This is a commonly debated topic, and the general consensus is that you can’t manage time. Nobody on the planet has control over time. Every single person, rich or poor, only gets 24 hours in a day. No matter what you do, you cannot stop time from passing. All you can do is manage yourself and the way you spend your time. In other words, time management is actually life management.
It’s all about where your attention and energy are going. In order to be productive, wealthy, healthy, etc. your focus will play a pivotal role. So, can you really manage time?
The importance of focus
As they say, your focus determines your reality. If you wish to be productive, you must have a laser-like focus to work on that which will take you closer to your goals. Every single day when you wake up, you have an allotted amount of time to focus your energy.
If you wish to lose weight and get fit, your focus will need to be on your diet and training. If you wish to make more money, your focus will need to be on the work that you need to get done to achieve your financial goals.
Whatever the case may be, you must have focus if you wish to manage yourself and your time.
Eliminating the pointless
This is closely related to the previous point. When trying to take a photo, when you sharpen the focus, the background tends to get blurred out. This analogy applies to life too.
You must blur out the distractions and cut out the time-wasters. One huge culprit is social media. Are you spending hours reading comments on Facebook? Are you following people on Instagram, but your own life is a mess?
You cannot achieve your goals if you’re wasting time on things that will not make a positive change in your life. Time management is all about reducing the time spent on unnecessary things and freeing up more time to spend on the tasks that will actually change your life.
Knowing the difference between urgency and importance
Some tasks are urgent. For example, filing your taxes before the deadline. If you miss the deadline, there will be legal implications.
While filing taxes is not exactly going to improve your health or business, it is an urgent chore that must be taken care of fast. So, focus on it and get it done.
Important tasks may be making sales calls, speaking to clients, studying something that will improve your business and so on. These tasks will add to your bottom line and should be completed AFTER you settle the urgent tasks.
Prioritizing your tasks is what truly matters. Successful time management is about keeping the main thing the main thing. You may feel like you’re constantly juggling commitments and tasks… and that’s exactly how it is.
Knowing what comes first and how to get it done fast is a skill that you’ll develop over time.
Delegate and outsource
Where possible, try and delegate tasks to your subordinates. This will free up your time to focus on the more important jobs. If you can outsource some tasks to freelancers, that will help too.
To conclude, time management is all about you focusing on your life and seeing how you can be more productive. You may delay, but time will not. So, it’s imperative that you gain control over yourself. That’s the key to successful time management.
“It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: what are we busy about?” – David Henry Thoreau
Most people who decide to study time management methods are serious about helping themselves. Very often they get off to a good start, but after a short while, they go back to their old habits and it’s back to square one.
To be truly efficient and productive, you’ll need to have discipline and form some habits that are difficult to inculcate initially, but once they’re a part of you, life will become much easier. Time management requires a shift in mindset for you to truly apply it effectively in your daily life.
Spend about 5 to 10 minutes a day visualizing yourself as being more productive. Put some emotion into your visualization. Feel yourself completing all your tasks smoothly and without disruption.
Imagine yourself breaking away from the shackles of social media and other distractions as you sail away on the sea of productivity. Or something to that effect.
Seeing it in your mind’s eye is the first step to turning it into a reality. It’s similar to the law of attraction, and while it may seem all ‘hokey’ to some people, do give it a try anyway.
Another powerful technique is saying affirmations daily. Look in the mirror and affirm a few times that you’ll spend your time productively. This will sear the affirmations in your mind.
Any time you feel like indulging in some activity rather than working, repeat the affirmations a couple of times and get back to work. Over time, your mind will grow to accept that you really are spending your time effectively and will be less likely to try and get you distracted just to avoid working.
“Time is what we want most but what we use worst.” – William Penn