In today’s hustle and bustle lifestyle, it can be difficult to find time to dedicate towards our goals. Well, that’s not entirely true since few of us work and sleep every hour of the day, but it is true that many of us have a lot less spare time than our parents had decades ago.
Although this may be a fact of life nowadays, this doesn’t excuse you from trying!
Developing solid time management skills will benefit you not only with achieving your personal goals, but also every aspect of your life.
Once you have trained your mind to calculate the most efficient path or means towards achieving a task or goal, it will become second nature and you will start doing it even when you don’t realize it.
Time management is a quiet skill that anyone can learn, yet despite its obvious benefits too few people ever bother trying to master it.
When you break it down, time management consists of two elements:
- Dedication – You need to dedicate yourself to making time for a particular task, no matter how inconvenient it may be.
- Efficiency – You need to perform all your tasks in as fast a manner as possible, such that you free up more time to pursue your goals or other obligations.
Dedication goes hand in hand with motivation, so as long as you can keep yourself motivated you will probably be able to remain dedicated to your task. This leaves us with efficiency.
Finding the most efficient route can either be simplistic or extremely difficult depending on how you approach your goal or task. What’s the quickest way to improve your efficiency?
Eliminate time wasters!
It sounds so easy, doesn’t it? If only it were. Here are some of the most common time wasters that we fall victim to:
1) Distractions such as television
How many of us have turned on the television just to provide “background noise” while we’re working at our desk? Before we know it something captures our attention and our work takes a backseat.
2) The telephone
Some of our goals (business-oriented ones) might require being readily available for telephone calls, but if you need to focus on a goal and don’t require using the phone to do it then consider simply not answering it. Let your answering machine pick it up so that if it’s someone important you can pick it up, and if it’s not you can ignore it and continue working.
When you set a goal you must commit to it. Don’t allow distractions to pull you away. Indecision. While it’s good to look at both sides of an issue before making a decision, this can be taken way too far if you’re not careful.
There’s a distinct difference between contemplating both sides of an issue and waffling on an issue. Learn to quickly analyze both sides and make a firm decision. Right or wrong, leaders lead – they don’t waffle.
No forethought or planning. Without a detailed blueprint of what you are about to achieve, you will work with far less efficiency. Chart out what you plan to do each day and keep to that schedule!
The higher up the corporate world you’ve travelled, the more familiar you probably are with meetings.
Sometimes it can seem like half our day is caught up in meetings! (In fact, some studies have shown that many business professionals spend as much as 17 hours per week in meetings!)
In most cases, what is covered in a meeting can be covered in a fraction of the time through an e-mail or memo?
Meetings are abused in today’s business world.
5) Stress or fatigue
In order to function at high efficiency, your mind must be sharp and ready. Stress and fatigue can cause your mind to wander, lose focus and slow down.
An organized desk or routine is an efficient one.
For example, if you need to dig through a mess of papers to uncover a phone number, that’s the time that was needlessly wasted since if you had it stored on a neat Rolodex you would have been able to access it instantly.
7) Inability to say no
Often, friends, family or co-workers ask us to perform small favours, and while it’s honourable that you would want to help out when you can it’s important that you don’t give so much of yourself that there’s no time left for you.
Sometimes you just have to say no.
Much has been said again and again about preparing a proper goals worksheet before taking on your personal project; hopefully the above will show you why.
At least four of the efficiency-eaters listed above would be eliminated with the use of a simple outline/worksheet.
Although the focus of this web guide has been on personal goals, technically much of what has been said is valid for any task that you might face.
With the proper mentality, motivation, prior planning and execution you can improve all areas of your life.