Time Management Mastery Take Control Of Your Time And Get Things Done
â€œâ€? There is an appointed time for everything. â€? Ecclesiastes 3:1
Time Management in a Nutshell The Basics of Taking Control of Your Time
If you want to focus your attention on developing one aspect of your life, you should start with time management. With excellent time management skills, you'll be able to get more done in less time, leaving you the opportunity to develop other areas of your life.
Time management is a general term for a series of habits that allow you to complete your goals within a certain time frame. Since time management is not related to a particular field (like weight loss, business or organizing) developing your time management habits is time well spent.
If you learn time management skills in the context of getting work done, for example, you can easily transfer those skills to other goals in your life. No matter how you choose to learn time management, you can be sure that your skills can be applied to any other situation in your life.
Time is a Precious Resource
You can always make more money, get more friends or learn more skills. One thing you can never get more of is time. Time cannot be saved and used at a later
date. Everyone, whether they live on a small island in the South Pacific or a large bustling city in Europe, has the same 24 hours per day.
Most people feel like there is not enough time during the day. They feel like the sand is always running through the hour glass and slipping through their fingers. But there are other people in their same exact circumstances who manage to achieve their goals. What makes the difference? The difference is in how the second group of people manages their time.
Time management is really about achieving goals. Everyone sets goals but hardly anyone achieves them because they don't have the right time management habits. Time management habits help you get what you want out of life. Imagine...with the proper time management skills you can fix your finances, improve your relationships, lose weight, increase your health, reduce stress and live the life you've always wanted to live.
In this lesson, you'll learn the keys to developing good time management habits. These keys can be applied to your life whether you are 18 or 88. They will help you achieve your goals no matter what you are trying to achieve.
Time Management Traps Identifying Your Personal Time Management Problems
Effective time management is only possible when you can identify and eliminate the obstacles to your goals. There are several common problems that people have with managing their time.
The most common problems with time management are:
Lack of focus
These problems are at the crux of most people's time management difficulties. Solving these problems can help you work more efficiently and set yourself up for success to reach your goals. Let's look at each of them individually so you can identify which ones you need to focus on.
Lack of Focus Reaching your goals requires an extreme level focus on what you want to accomplish. You need to have a clear picture of what you desire to achieve and, more importantly, why you want to achieve those goals.
If you're not focused on the task at hand, you'll end up letting your mind wander. You'll get involved in another project or, even worse, you'll end up wasting the time that you need to spend on your work doing something else. When the time comes to finish your project, you'll end up scrambling around trying to get things done.
Lack of focus, and all the problems with time management really, result in not putting forth your best work. If you are working on a project for work, it's going to be poor quality if you turn it in at the last minute. The same goes for working on a report for school or for managing your time when you are trying to lose weight. If you can't focus on your goals, you're going to find them drifting further and further away from you.
Let's face it. The average person has a lot going on in their daily life. It's naive to think in this day and age that you can go through life only focused on one task at hand. That's why it's so important to be able to focus on your goal when you are in the moment. You must be able to switch gears so you can move easily between your task and the rest of your life.
A big part of maintaining focus is knowing why you want to accomplish what you want to accomplish. If you have no clear reason for why you want to get the goal accomplished, beyond simply knowing it needs to be done, you won't be able to focus on it sufficiently. Later in the lesson we'll go into how to develop focus so you can meet your goals.
When you procrastinate, you know exactly why you need to accomplish your goal. You even know the steps that you need to take. However, you end up putting off your work because you don't want to do it in that particular moment. You put it off until the pain of not doing it is greater than the pain of doing it.
If you're a procrastinator, you know that you are an expert at weaseling your way out of every situation. You're the type of person that thinks they can't work without the exact right temperature in the room, a fresh glass of water and the perfect amount of light. You'll tweak your environment so much to "be productive" that you'll end up avoiding work entirely.
Procrastination and lack of focus can often go hand in hand, however there are subtle differences. Lack of focus can be a tool of procrastinators. You can make yourself easily distracted so that you'll avoid the pain of working.
However, if you're a procrastinator simply "gaining focus" isn't going to help you get back on track. Procrastination has less to do with focus and more to do with fear. When you procrastinate, you are actually coming from a place of fear rather than a place of empowerment.
When you put off your work today, you're avoiding the pain of accomplishing the work. In some instances, there may really be pain involved. People who need to
lose weight may procrastinate about working out because it is physically hard. However, in most cases the pain is psychological.
Once you identify what is causing you pain, you'll be able to re-wire your brain so that you can use pleasure as a motivator instead of pain. Later on in this lesson, we'll break down the basics of procrastination and give you tools to bust through this time management killer.
Finally, another major issue with time management is unrealistic expectations. You may know exactly why you need to accomplish your goals and you may be very motivated to take action to achieve those goals. You will take action and get it done...but you don't leave yourself enough time to get what you want.
