The way we manage our time is one factor that can make a significant difference in our success. It can be the deciding factor between becoming a huge success or having an average life.
If you maximize the way you use your time, then you are actively leveraging your success. Use your time wisely, and you will find that you can reach an amazing level of success. How you manage your time is far and away the most critical decision you will make in business.
One of my clients can never seem to get anything done. He is constantly putting out fires and dealing with issues that his employees have been trained to handle.
Does this sound familiar?
Sometimes my client gets frustrated and calls me looking for advice. Recently I asked him how often this “putting out fires” happens, and he told with me “almost every day.” I suggested that he try the following steps to managing his time better. Maybe they will work for you, too.
Use some type of time planner. A “schedule planner,” whether loose-leaf or electronic, will help you to plan for each day, week, month, and year. Your time planner should contain a master list where you can keep track of every task, goal, and required action as it comes up. It should also contain a calendar and daily “must do” list. If your planner doesn’t have these things, then it’s not as useful as it should be.
Always write and use a list. Make out a detailed list of every single task you will have to complete to reach your goal. A list will allow you to think on paper. You can get organized faster with a list than you can with any other time management tool.
“A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure.” – Segal’s Law
Select the single most important task on your list, and gather everything you will need to start and complete that item. Set a specific time when you are going to begin working, and then work single-mindedly on that task until it is finished.
Some days you will feel like there are too many things to do. When this happens, make a habit of writing down every single thing. Then work at finishing and crossing items off of your list. The simple step of making a list allows you to take control over your time and your life.
End each day by prioritizing your list for the next day.
As you end each day, organize your list of things-to-do by priority for the next day. That way you get a faster start because you are already organized and ready to go.
Rank each task according to its potential consequences. Start with what you MUST get done.
Break your largest tasks and goals down into bite-size chunks, and then concentrate on starting and completing one piece of the job at a time.
Continue working down your list to those things that would be good, but certainly not necessary, to get done. Once your list is arranged, it becomes a road map to guide you from dawn until dusk in the most productive manner.
Refuse to do anything unless you have written it down on your list and assigned it a value in comparison to the other things you have to do. This will help you to stay on task.
Commit to using a time management system that fits your life style.
You might select a smart phone such as a “iphone” or “Blackberry,” or a computer-based system like “ACT!,” or “GoldMine.” or “Outlook” You might even prefer one of the paper based calendar systems that offer an array of forms that let you write everything out by hand (Examples include: “At-A-Glance,” “Franklin/Covey,” and “Day-Runner” planners). It doesn’t matter what type of time management system you choose. What does matter is that you perfect your chosen time management system and use it all the time until it becomes a natural habit.
Accept 100 percent responsibility for starting and finishing your major tasks; refuse to make excuses or rationalize putting them off. Be hard on yourself. It will pay off.
Visualize yourself working with a sense of urgency.
Program your mind by repeating the words “Do it now!” over and over.
What are you doing to organize your most valuable asset?