One of the greatest challenges many people face in business and in their personal lives is that there never seems to be enough time to accomplish everything they need to do, let alone finding time for things they want to do! They look with envy at those who are able to successfully fit work, family, personal, and other activities into their lives. The reality is that we all have the same 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 52 weeks per year – it’s how we choose to spend that time that makes all the difference.
In order to develop a time management system that will be effective for you, it’s helpful to start with some formal or informal assessments to help you compare the way you are currently living your life with the way you would like it to be. Identify the obstacles that are preventing you from managing your time effectively. Become aware of your biological rhythms to determine what type of activity you do best in the morning, afternoon, evening, and late at night. Explore your personality type preferences, and the way they affect the way you perceive and deal with time.
Depending on your specific challenges, some of the following strategies may help you to achieve your goals:
- Organize your space and paper so you don’t waste time looking for what you need.
- Eliminate interruptions by closing your office door and letting telephone calls go to voice mail.
- Be prepared with reading material or small tasks you can complete while waiting for people or in line.
- Get tasks you find distasteful or overwhelming out of the way first. Better yet, consider delegating them to someone else.
- Set personal and professional goals to help you identify your priorities.
- Learn to say “no” and to focus on what’s important to achieving your goals.
- Find a calendar system you’re comfortable with, and use it for all your activities.
- Build flexibility into your schedule to accommodate the unexpected.
Don’t try to do all of these things at once! Changes to the way you manage your time should be implemented one at a time. Just like any other life changes, if you try to make too many at one time, you’re apt to get overwhelmed and discouraged.
Effective time management doesn’t happen overnight, but by determining what changes are needed and incorporating them into your lifestyle, you can take control of your time, instead of letting it control you.
Janet Barclay, Organized Assistant, offers a variety of professional quality services to support entrepreneurs and other individuals who are overwhelmed by the demands and technology of the 21st century. For further information, please visit her website at http://www.organizedassistant.com.