Time well managed is the key to the only goal that matters : your authentic life. We all have some sort of vision about the ideal lifestyle we would like to create. Also about what we should do to become our best self. But how and when are we supposed to take action ? How to win the battle against all those urgent tasks that stand in our way every day ? When is the best time to focus on the priority tasks, the ones that trigger personal success and fulfillment ?
Make self-observation the starting point to managing your time differently. Check your impressions, emotions, reactions of the day. Analyze your accomplishments but also the things that didn’t get done as planned. What was the obstacle to your progress ? Was it :
Lack of planning and priorities ? Disorganization ? Procrastination ? Stress ? Time wasters ? Etc…
Don’t try to change immediately the way you organize your day. That would be a waste of time. You need to get some distance from yourself first. Start by finding the answers to the following 7 questions.They will help you identify your time management capacities.
Part I :
Limits, Best time of day, Worst chores
Q#1 Where are your limits ?
It’s a vicious circle : you set an unrealistic goal => fail to accomplish it => feel unproductive. Before setting a goal and planning action, you need to find out the limits to your work capacity. For instance, you may move mountains when you work 40 hours a week, but get stuck if you have to do it for more than 45 hours.
Don’t listen to the generally held opinion that success needs hard work. This opinion is shared by insecure people, who feel they are never doing enough. Remember that more is not better and that work is not a goal in itself, but a means to accomplish it. If you go beyond your limits, you will not only become inefficient, you will loose sight of your goal => back into the vicious circle.
Q#2 What is your best time of day ?
Many productivity experts advise you to start your day by accomplishing your priority tasks. Actually not many people get the most out of themselves in the morning. Observe yourself and get aware of your peak and non-peak cycles and put your priority tasks and thought-intensive work in the right time slots. Use the time beforehand and after for automated tasks.
Of course, managing your sleep and meals properly helps you to extend or displace those «power time» slots and benefit from your most productive time. Most people waste their energy digesting difficult food. Greasy breakfasts and heavy high-carb lunches cause a sudden fatigue which may last for 2-3 hours. On the contrary, fresh fruit or juice, vegetable salads, water and green tea will help perk you up.
Q#3 What do you hate to do ?
What is the difference between people who get things started and people who get things finished ? The ability of pushing through unenjoyable tasks to work on the enjoyable ones. Most of us can be counted on to get things done. Except… those things we should have done yesterday, last week, last month… A good many of them are repetitive tasks : basic chores, common checks, boring parts of otherwise interesting projects.
1. Identify the ugly tasks that don’t get done on a regular basis =>
2. Time how long it takes you to complete each one of them =>
3. Put them into proportion.
You will find out that many of the tasks that you keep avoiding like plagues take only a few minutes to complete. It is letting them hang over your head that is time-consuming. Timing them one by one will help you realize how insignificant they are.
When your brain stops overestimating the time it would require, the ugly task goes where it belongs : on the non issue-list.
Part II : Excellence Vs. Perfection.
Part III : Time Management Tool - The Stress Diary.
Back to :
Manage Your Time Effortlessly - Introduction.