When you set unrealistic expectations for yourself, you're planning to fail instead of planning to succeed. You're setting the bar so high that there is no possible way you'd reach them. Setting unrealistic expectations comes from a good place...you want to imagine a situation where your time is used efficiently.
While it would be great to get a pay per click marketing campaign set up in thirty minutes, it's just not going to happen. Everyone who wants to lose weight wishes that it only took ten days to lose fifty pounds, but that's not the reality.
Some people avoid reality because they are overconfident in their abilities to reach their goals. Others may be using unrealistic expectations as a tool for procrastination. However, the real center of unrealistic expectations is a disconnection from productivity tools. If you feel like your work is taking too long, you can use the tips later on in this lesson to be able to squeeze more into your day. Getting organized and staying in tune with your tasks will help you overcome unrealistic expectations and manage your time efficiently.
Time Management Mastery Program
The program outlined in this lesson will help you overcome any of the common obstacles to productivity that we've covered so far. Reading through the descriptions, you may notice that one or all of them apply to you. Using this knowledge, you'll be able to identify exactly how you should implement your time management program.
The first step in this program is designed to help you identify your goals and understand why you want to accomplish them. Understanding the motivation behind those goals is what it takes to be able to bust through time management obstacles to become more productive.
Next, we'll break down those goals into measurable steps. Sometimes lack of time management results from being overwhelmed by the enormity of the goal. If you are setting large goals, you'll find that breaking them down into smaller steps can help you not only accomplish more but be able to do it faster than you could have if you tried to accomplish the whole goal at once. Steps will also help you keep focus and see the project through.
Using tools like to do lists, goal sheets and vision boards will help you learn to stay on task in the real world. Doing mental exercises like setting goals is not enough. You have to have the tools to help guide your action and help you stay organized.
Identifying the sources of procrastination is another important part of time management mastery. You've got to be able to pinpoint why you procrastinate and how you can overcome these tendencies. If this is one of your major problems with time management, you'll get a lot out of the last part of this lesson.
Time blocking and improving productivity are the final two steps that will help you manage your time better. These two steps are very important if you want to get
more done in less time and be able to adjust your work-life balance. They will help you stay organized and get more out of the time that you have.
Of course, not everyone is exactly the same. You may find that you are already using some of these time management techniques in your life already and you just need to fill in the gaps with your program. Some of you may need to totally reevaluate how you try to get work done and rebuild your internal time management system from the ground up.
Whatever the case is, be sure to read through this entire lesson and see what can be adapted to fit your unique situation. You may pick up some tips and techniques that will help you control your time and get more out of your day.
Goal Setting for Success How to Set Goals and Actually Achieve Them
Of all self improvement and productivity techniques, goal setting is probably the most overused and the least understood. Everyone under the sun knows what a goal is and how to set one, but very few people actually accomplish their goals. Obviously, there is a huge disconnect going on that needs to be fixed.
How many times have you set a goal and then watched as all your good intentions go down the drain? Probably more times that you care to admit. If you were able to meet your goals then you would already have everything that you want and you wouldn't be reading this lesson.
Now we'll take a deep look at what goes into setting a goal and how you can set yourself up for success. We'll go over the right way to set goals and how to understand your motivation. Then we'll go over techniques that you can use to break down your goals into measurable steps and how you can empower yourself to take action on these steps.
Goal Statements: Identifying What You Want
If you've identified that you have a problem with time management, you probably already know how to set a basic goal. You are probably having problems with meeting the goals you set in the time you've allowed yourself. Or, even worse, you haven't given yourself a time limit on your goals at all and are aimlessly trying to get them accomplished without holding yourself accountable.
In order to be effective a goal has to have a statement, a purpose and a limit. The statement is simply the goal that you want to achieve. For example:
I want to make $5,000 a month with an affiliate marketing business. I want to lose 30 lbs. I want to spend more time with my family.
These are all goal statements. Most people don't go further than this with their goal setting and that's why they have poor time management skills and don't get anything accomplished. Setting a goal is only the start of the process.
When you set a goal, you need to be as specific as possible. Instead of just declaring that you want to be thin, rich or productive, you need to pinpoint exactly how you want to achieve those goals. The more specific you can get, the better. Specificity will help you set a core emotion and a time limit for your goal.
Goal Purpose: Identifying the Core Emotion
Your purpose is your motivation behind your goal. Why do you want to profit that specific amount from your affiliate marketing business? Why do you want to lose 30 lbs? Why do you want to spend more time with your family?
Identifying your reasons for doing these things will help you add emotion and power to your goals. Emotion guides everything that you do. Even if you consider yourself to be a particularly analytic person, these decisions are based on the emotions of comfort and control. You feel more comfortable and in control when you weigh the benefits and drawbacks of a particular situation.
