“Time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can’t afford to lose.” – Thomas Edison
Life is short, and while many people realize this, not too many are taking advantage of our most precious commodity – time.
Perhaps you’re overloaded at work with so much to do that you feel constantly stressed, demoralized and time just seems to fly. Or maybe your days are gone with the wind because you’re going from one crisis to another all while trying to be a single parent raising a newborn. Hopefully you’re not the type of person that prefers to lounge all day without getting much accomplished as life passes by. Either way, we all know that we could be managing our time more effectively to be as productive as possible.
Over the years, I’ve met, and learned from, many highly productive people globally. Here are the 7 habits they all have in common:
Every one of these individuals had goals. Whether if in business or in life, they all had a mission and vision of where they wanted to go. Remember, I man without a plan is as good as lost so make sure that you clearly define your short and long-term goals in writing and keep it in plain sight at all times.
Once you’ve defined your goals, you need to construct a clear plan of attack before tackling assignments. This is crucial for time management because you’re not jumping headfirst into a bevy of tasks aimlessly or wasting time wondering on what needs to be done. You’re clear on what needs to be done and are prepared and ready to go the following day. Like goals, you’ll need to prioritize, attach timelines to each item and attack the most important ones first. It’s best to end each night with a new task list for the following day.
We’ve all heard of the adage that timing is everything in life. There’s a lot of truth to this statement from a macro and micro point of view. Not only is proper timing essential for economics, politics, business and investing but also for time management. Knowing when during the day you’re most productive is a vital part of effective time management. Some people work better in the morning while others are more focused in the evening. Find out when you’re most productive and do your best to get the most done during this time.
Execution is key to success and effective time management. Unless you’re consistently accomplishing tasks, goals and objectives in a timely manner, you’re not being as productive as you should be. Don’t ever procrastinate and beware of distractions. In fact, do your best to avoid them and put up a “Do Not Disturb” sign, if needed. If you find that you’ve taken on too many projects, there’s nothing wrong with delegating some of those duties to other trustworthy individuals.
One of the best ways to reflect, not only on your life but also your goals, is through breaks. It is highly recommended that you take breaks daily, including time off for vacations, etc. Having some time off for fun will help you clear your mind and refresh yourself to refocus. During this time, you should also think about what has been done, what needs to be done and if you’re on track to completing those tasks and goals. By doing so, you’ll not only reward yourself previous efforts but also constantly keep track of your progress as well.
Adaptation is important in a ever-changing world. If you find out that your original plan is not working as intended, you must revise your plan and set a new course to getting to your final destination. If you’re too stubborn to change course, you may find yourself sinking with an old ship that wasn’t built to absorb the rough waves of today. So do your best to find out what works, what doesn’t, and revise your plan accordingly on a regular basis.
Nothing Will Work If You Don’t:
Last, but definitely not least, is your health. To be effective at anything, including time management, requires good health. You must ensure that you get enough rest, typically between 7-9 hours daily; do your best to exercise at least 3-5 times a week; eat a proper diet for breakfast, lunch and dinner; have healthy relationships with family, friends, colleagues and peers. By being well-balanced from all aspects, you’ll find that you’re more happier, healthy, relaxed, composed, clear, goal-oriented and focused for success.
When we do manage our time well, not only do our stress levels drop tremendously but we’re also happier and exceptionally more productive when working. In the words of the wise Benjamin Franklin…”you may delay but time will not; never leave till tomorrow what you can do today.” So don’t procrastinate, get to work, remain productive and manage yourself and your time wisely!!!