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Manage Your Time Effortlessly – Forget Rules, Invent Your Own

By Tessa Ivascu | Section(s): GET... , | Add Your comment 1 comments

Good news : the fact that you read this means you are actively searching for ways to better manage your time. You have a reason for doing this : you want to move forward with your life, get out of inertia, make major personal changes, achieve success and growth. You have a vision and you have a goal. But this is not enough. You need to get on track and to stay on track. First, you need to get started.

This article is the Introduction to a multi-part series on time management made easy. As editor of several magazines, professional coach and single mom, I have some experience in time management. I made extensive research and tested various methods, both at the office and at home.

And I came to the following conclusion : if you really want to learn how to manage your time, you better start by learning who you are. Instead of rushing to adopt other people’s expert strategies, adapt strategies to your personality and potential. Because they are unique.

As Goethe’s Faust says :

Before you can do something you must first be something.
I prefer to say : Before you can do something you must first be SOMEBODY. In short : be first, do later.

There are zillions of time management experts out there. Each one of them will tell you that his way of planning+prioritizing+time activating is the best, the only way. Maybe. Or maybe not. For example : some of them preach the virtues of « 2 minute tasks » (and sell you the « 2-minute timer » to better implement the rule…). Some others swear by the « 3-minute Power Tasker », which is the same rule + one minute bonus.

But what if the task that these guys accomplish in two or three minutes is a task you can accomplish in one minute ? Or five ? Are you a better or a worse manager of your time ? No, you are simply a different manager. Your relation to time is unique, as is your pace.

Now, don’t mistake pace for routine. The first is natural, the second is artificial in most cases. Routines are imposed on us by the outside world. We submit to them in order to avoid or solve crises. We no longer dictate, we react.
TIME MANAGEMENT FORGET RULESAs you may have already noticed, the same old, tiresome, routines produce the same old, unsatisfactory, results. It’s up to you to set a starting point to managing your time differently. Some experts consider time management a goal, others say « it is a journey, not a destination ». I (who am an apprentice) say it is the vehicle carrying you, your visions, your goals, your action plans, to the only destination that matters : your authentic life.

Once you start the vehicle, you will get momentum. But before that, you need to learn how to drive it. You also need to find an answer to the question : « What kind of driver am I » ?

Who decides what you are about to do, what you plan to do, what you dream to do ? You ? Other people ? Outside forces ? Destiny ? Life, because « that’s life, you know » ? If you want to be the captain of your starship Enterprise, you must prepare for the job. Then, you need to adjust your seat before saying the magic words : « Engage ! Maximum warp ! »

So don’t start implementation of other people’s time management techniques, strategies and tips before exploring your potential, before getting control over what will happen to you in the next minutes, days, months, years…

And for this, you need… time. Training time. Time for :

  • observing yourself,
  • experimenting with different techniques,
  • making appointments with yourself,
  • learning to write things down.
(I will detail all these topics and more in the next articles of the series).

Some of us will need only a week of self-training. Others will need a month. Or two. Whatever. You can be sure of one thing : the time you will be spending in training yourself (to observe, to test, to review), is not wasted, but well invested. Once you have learned who you are with respect to Time, you will be able to take control over it. Then, and only then, you will stop asking yourself the question which tortures so many minds :

Will I do this or that?

Go to the other articles of this series :

Part I : Manage Your Time From The Inside Out (self-observation and exploration of various time-management tactics).
Part II : Excellence Vs. Perfection (see also : Let Mistakes Be Part Of Your Style).
Part III : The Stress Diary, A Time Management Tool.

Previous article : The Goal-Progress Review With Your Goal Buddy.
Next article : 8 Glasses Of Water A Day Keep The Doctor Away.

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Your comment is valuable :
- How do you deal with your time ?
- Who decides what you do during the day ?
- Do you often rethink what you have done ?

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