Let me just say that if I hear “You’ve got time” one more time I think I’m going to scream. My whole life I have put off things because I always thought I had time to get things done and then before I knew it, time had crept up on me. It was like a sinking ship. I wasn’t able to graduate college when I should have because I partied too much. It took me almost 20 years after graduation from high school to complete my Bachelor’s. While I feel blessed that I got it, I could kick myself for wasting time.
We won’t even get into wasted time in relationships. About the only thing that being in those relationships taught me was that being loved and loving someone is never a waste of time. What is a waste of time is to allow yourself to be treated as if you are irrelevant. Life is way too short for drama. The only people who should be concerned with Drama are the ones actively involved in the Performing Arts, not every day people. Drama is another issue all together. I’ll get into that topic another day. Drama should be something viewed. I’d rather sit watching a movie and killing time that way, than to have my own life look like a soap opera. Again, another issue for another time.
Then there’s the issue of organization. I’ve heard for years that strong organizational skills can help you more efficiently than being completely disorganized. There is a lot of truth to this. There’s also a lot of skills that many of us could work on. I’m organized to a point. My mind is a very creative mind and I don’t always put things up where they need to be. The ironic thing is that I can go right to where I left something but others can’t always find it. For me, my system saves time but it doesn’t work for everyone. I love the way managers say don’t keep anything on the desk and yet, most of the time, the things we need to work need to be able to be gotten in a timely manner. I understand that image is everything. I also understand that not every business runs off tablets. Sometimes there is a need for paper and I personally like having the back up paper trail for when there’s no power or batteries die. A good old fashioned pen and paper doesn’t just shut down like a computer. I can save more time by working smarter. Not harder.
As kids, we think that we can’t wait to get older. We always have those milestones that we can’t wait for. When I was nine, I couldn’t wait for time to make me ten because I was tired of being in the single digit club. When I was twelve I couldn’t wait to be thirteen because the cool kids were teenagers. When I was thirteen, I couldn’t wait to be sixteen because I really wanted to drive. Then I couldn’t wait to be twenty one so I would be legal to drink. There were always times in my life where I wanted time to speed up. In many ways, I guess it could be argued that I was wishing my life away. That’s always a tough pill to swallow.
Over time, we begin to wonder if we are using our time wisely or not. There’s a lot of folks out there in the world who have mastered time management. They have every single minute of the day spoken for. They plan and execute very effectively. Not one hair is out of place and everything they touch seems to turn to gold. I can assure you that they may have it all together on the outside but inside they have just as many issues as the rest of us. Time is something that we all have to learn how to utilize in the best way possible. The trick is being willing to understand the areas that we need to work on. Here are some tips I found while researching ways to better use time management.
The first one is to create a time audit. I actually like this concept. It’s a great way to document what you do with your time on a day to day aspect and helps you figure out ways to hone your time table. For instance, if I spend all day playing games, then how am I going to get anything else done? It’s hard to make things happen if you are occupied with something mundane. Playing games may be a great past time for many as well as a great resource for livelihood, but for the rest of us, we don’t usually get the opportunity to make money with games.
The second thing is what results do you want to get out of your time? If you say that you want to accomplish a task by a certain amount of time, will you be able to do it or are you creating a problem for yourself? If you say, “I need to take the trash out by a certain time.” Then chances are high you will remember that task and complete it on time. But if you say I need to do my presentation by whatever date you may have, unless you focus on the goal of getting the presentation together and ready, you may or may not achieve your goal. Focus and stay on track. It’s only when we actually do what needs to be done in order to achieve the results we want. Procrastination won’t solve anything.
Put a time limit on tasks. This sounds simple enough but you wouldn’t believe how easy it is to get off track. I can put time limits on things but adhering to those time tables has not always been my strong suit. Getting disciplined really helps with this. Don’t allow the couch potato syndrome to take over. If you want something bad enough, you’ll do whatever it takes to get it done.
Some people say to set a day to do your task. For instance, a lot of the bloggers I’ve found have said to make Sunday the day to set your weekly goals and tasks. This may not work for everyone. I say figure out the day that works best for you and use it to plan your week. Sunday’s don’t work for me because I’m working that day for two different churches. My time gets crunched a lot and in my case Monday’s are my Sunday. You just have to figure out what works for you.
Get your most important tasks done in the morning. Most of us are the most productive in the mornings. That’s why it’s really smart to do the things we dread the most first thing. That way we get them out of the way and can use the rest of the day to knock out the other tasks and goals that need to be done. Don’t get me wrong, you may be really excited about a project and want to get it done first thing. That’s awesome if that’s the case. The point is to use your energy effectively and wisely. The less stress you have to deal with the better.
This one is super important. Get rid of any distractions. it’s really easy to think we can multitask and do a great job and there are folks who can but when the phone is consistently ringing, the radio is on, the people are lined up to ask you questions, and the world doesn’t stop, it’s very easy to get distracted and make a lot of mistakes. Take the time to evaluate what your needs are going to be and how you can keep distractions from getting in the way of your time.
There’s several other things I found but you get the gist. Take your breaks when you need to and don’t sweat the small stuff. I would say don’t strive for perfection but all of us strive to make things the best that we can. The hardest part is not to let others see you sweat. Your time is very valuable. Whatever you do, learn to breathe and manage your time before your time manages you. None of us needs to live with regret. The truth is that every single one of us has the ability to do great things with the time we have on earth, the question is how will we use our time to make the difference?