“There just aren’t enough hours in the day.” “One of these days I’ll get organized.” “My to-do list never seems to get done.” Do any of these phrases sound familiar?
We all know that everyone gets exactly 24 hours a day – no more and no less. However, some people seem to have more time than we do. They’re extremely organized (make color-coded to-do lists), get more accomplished, and even have a clutter-free desk. How do they do it?
Bottom line: Time can’t really be managed. It passes. That’s it. We can’t actually manage time. All we can manage is our own behavior. It’s that simple. However, it’s just not that easy. Here are a few tips I’ve learned from successful people who seem to make time work for them.
Prioritize. Mark Twain once said, “Eat your ugliest frog first!” It’s so easy to put off things we need to do, but don’t like to do. Try scheduling unpleasant tasks early in the day. It feels great to get them out of the way.
Manage your “Time Bandits.” Find out where you’re wasting time that could be used more productively.
Make lists but be realistic about what you can do in one day. A friend told me to rank my to-do’s by number or ABC (A=high priority, B=medium priority, C= low priority). The goal is to accomplish your A’s (the ones that really matter) and fill in with B’s and C’s as you can or move them to another day.
Handle each piece of paper only once. We all know that piles only waste time and energy, shuffling and reshuffling to find things. Here are three ways to categorize your piles: Toss, Delegate, Do (if it can be completed in three or fewer minutes, do it now).
Keep a clean desk (clutter-free). As the saying goes, “Cluttered desk, cluttered mind.” It’s a struggle, but an organized desk increases my productivity because I feel less anxious and frustrated from staring at piles of everything I need to do. A friend told me to schedule tasks by setting a timer for a short amount of time (just 10 or 15 minutes), then stop. Do this each day or once a week. Works for me!
Don’t waste time waiting. Always have something with you to read, make lists, etc.
Establish routines and stick to them. I heard the editor of our local newspaper speak about making your own success. Her Rule #1: Make your bed every morning to set the day off right.
Finally, be sure to schedule YOU time in the day. We all want to be more productive, to have more fun, and to enjoy life more. It all boils down to time and how we use it.