To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” Many of you will recognize this line as a quote from the popular song “Turn! Turn! Turn!” by The Byrds, which hit number one on the charts in December of 1965. Others will recognize it as a variant of King Solomon’s words from the Book of Ecclesiastes, which provided the source material for the song. What is fantastic about these words is that they were just as true during King Solomon’s reign nearly 3000 years ago as they were in 1965 and as they are today.
Time is an impartial element in our lives, and each of us is given as much time in the course of the day as the next person. Understanding how to use that time wisely so that things get their due attention when they should is a challenge we all face as human beings. The following tips are offered in an attempt to help you meet that challenge.
- Developing a strategy to use time more effectively requires some planning. Choose a regular week to take inventory of how you use time both at work and at home, including the weekend. Record how much time you spend doing various activities.
- Study the results of your time inventory. Make decisions about where time is productively spent and where time can be better utilized, and adjust your schedule and habits accordingly to maximize your productivity.
- Once you have a longer-term strategy in place for better utilizing your time, take time every morning to schedule your day. Include the most important or urgent things to be done that day and make them a priority. Do them first if you can.
- When making your daily plan, set time limits for when to complete tasks. However, try to give yourself more time than you think you need for each task because the natural inclination of people is to think that a job won’t take as long as it actually will. The time limits themselves, however, will help you stay focused and on task.
- Take everything one step or task at a time. It is easy to get overwhelmed when you think about everything that needs to be done, and that can lead to discouragement or procrastination. Tackling items on your schedule in chunks can make completing the entire list more manageable.
- Take a break between tasks. Taking a break between tasks can give your mind time to relax and refresh. This can help rejuvenate you before the next task. This downtime can also provide a nice opportunity to reflect on what was successfully done with the last task and what may need to be done with the next item on your schedule. Taking the extra time to reflect can lead to better results in the future.
- Just say no. If you find yourself overwhelmed with things to do, learning to say this little two-letter word can save you an incredible amount of time. Showing people that you value your time by not agreeing to do every little thing requested of you may also help them learn to value your time as well. Prioritize the things that are truly important to you and make sure that you have enough time for them.
- When you absolutely have to get something done on your list in a timely fashion, isolate yourself and get it done. Find an empty room where you can be alone and make it clear that you are not to be disturbed until the task is done. This can be the best way to minimize distractions while forcing yourself into action.
- Identify time wasters and eliminate as many of them as possible at times when you are to be productive. Don’t procrastinate because you are checking e-mails, posting to social media accounts, watching television, or playing video games. Unless engaging in these activities relates to your business, save them for scheduled leisure times. Even if they do relate to your business, don’t give them more attention than they deserve.
- Eat well. Relax. Exercise. Sleep. As busy people, we have a tendency to try to squeeze a few more tasks into our already packed schedules, frequently to the detriment of our own well-being. Aside from keeping us energized and more productive during scheduled work times, achieving a proper and healthy work/life balance is important to living a happy and meaningful existence.
There you have it. Ten time management tips to help you lead a happier and more productive life. Take King Solomon’s advice. Learning to do everything in its proper time and season will help you turn, turn, turn out higher quality work while experiencing greater contentment in the process.
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