When we talk about time management, the truth of the matter is that we all have the same number of hours in the day and yet some of us finish mountains of work and projects while others complain they ran out of time. What’s the difference between the two scenarios? It’s all about priorities. A priority is the concern, interest or desire that comes before all others. So maybe it isn’t time management at all. Maybe it’s really managing ourselves.
Time management is how you prioritize your career, ambition, lifestyle, and core values-it will vary over time…sometimes even daily.
Managing our time to give us a better handle on time structure is a big topic. Let’s start with breaking this down into little pieces.
Think about how you want your life to look.
- List everything that you do personally for your business and your personal life…anything your hands are touching
- Circle everything that only you can do
- What can you delegate from the list?
- What are the opportunities to move towards balance…small changes?
Has it got you thinking? Ok just one more step…
- Now go back to that list again and prioritize it
This is where you have to decide to get your priorities done first! Your goals you can prioritize and check off…Your priorities you can’t check off.
Simply saying you have priorities with no intent of making something your priority is as bad as setting a goal and not doing anything to get you there. And, giving everything you are doing equal importance and value is not realistic either. By not identifying your priorities you will feel overwhelmed and unable to complete anything on time or with the importance it should really have. Don’t use your lack of defining your priorities as an excuse for not getting anything done. It’s time to sit yourself down and start creating a list.
Defining what your priorities are is an important step in balancing your life. We all know that time is our most limited resource; time does not renew itself. Once we spend a day, it’s gone forever. If we waste that day by investing our time in actions that don’t produce the results we want or spend time with those that really matter, that loss is permanent. Once those 24 hours are behind us, it’s gone. We need to invest our time wisely and that begins with our priorities so that you can do your best and be your best on a somewhat consistent basis. If we can clearly define our priorities, we can use them to keep us focused and not be subject to the shiny object syndrome that so many of us fall victim to. When we are clear with our priorities, we are clear with our plan. Defining your goals and implementing actions to align them with your priorities on a consistent basis you will see greater productivity, better relationships, and a much more focused sense of purpose.
Smart time managers know that there is much more to do than anyone could possibly accomplish. So instead of trying to do it all, smart time managers are very picky about how they spend their time.
They choose to focus and spend their time doing those vital things that will really make a difference, rather than spending all their time doing many trivial things that don’t really matter all that much.
If you become a good time manager, you’ll not only get a lot more done in less time, but you’ll feel more relaxed, focused and in control of your life.
So, we go back to that original question, while we know we all have the same amount of time, why is it that some get everything done and others simply run out of time? It’s something to think about and not as easy to wrap our heads around.
We’ve all had those moments when everything feels like a priority. How is that even possible…and yet it happens. Our priorities change as our situation, our age, our lifestyle changes. How do decide what our real priority is at this moment? Can identifying that give us the balance we are looking for?
Here’s one more list to make to get you started:
Write down everything you have to get done on a list. Now this is where you get to determine what is the most important to tackle first. Those are your MUST DO things. The next group could be your NEED TO DO and whatever is left is your LIKE TO DO. Here’s the best part…you’ve now decided what your #1 priorities are. Congratulations on your first step. Once you knock those off you list, there might be new things that come up, or you move your NEED TO DO to your MUST DO and the cycle continues. Remember, as you change and you make changes, your priorities will change as well so be prepared. It’s always great to identify what’s really important as well as what only YOU can do…
One more BIG thing to know…
It’s time to bust open the myth of the elusive work-life balance. We all know that there really isn’t anything such as work/life balance. Instead, I suggest you find harmony and be present wherever you are. When you are at home, be present. When you are at work, be present. Harmony…That’s a great balance.
Remember, everything is dependent on your mindset and time structure is no different.
Structuring your time is a matter of choice. You choose to be efficient, or you choose to be disorganized. You choose to focus and concentrate on your highest-value tasks, or you choose to spend your time on activities that contribute little value to your life. You choose to be positive, or you choose to be negative.
As Stephen Covey reminds us, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”