Heart pounding, I barrelled through the airport. As I crashed into the gate, the agent awarded me a scowl. I had taken on the habit of hurling myself through the airport about four months ago, and now the effects were here. After waking up with a jitter that I just couldn’t shake, I decided I needed to manage my time, but most importantly, I needed to manage myself.
Time management and self-management go hand in hand. In a strict sense, time management is defined as using your time efficiently and effectively. But can we manage time? Time can’t be bought, we can’t add hours to the clock, and time can’t standstill. When discussing time management, we tend to focus on work, however, the management of time and self should encompass all areas of one’s life. Now that we’ve got that sorted, let’s dive into some tools to help you better manage your time, and in turn, your life.
Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.William Penn
Know where you spend your time
For an entire week, record everything that fills your days. At the end of the week, review each activity and put them in two categories, meaningful and meaningless. If you find you’re spending a significant amount of time on meaningless activities, make it a goal to either completely axe them, or at least decrease time spent to a more manageable amount.
Get clear on what you want
Nothing supports time and self-management like a goal. Gaining clarity doesn’t have to be monumental, it can be deciding on something small you want to accomplish soon. Start by writing down small goals, and instead of writing a to-do list, create a results list. For example, if you want to start a blog, write down a goal to write 500 words a day. At the beginning of each week, write two-three goals you would like to accomplish.
Plan your week
What gets scheduled, gets done. Plan your upcoming week on Sundays. If you have a partner, I’d recommend doing this together. You can use Google Calendar, an app such as TimeTree, or old fashioned pen and paper. First, block in commitments like work. Second, plan your meals, and make a grocery list. Third, schedule time for exercise, personal development, socialization, rest, and thinking. All of these areas are important to living a fulfilled, vibrant life. If you doubt you have time for these areas, wake up call, the average North American has 5+ hours of free time each day.
When you commit to daily routines, you become more efficient. Once a routine is learned, it frees up more cognitive resources to use in other areas like being creative. Creating a evening or morning routine is great place to start.
Don’t be afraid to say no
People are effective because they say no.Peter Drucker
Don’t become a slave to other people’s agenda, just say no. Here are some pointers on saying no from Essentialism by Greg McKeown:
- Separate the response from the relationship. You’re saying no to a task, not to your friend.
- Focus on what you must give up to complete this task.
- Accept that not everyone is going to like you, but they will respect you.
- A concise no is better than an ambiguous yes.
Create time buffers
Let’s circle back to my sprint through the airport. After my ah-ha moment, I decided to implement the 50% rule. The rule states whatever amount of time you think a task will take, double it. If 50% may seem a bit extreme, add 40 or even 30 percent. If you implement this rule, the stress of rushing will simply disappear.
Efficiency is at the core of time and self-management. Data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) shows as hours of work increase, productivity decreases. So, how do we add more rest to our days? A simple trick is to set an alarm on your phone for every 50 minutes. When the alarm sounds give yourself a mental break by getting up from your desk, or at least close your eyes and take some deep breaths.
We’ve covered a lot of ground here. If you want to be more in control of your life, start small, and implement one tip at a time. Through this post, I hope you realized that time management is more about practising intentionality rather than counting hours of the day. Sure, some days go off the rails, but if you implement these tips, you’ll face more calm seas than hurricanes.
I’ll leave you with one of my favourite quotes:
And then one day I decided that hurry and stress were no longer going to be a part of my life. Stress is self-centred. I decided to stop manufacturing it. We can choose an internal calm and joy even amid the chaos.Brendon Burchard
Choose the calm, choose the joy.
Thank-you for giving me the great privilege of being a part of your life today. If you found this post meaningful, please share, like, comment, and follow my blog. For daily inspiration and guidance on living your best life, follow me on Instagram @miss_susanflynn.
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