A lot of people tell me, “I just don’t have enough time!”
The truth is, there isn’t enough time to do all we want or need to do. Therefore, it is so important to value our time and manage it wisely. What is the value of your time?
For me, the last days I spent with my mom or my dad are much more valuable than the time I spend checking email. We tend to think of our time as worth $X, but the truth is because our time is limited, it is much more valuable than we realize. Today I will share some of my best time management tips, tricks and techniques, and a system to help you make the most of your time. What I am sharing works if you are a busy executive or a stay-at-home mom. I tell clients, you can make more money, but you cannot make more time. If you learn how to use your time wisely, you can accomplish more while feeling less stressed.
Fundamental principles of time management are straightforward and can be learned. Living according to your values is the best way to avoid reacting to demands and reclaiming your time as your own. It is essential to focus, plan and prioritize, and think about consequences. At the same time, eliminating the enemies of efficiency will help you reclaim your minutes and use them for your own benefit.
Focus on the results you desire. By clearly setting an intention around the use of your time, you will be more likely to avoid distractions and interruptions. For example, if you are clearing out “stuff” and sorting through things, ask if there is really a need to keep whatever you are sorting through. I find it much easier to donate items than throw them away. I do ask myself. “If I were receiving these things as a donation, would I be glad to get them, or feel like someone was just passing their trash on to me? The Habitat Restore accepts items too big for Purple Cow or Goodwill, and proceeds go directly to help the organization. Clearing clutter will save you time and help you be more organized.
Plan and prioritize. This is the technique I recommend most often. When you plan and prioritize your day, every day, you are much more likely to get done the most critical tasks and subsequently reduce the number of emergencies you have because you put off doing something until it was urgent. Start by making a master list of all the things that need to be done. If it does not have some importance, it doesn’t make the list. Then make a daily TODO List which I continue to add to each day. I limit the number of tasks to what I can reasonably get to in a day. Next, rank each task in order of importance. An A-task that is vital has grave consequences if it is not completed. It might be getting the house treated for termites, buying your wife an anniversary present, or preparing for a company board meeting. Tasks that are A-tasks tend to become urgent if left undone. This can have dire consequences in business and in life. Next is B-tasks. B-Tasks have value but are not vital. They need to be done, and the consequences of doing them exist, but the consequences are not as severe as with A-tasks. C-tasks are things that would be nice to do but really have no consequences if you do or do not do them. We are all familiar with these: watching cat videos, checking Facebook, and looking at our phones.
D-tasks are those tasks you delegate. Only delegate tasks that have some value and can be done by someone else. Delegated tasks can help someone develop skills, enable a job to get done faster, or keep you from losing your mind. If you are a parent of children over age 2 and are not delegating tasks to them, you are working too hard! Level E-tasks are to be eliminated. To make the best use of your time, you must eliminate those tasks that suck your time and do not really need doing.
While cleaning the garage, I came across a box that had not been opened for 2 years. The collector part of me wanted to enjoy the treasure hunt, the part of me that longs for organization wanted to chunk it. We compromised. I set a timer for 6 minutes and promised myself whatever I had failed to decide on in six minutes was thrown away. Putting things into a sort-later pile is forbidden. Handle things once. If you have a pile of tasks to delegate, it is okay to batch them and delegate them all at once. Just be sure you do them in such a way that the pile you create doesn’t cause a crapalanch. A crapalanch occurs when you have a pile of junk (crap) so high it falls over. Get a big box, put everything you want to donate in it, and then put on your ToDo List a time to take it to wherever accepts donations. Oh, and do not go into the store and buy more junk. If you can't resist, delegate it to someone who can!
It makes sense that A-tasks be done first whenever possible. NotToDo tasks should not be on your list, but if you really love lists, create a NotToDo List. Put tasks that tend to suck you into that abyss of wasted time and promise yourself that you will not do them. Great items for your NotToDo list are spending time with negative people and watching horror movies. Declaring that certain time wasters do not creep into your day can be incredibly valuable.
One way you can be more time efficient is to limit the length of articles you read. With that, I will say goodbye and promise one of the next articles will be on eliminating time wasters.
A quote for you: “Life is like a camera. Focus on what is important, capture the good times, develop the negatives, and if things don’t work out, TAKE ANOTHER SHOT!”
Cami Miller is a business coach and works with executives, entrepreneurs, and family businesses to develop strategies for success. Contact her at email@example.com.