Learn to manage your time effectively

Juggling act of time

I recently read this quote by Benjamin Franklin, ‘Dost thou love life?  Then do not squander time, for that’s the stuff life is made of.’  It’s easy to tell yourself not to waste time, especially as it is precious, limited and constitutes such an important part of life.  Yet it is so easy to find the days drifting by into weeks, months and years.  Then before you know it, specific goals and dreams are gathering dust or simply filed away under ‘one day’.

This doesn’t have to be the case.  Time can be your ally as much as your perpetual antagonist.  To master time management you need to get centred in the moment.  To control your focus and keep your eye on the ball.  Focus means getting clear on your intention.  Once you are clear on your immediate goal, work through each step one at a time.  Multitasking is great for fast food restaurants, but for those who want to feel a sense of satisfaction at the end of the day knowing you are one step closer to your goals, multitasking just won’t match the results achieved from completing one task at a time.  I challenge you to try it for just one day.  Do not allow yourself to move on to the next task on your "to do" list until you have fully completed the task beforehand.  If you are seriously wanting to reassess your relationship to time and see room for improvement, read these following tips and implement as many as possible:

1) Create awareness and recognition of your current time management.  Time is as much a thought process as it is a unit of measurement.  Consider this:  Your experience of time can change based on your perception of time.  How do you feel when you are running late compared to when you are waiting for someone who is late?  For effective time management you need to start with the recognition of your current time efficiency.  You can’t stop the clock, but you can manage your attitudes, beliefs and actions towards time.

2) Prioritising is the key to mastering your time.  Not only do you get a sense of accomplishment when ticking off the to-do list, this also fuels your motivation and sense of achievement.  Find a method which works for you.  Use a daily to-do list and hold yourself accountable to completing each task at a time.  Schedule time each morning to review your to-do list and make sure it is realistic and manageable.  Set yourself up for success each day.  

3) Eliminate sources of adrenaline.  Your focus needed to complete a project can be distracted by adrenaline, and you may also find that adrenaline can increase feelings of anxiety and intensify the feeling that time is flying.  Become aware of what situations, relationships, activities or attitudes result in you feeling ‘charged up’ and eliminate them.  For example, divert your phone if you need to concentrate, be firm when people are wasting your time, state clearly and politely that you wish to resume your work or that the matter is not your responsibility.

4) Avoid things which are draining your time and energy.  Behaviours, situations and attitudes in yourself and others that do not serve you or your higher purpose will be taxing on your physical, mental and emotional energy.  Identifying and eliminating these will provide the space and calmness needed to enjoy a more fulfilling experience of achievement.

5) Insist on quality time for quality projects and refuse to rush through tasks that are very important.  To do anything else is self defeating.  Making a difficult decision requires time and not just any time but good thinking time and space.  Set aside at least 30 minutes just to relax and calm down and then assess all the positives and negatives as you do not need any regrets in the future.

6) Take time to really listen.  When you’re busy thinking as well as trying to listen to someone, you can neither act immediately on your thoughts nor fully take in what the person talking to you is saying.  You’re left with a feeling of anxiety and incompleteness. 

7) Do you need to give something up?  If you’re already operating at maximum capacity sometimes you may need to give something up in order to make room for ‘more’.  This universal balance has a way of working itself into your life whether you like it or not, so consider being proactive before the choice is made for you.  Have you ever ‘borrowed’ time from the next day to finish a project resulting in valuable lost sleep, or ‘borrowed’ from the time you promised to spend with your partner hoping to make it up later?  Respect the process and be rewarded.

8) Simplify your environment.  Cut down on clutter, keep your work and relaxation spaces organised to reduce stress.  Having mess around you can actually make you feel like you have more work to get through than you really do.

© Claire Hall & Authentic Empowerment.