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Have you ever found yourself saying: “I need more hours in the day!”
How about: “If only I had more time!”
What about my personal favorite: “I could really use a clone right about now!”
If you have, don’t feel bad. We’ve ALL been there. Rushing to meet a deadline. Burning the candle at both ends. Working all day and then wondering what you did all day (because the to- do list seems longer than it did this morning).
We think more time and better time management will solve all of our problems. But in reality, it will only solve a few.
“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have 24 hour days.” – Zig Ziglar
You have the same number of hours in the day as everybody else. So why are some people more productive than others it seems?
They have a good handle on their time, yes. But they have an even better handle on themselves.
It’s not just about better time management, it’s about better self management.
So how do we do that? How do we better manage ourselves as well as our time? How do we get things done when we actually need to get them done? How do we focus and stay productive in the hours we’re given each day?
“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” – Michael Altshuler
YOU are in charge of your day. YOU are in charge of your time. It’s up to YOU what YOU do with it. Believe me. Your productivity will skyrocket once you wrap your head around this!
But in case you need a few ideas for how best to go about it; here are five proven tips to better time management AND self management.
Find out where your time is going.
If you get to the end of the day and your to-do list is only half checked off, or seems twice as long as it did this morning, you need to rethink how you’re spending your work days.
Throughout your day (or even the next week), write down everything you’re doing including what tasks you’re completing, how long they take, and how much time you’re spending on social media. (That means every minute spent Snapping and scrolling through Instagram.)
Every minute of your work day counts, and you have to know how you’re spending it. No matter how hard the results may be to accept.
Own your work time to take back your life time.
Treat your business like the business it is—with work hours, and off hours. That way both your life and business get the time (and your full attention) that they so deserve.
Use your work time wisely by utilizing techniques such as block scheduling and batching so your work hours don’t cut into your office hours. (You need your rest just as much as you need to work. And since rest will ultimately help you be more productive it’s a win-win!)
Get good about saying no.
Learn it, live it, love it, and get really good at saying it. When your work time and life time is precious, you have to say no to some things (so you can say yes to even better things).
Some things you should say no to? Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Tasty Videos on Facebook, funny cat videos on YouTube, phone notifications, email notifications, all the notifications. Choose to be productive by saying no to all distractions (because that’s what those things are). Put your phone in the other room if it’s too big a temptation.
Another thing to say no to? Too many things on your to-do list. If you overwhelm your list, you’ll overwhelm yourself, and overly kick yourself when you didn’t get them all done by the end of the day. Don’t set yourself up to fail before you’ve even begun. You can always add more if you’re on a roll!
Find a routine and stick to it.
I know, I know, routine sounds so stick-in-the-mud and regimented. But a little structure actually helps you focus and be more productive.
Create a motivating morning routine that doesn’t start with you jumping into work mode right away. Set aside specific days or times for meetings. Schedule yourself a lunch break. Create a template for your work day. And don’t forget to create a routine for ending your work day and a relaxing evening routine, so you have something to look forward to!
Set goals, action items, and schedules.
If it’s not written down, it’s not getting done. It’s as simple as that.
I’m a big fan of setting goals (complete with reasonable action items) for the day, week, month, and year. And an even bigger fan of to-do lists. Electronic, paper, it doesn’t matter. But start keeping track of those goals and to-do’s. Studies show that checking things off as complete actually increases your positivity and productivity.
You CAN totally be more productive—right now, today! The key is combining better time management with better self management. It’s yours for the taking, YOU just have to take it!
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