Regardless of gender, race, creed, sex, monetary station, or national origin every person has the same number of hours in a week. Each person receives 168 hours to spend. No more, no less.
Once time is gone it is gone. It is easy to ignore time because it is so elusive. It cannot be seen, felt, touched, tasted or smelled. But it is important to everyone. Time can pass at different speeds. It can seem to crawl but sometimes it goes faster than a speeding bullet. Part of being successful is managing time wisely.
Schedules for Success
The world is run by schedules, even in this technology loaded world, schedules are necessary to manage time. Calendars, day planners, and blackberries hold important meetings, calls, and to-do tasks. These are all great ways to budget time but they can often become overwhelming. Many people find time slipping away from them and missing not only time for work but also time for leisure. The following time management strategies will provide some hints on ways to get the most out of time.
- Be aware of the best time of the day. Some people are morning people while others perform better at night. It is crucial to find the time that best suits the task at hand.
- Get off the phone. The new technologies provides many conveniences and provide many people with ways to utilize time but the constant chatting on the phone keeps people from attending to the world around them. Schedule a time to use the phone for business and also a time for pleasure. It wastes a lot of valuable time to chat mindlessly on a cell phone when the focus could be on the world around.
- Use waiting time. 7 minutes waiting for a bus, 40 minutes in the doctor’s office all of these waiting minutes add up quickly. This time can be used to do a variety of things besides flip through an outdated magazine. Keep a folder with catch up mail, or bills that need to be addressed in the car for these “waiting “moments. While email is great, a hand written letter to grandmother is always a nice surprise.
- Learn to say “NO”. This word will save time and energy for everyone. Many people feel that it is rude to say no but it can be done effectively and courteously. Because time is precious it should be treated that way and people should not let others misuse their time.
Using Wasted Minutes
- Prepare for tomorrow today. This sounds like a greeting card sentiment but the truth is by planning ahead a lot of time can be saved. Whether it is laying out clothes, completing some phone calls, or printing off a map for a new destination, it is good practice to get the little things done at night. This could even include packing a lunch or the kids’ backpacks.
- One step at a time. This is an important skill when big jobs loom. Pick out one small accomplishment that can be done and get it completed. By moving in small steps the goal will be reached before too much time has passed.
- Delegate. Draw on the talent and energy of other people. Try not to work through complicated or dreaded tasks alone. Assign household chores to other family members and work –related tasks to other workers (when possible). This will free up extra hours for other needed projects.
- Notice how time is wasted. If large amounts of time has gone by and the task is still not completed perhaps habits need to change. Many people have “time killers” that prevent them from using their time wisely. Video games, reality TV, or a gossip session with co-workers can all make time get away. Noting how time is wasted does not mean guilt should be involved. It is a way to understand what should be changed.
Using a To-Do List
- Promise to find time. This is one of the most powerful time management ideas of all. One way to accomplish big things in life is to make big promises. The point of making a promise is not to chain a person to rigid schedules or impossible expectations but to carry out plans with ease, joy, and satisfaction. When a person’s work is on the line it is possible to discover reserves of time and energy that was not seen to exist. Promises can cause a breakthrough.
- Make a to-do list. Put high priority items at the top and lower ones on the bottom. Check the list several times and use the strategies above to sort through and complete.
Unlike wood, time cannot be stockpiled. It is available only in the present moment. When time is gone it is gone. But it is a commodity and should be valued so that it is not wasted or spent recklessly. Of course the best laid plans can be foiled by the unexpected. Cars break down, children get sick and alarms clock refuse to go off. That is why careful planning and a back –up plan are necessary. Five minutes of careful thought today can save hours for the future.
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