not tracking how you use it? I schedule every important aspect of my day – from date night and workouts, to business meetings and family. This way, no matter how many unexpected things crop up, you have the most essential parts of your day – the things that really matter – set in stone.
Nothing gets in the way of my squash sessions on a Tuesday, or family occasions.

For me, it’s all about tracking. I’ve never done it myself, but I know people who’ve used time tracking apps to monitor and schedule every moment of their day. There’s also now the ScreenTime app on iOS. This lets you see just how much time you are spending scrolling through your phone!

Prioritise

If you didn’t spend time doing what you have done today, would it make any difference? Sometimes the most effective thing you can do is look at what you spend your time doing. Are you using your time to have the greatest impact?

I often take a look at the list of tasks I need to complete and work out which are absolutely mission critical, and which are the ones that I gravitate towards that are less important but I maybe enjoy more. Splitting this list helps you to recognise when you’re spending your time doing something you enjoy most but that isn’t of the most value.

“Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use” – Earl Nightingale

Stop being busy!

Are you busy being busy? It’s all too easy to find yourself whipped up into a frenzy of being busy. When you stop and look at what you’re actually busy doing, often you find you’re busy being busy rather than achieving anything!

So instead of telling yourself you’re busy, pause and get organised.

Got a minute?

The single biggest drain on time is invariably the ‘Have you got a minute?’ I must hear that phrase a hundred times a day or more! Of course, I always want to be there to support someone who needs it, but consistently these ‘minutes’ turn into hours. A can of worms can easily be opened in a minute and you spend the rest of the day cleaning it up!

Instead, schedule these meetings into your day and maximise the meeting with action points, an agenda and a deadline. You can’t take control of your time if you let everyone else dominate it with their ‘got a minutes’.

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