We all struggle with it. Time is both our friend and our nemesis. As I have gotten older, I have seen the implications of both good and bad time management in my own life, as well as witnessed it in the lives of others. I’m sure we all can relate to the fact that as we get older, the hours tick by quicker and become less of an object, more of a reaction to circumstance. That’s why setting aside time for things you love, hobbies you enjoy and investing in those whom are special to you is so important.
I’m no expert on time-management or on curating the perfect process for a productive day, but here are some thoughts to ponder as you set out to plan your week:
This might seem counter-productive to achieving all you need to in the day, but realigning yourself and your mind for a minute (or ten) at the beginning of every hour does a few things. First, it clears your mind of all distractions. Second, it’s relaxing and gives you energy to complete the tasks at hand. It may not appear to work instantly, but get in the practice of doing this mental cool-down and you’ll start to notice your focus intensifying.
Create A Time Diary
This might seem like more work than it is worth, but this is a very tangible way to see where your time is going and how you felt with each decision made. To execute this, grab a notepad and write out the hours of your day from the time you wake to the time you go to sleep. On the left hand side of the page, write the hour and leave enough space on the right hand side to pencil in what you did during each one. For example: 10 a.m., met with Julie for coffee – feeling encouraged and thankful for her friendship. Do this with every hour and see what action was taken and how you felt afterwards.
Treat time as the most precious of gifts, because it is. – Bruce Kasanoff
Set An Alarm
Set a timer for a project for how long you expect it will take. This affords you the freedom to focus on one thing without worry that you’ll get too wrapped up with no time to spare. Be realistic with how much time you give yourself, however, make sure you are only dedicating yourself to that one task. In this practice, you will knock the big “to-do’s” off of your list so the small ones won’t seem as large in comparison. If it helps, turn off your email, silence your phone, or work with headphones on.
This one echoes the first point, but be sure to take your time with each task you complete. In doing things mindfully and carefully, you are cutting out the time that is sometimes jeopardized by having to do work over again, or re-read an email due to a hurried glance. Read slowly and take in what you read, even if you have a million other things on your plate. Also to help slow down, strike a nice balance by having friends outside of work. Plan events and dinners so you have something to look forward to once you’re finished. Use those motivators to get tasks done with integrity, as a way to fuel you through the week as a reward for your hard work.
Time fades from days into months and months into years. Since life is made up of every single little detail, managing your time — even the monotonous — provides a measurable way to get things done and do the things you love.
What’s your advice for beating the clock? Is it something you struggle with or something you master?
Image via Melissa Miller