To organize life and manage time we have to aim to manage self. How we spend time that produces results (or lack of) is about choices, habits, and actions. Here are ten tips to get the most of your day and the results you want.
1. Know Your Priorities
For least resistance align priorities based on who you are. What is really important to you? List 3-5 top priorities in order. Look at them daily. What goals are most important right now for long-term fulfillment?
2. Be Aware of Time Bandits!
Monitor how you spend time for 24-72 hours. Notice where time is wasted or how it can be put to better use. EX: Run errands once a week versus daily trips. Notice distracters, those things that steal your focus such as phone calls, e-mail, things breaking down, etc.
3. Set your Mind on the Ultimate Result
Thoughts guide behavior. Focus negatively, and you may get discouraged and quit. The Wright Brothers focused on the end result, 'what it takes to fly', not being grounded. Choose your line of thought or your brain will take a shortcut and choose the thought pattern/ habit that is in place, whether or not it serves you. It is a choice! You can accept or reject a thought. Choose a positive, results-aimed mind set always!
4. Have an Efficient Scheduling System
Whether using a pda, home computer, or a planner, it is critical to have a structure that supports your planning style. I love the planner systems at www.day-timer.com and www.franklincovey.com which provide monthly calendars, daily appointment schedule, space for daily notes, and more in one efficient hand-held planner.
5. Schedule Priorities First, Block Time, and Take Action
Block time for priorities first, then follow through. Focus on how great you will feel after doing it. Block time for various roles and avoid multi-tasking to maintain focus. Do not do housework during business hours. Set yourself up for success by scheduling high energy tasks when you have energy and low energy tasks later. Stay fully focused to complete priorities with excellence. Give full attention to one activity at a time.
6. Set Time Limits
Set a time limit when you begin a task then stay focused. This takes practice. Most tasks take longer than we anticipate, but it will save time. Most of us could waste plenty of time on e-mail, but can save a lot when we set a limit.
7. Plan a Day Ahead
For most, each day is different. It helps to plan your schedule the day/evening before. Then you can jump out of bed in the morning with a smile on because you know exactly what to do.
8. Create Daily Habits that Serve You
What daily action would make the greatest positive difference? Examples: Spiritual studies, go to bed or wake up earlier, watch less tv, read, make three new contacts, drink more water, do something you love, limit time for e-mail, write, organize, plan, create, help others, etc. Make it specific. Ask which daily habits uplift you and which hold you back then make a shift.
9. Do It, Delegate It, or Dump It
It is easier to stay in action on priorities when you leverage your strengths, passions, values, and skills. Learn in action and gain experience. Delegate what is not your cup of tea. Dump what is not that important right now. Block time to handle tolerations that drain your energy such as clutter, repairs, etc.
10. Simplify and Systematize
Put systems in place to make things easier. Consistently seek the more efficient way. EX: position employees to leverage their strengths/ passions, run errands weekly when stores are low traffic, when you buy something get rid of something to avoid clutter, organize the office at the end of each day, give everything a home so nothing is ever lost. Strive for efficiency.