“Time management is an oxymoron. Time is beyond our control, and the clock keeps ticking regardless of how we lead our lives. Priority management is the answer to maximizing the time we have.”
John C. Maxwell
Most people feel as if there is too much to do every day and not enough time to do it. But, how does that explain those people who are super-productive and seem to get so much more done than the average person? The way to explain it is that they’ve found what they want to do, and they do what they want to do, and nothing else. This is time-management. Or, as John C. Maxwell said – priority management.
1. Determine what’s important
There are some things that really aren’t that important but you do them anyway. Maybe you talk on the phone to a relative every day for an hour but you really don’t want to and don’t have time to, but you don’t know how to stop it. Sit down and brainstorm what is important in your life and who is important in your life so that you can focus on those things. This is the art of time-management.
2. Schedule everything
Once you know what’s important, use a good calendar to schedule everything, including leisure time. It might not sound romantic, but scheduling in date night with your spouse and sticking to it will ensure that it happens, while spontaneity is usually impossible for most people. Ultimately, if something is important to do, it’s important to get it into your calendar. When you schedule things, be realistic about the time factor so you don’t overbook yourself.
3. Learn to say no
You probably have a lot of people, family, friends, co-workers and bosses asking you to do all sorts of things that you really don’t want to do, don’t care about doing, and don’t really make a big difference in your life other than to suck time from your day. Realize that it’s OK to say no to things that just aren’t important to you. It’s okay if people think you’re a horrible person too. They’ll get used to it and find someone else to sucker into doing everything.
4. Start your own business
There is a saying that only entrepreneurs quit a 40-hour-a-week job to work 80 and call it freedom. But, it doesn’t really have to be all that bad. Entrepreneurs often have a great work-life balance that you can’t have working for someone else. The trick is to pick a business that can eventually be handed off so that you only manage it, and other people do the work. That is the real art of time-management – leveraging other people’s time.
5. Turn off the TV
It’s amazing what kind of time TV sucks from your life these days. Now that we have Netflix, Amazon, and other streaming technology, anything we want to watch is available on demand. This makes binge watching a real thing. Save binge watching TV for when you’re sick, the weather is bad, or it’s that time of the month. Try to limit your TV (show watching) time to less than one hour a day. Then only watch it if you can combine it with physical activity to help you stay healthy.
6. Get off the internet
A lot of people get online and call it “work” or “research”, but all they’re really doing is messing around. Reading Facebook for hours on end is not work or research; it’s a time sucker. While it’s fun, try to let go of doing it. Time yourself to find out how much time you’re wasting, then set a limit. Everyone deserves fun, and if this is fun for you, you should not give it up. Just limit it.
7. Automate what you can
There are so many things these days that can be automated, with the right time and money. For example, if you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can get many things auto shipped to you, which will save you a trip to the grocery store. Look up “the internet of things” and you’ll be amazed at the type of automation that exists today.
8. Outsource what you can
There was a story that made the rounds in 2013 about a man who outsourced his Verizon security job to China. Read more about it here: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2013/01/16/169528579/outsourced-employee-sends-own-job-to-china-surfs-web
Unless you own your own business you probably don’t want to go that far with it, but you can outsource a lot of things such as yard work, housework, and even cooking if you have the funds to do it. If you don’t like doing it, you can outsource it to someone else, giving yourself that added time to do what you do like doing.
9. Follow your body’s rhythm
Many people are running around trying to beat the clock while running on fumes. They are doing that because their internal body clock is not set to run from morning to night like our society tries to run. It’s easier to do this if you have your own business, but try as much as you can to work and sleep when your body wants to do that instead of forcing it out of its natural rhythm. You’ll be more productive; thus, you’ll save more time.
Getting more free time in your life might seem difficult. You might think you’ll always be on that treadmill of working and sleeping without any breaks. But, if you schedule things better, find a better job that works with your needs, and focus on what’s important in your life, you can manage to find more free time in your life. That is what time-management is all about.
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