Time goes by regardless of how it’s used. Time goes by faster as you get older. Time flies when you are engaged in enjoyable activities. It drags when you are bored or hate what you are going. You can repeat the same day over and over or fill your time with new and exciting experiences.
Time is the focus of many excuses for inaction. It takes too much time. There’s not enough time. I’m too young. I’m too old. Everyone has exactly the same amount of time each day. How it’s used by you is what makes the difference.
Energy, enthusiasm, and attitude all affect time. When your energy level is low your efficiency is reduced. Therefore, it takes more time to get things done. Enthusiasm makes you more efficient. You approach things with zest and accomplish much more than you would otherwise. A positive, can do attitude enables you to start and finish tasks. Conversely, a negative attitude prevents you from even beginning.
There are a number of strategies you can utilize to make the most out of your time. First, stop worrying. Worry wastes energy that can be used for accomplishments. Lamenting anything from the past drains your vitality. Instead, study the past to discover what works and what doesn’t. Don’t repeat the same mistakes. Do replicate strategies that work.
The only direction that matters is forward. But don’t fret about the future. Take action to prepare for it. All that matters is the action you take today. The best time managers live in the present, not the past, or future.
Ideally, the goal is to get as much done as possible in a given amount of time. However, merely being busy is not the objective. You want to be productive rather than active. You are productive when you are actively pursuing a goal. Activity is energy expended without moving toward a specific accomplishment.
Prioritize how you spend your time. Often, low priority tasks are addressed first because less effort is required. Avoid this trap. Complete your high priority tasks first. These are defined as the most important things you have to do. There are significant negative consequences when these issues are neglected.
Guard your time from distractions. Emails, texts, the internet, phone calls, chit chat, and other interruptions substantially diminish your productivity. Focus is required to address high priority issues. Multitasking dilutes your ability to concentrate. Handle one important activity at a time.
Stay focused on your goals. This process keeps you on track and prevents you from wasting time by wandering. Keeping your eye on your destination enables you to get back on course after a setback or detour.
You lose focus by doing too much at once. A laser is focused whereas a flashlight isn’t. The more you attempt simultaneously, the less time there is for each one. Delegation is a great strategy when you are overloaded. If you don’t have the authority to delegate or staff to delegate to, you can hire people to pick up some of your workload.
Procrastination is time’s enemy. Fear, uncertainty, difficulty, lack of enthusiasm, distractions, and fatigue all contribute to procrastination. It’s too easy to put off things you don’t want to do. Procrastination leads to missed opportunities, stress, and frustration. A simple technique to break the procrastination logjam is spending just 15 minutes working on something you have been putting off.
Keep track of your time. Be aware of how you’re spending it. Reevaluate your strategy if you are not getting enough done. A small change to your approach can produce big results. Now is the time to become better at handling your time.
NOW AVAILABLE: "Dare to Live Without Limits," the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at firstname.lastname@example.org or write him c/o this paper. 2013 Bryan Golden