Tuesday, October 22, 2013

4 Easy Tips to Effectively Managing Your Time

Do you manage your time properly?
I was recently talking with a friend of mine about time management and the achievement of our personal and professional goals, and it appears to be an issue that becomes quite a challenge for many people, especially given the many things fighting to grab our attention each and every day, and asking us to allocate for them a little piece, or a huge portion, of our time.

And to pay attention to all these things and all the items pending in our to-do list everyday, we have just one, limited, non-renewable resource: time.

For better or worse, there are only 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, and a year has between 365 and 366 days, depending on whether the year is a leap one or not.

Up to the date I’m writing this post, there are no changes planned for it, and so far no one has discovered a formula to add hours to the day, or days to the week, and more weeks per year.

Therefore, for all things we want to do with our lives, we have a 24 hours day. No more, no less.

Everything you do should either bring in money or make you happy, or a combination of both.

It might sound cruel, but unfortunately, it's simply true: If what you’re doing doesn’t produce money (or helps you make money) or makes you happy (or helps you feel happier) then you can consider a waste the time you are investing in that activity.

Why a waste? Because there is no way you can go back in time and retrieve those minutes you spent in that activity, and make a more productive use of them. The time is not recyclable. It’s just gone and that’s it.

Effectively manage your time by following these four simple steps.

That’s why the first thing you have to do is to set priorities, at least it’s what I do with my personal and professional life.

There is no time to do everything, nor it’s worth to investing your time in doing certain things.

Like the rest of us, there are many things I would like to do, but when I classify them according to the goals I’m pursuing, I realize that I don’t really need to go for that many things, at least not in the short or medium term.

And at this point we truly have to be very honest with ourselves: Remember that one “Speaking in Public” course? you thought it might be a good one for you now, but then realize it should be postponed and, instead, you should focus your time in getting that training to get to know the product you’re selling more intimately.

Once I know what activities should I invest my time on, I have to check whether there are deadlines I have to consider for them, to properly plan ahead.

This way I know what activities should I do today, which can be done tomorrow or later on the week, or which can be put aside until next week, without getting myself in trouble.

Classify your tasks based on the time it takes to get them done.

Once I make the list of all activities that will help me achieve my goals of making money and living a happier life, and knowing when I'm supposed to have them done, then I classify them according to the time required for properly execution.

There are things I can do in a couple of hours, others I can’t. There are activities which are performed only once, there are others that should be carried out on a continuous way or periodically.

With this in mind, I put things in perspective and can effectively plan the use of my time.

To explain myself better, I give you an example:

  • Riding my bike: makes me feel very happy and helps me be more productive in my daily work. This activity should be carried out continuously, therefore I have made the decision to invest between 60 and 120 minutes each session, 3 to 4 times a week, every week.
  • Get additional product training: I'm taking a course that helps me deepen in the knowledge of the product I'm working with now, so it will help me make more money. It’s a course that features 12 main lessons, each of them with several chapters that can last up to an hour each. Can I finish it in one day? No. So, I have made the decision to schedule three to four, two-to-three-hours sessions, each week, until I finish the course.

When I get to this point, I kind of have a better idea on what I will do with my time each day, which activities I am going to perform and how long I expect to devote to each one.

I don’t mean by this that your day should be directed by a rigid list of things you should do, with minutes and seconds allocated for each one. I’m not talking about something that rigid and strict, but what I do mean is that we should put a strong effort to take it seriously and consider it as an exercise in organization and planning.

Your time should be used with common sense and on things that are relevant to you.

Time is a very valuable resource to waste it on things that are taking you nowhere. By now you might be thinking: "Joel,  what if I simply need to relax just for a bit and disconnect from the world to recharge my batteries?"

That’s ok then. You have a very clear goal in your mind: "Disconnecting from the world". That will definitely make you feel happier, therefore it’s a task you can consider a priority for you, thus devoting your time to it would be the right thing to do.

The real question here is: would you spend a couple of hours reading a newspaper that doesn’t have any interesting news for you? could you sit in front of the TV all afternoon long and flip from one channel to another, without finding anything relevant for you to see? could you be at your office, chatting with your friends on Facebook, while you know there is a business proposal you still have to write and has to be delivered this very afternoon, before 6 pm?

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  1. ¡Un artículo excelente y muy bien tratado Joel!!
    Yo también en lucha diaria por gestionar de manera correcta mi tiempo.
    Todo esto que he leído me anima a continuar.
    ¡Un abrazo!

    1. ¡Gracias, Amaia!

      Me encanta que lo encuentres de utilidad. Se trata de eso :-D

      Un beso grande!