In order to get yourself motivated, you have to bring your goals out of the task list mode and into the emotional mode. If you just write down "I want to earn $5,000 a month" or "I want to lose 30 pounds" it simply sounds like you are writing down something to do, not something that you truly want to accomplish.
When you add emotion, suddenly the goal comes to life and you are able to bring it out an unfeeling, calculated place. Since people are motivated by emotions, you'll add extra weight to your statement.
Try this right now. What is the number one goal you want to accomplish? Write it down. Now ask yourself "Why do I want to accomplish this?" You answer will be the start of you emotional motives for accomplishing this goal.
For example "Why do I want to earn $5,000 a month from an affiliate marketing business?" Your first answer might be that that amount would replace your income from your current job. However, you have to dig deeper. What would accomplishing that goal mean to you? Would it mean that you could pay off credit card bills? Greater financial freedom? More money to spend on things that you really want? A feeling of security and abundance? What would those things mean to you? Keep asking yourself until you get to the core emotion of your goal.
Core emotions are things like freedom, confidence and joy. They are powerful emotional states and they are responsible for your greatest motivations. They are behind every decision that you make. When you can identify what emotional state you'd like to achieve with your goal, you'll be able to motivate yourself toward accomplishing that.
Just remember to keep asking yourself "Why?" when you evaluate your goals in order to drill down to the core emotion. Even seemingly practical goal setting like "I want to wake up every morning at 6 am" can have a deep emotional basis. Be sure to identify the core emotion for your goals so that you can use them later on in this system.
Goal Limit: Setting a Date in Stone Once you've established what you want and why you truly want to achieve it, it's time to set a time limit for yourself. Many people set goals and then just release them out into the ether, with nothing practical attached. These people are setting themselves up for failure.
Goals are kind of like children. You have to stay on top of them and set limits if you want to see any results. If you have children, you've probably seen the chaos that can ensue if you give a generic instruction like "Pick up your toys." If the command isn't directly ignored, it's put off until a later time or done incorrectly.
For most children at a young age, you have to be explicit with your instructions. "You need to pick up the pile of toys in the middle of the living room and you have five minutes to do so starting now." You'll find that this instruction produces much better results and motivates them to act now.
Goals are no different. Think about the last time you decided you wanted to lose weight. You probably declared a generic goal on January 1st of "I want to lose 30
pounds this year." This goal has good intentions but it doesn't have the limits that are necessary to make it happen.
When you state that you want to lose 30 pounds this year, you are putting the burden on your future self instead of on you right now. You know that you want to lose weight but you don't have the strength to accomplish it immediately. A year seems long so you figure that somehow within the next twelve months you'll be able to get rid of your excess weight.
Since you don't have a clear time frame in line, you procrastinate on taking action. You don't focus on your goal because there is no clear deadline, and you don't worry about how unrealistic it is to expect that the weight will magically come off sometime during the year.
A much more powerful way to frame your goal is to state "I'm going to lose 30 pounds in the next six months." That means that you'll need to lose five pounds per month or a little over a pound per week. Since this is the average weight loss of most people on a weight loss program, it's a realistic goal.
Since you've done the steps in the previous section and understand why you want to lose weight, you'll find it easier to motivate yourself. Plus you have a clear deadline for your goal so you have extra motivation to start today on this goal instead of putting it off until tomorrow or next week. You'll think twice about getting an extra piece of cake at the next birthday party you attend because you know you have a timed goal that you want to reach.
Goals gain power when you use a purpose and a time limit. You can become a master goal setter when you apply these techniques to your most important goals. Take the time now to give yourself a realistic time limit for your goals. Write them down next to your goal statement and your purpose and place this sheet in a location where you can see it on a daily basis.
Applying Time Management to Your Goals
Goal setting and time management are often seen as two separate factions of personal development, but they actually go hand in hand. Without a goal, you'll have no reason to practice time management. Without time management you won't be accomplish your goals.
As previously stated, time management is a specific set of habits that will empower you toward achieving your goals. You need to decide what these habits will be before you can actually put them into place. Your habits will be based on your goals and when applied in the right time frame they will help you meet your time limit.
Start with your goal and your time limit that you established in the previous section. You've given yourself a target and a period of time in which you need to accomplish this task. Now it's time to figure out what needs to happen on a monthly, weekly and even daily basis in order for this task to be accomplished.
First, write down the general steps that will be necessary to get your task accomplished. For example, if you want to spend more time with your family you will have clarified this goal and given yourself a time limit using the previous sections.
Let's say that you are having trouble leaving work behind at the office because you have so much to do. It's eating into your time with your family because you are spending a lot of time working at home. You set a goal that over the course of the next six weeks you want to spend at least three more hours per week with your family.
This means that you're going to need to make three more hours during the week where you aren't working at home. Obviously, you're going to need to eliminate
your need to bring your work home with you, which means better time management at the office.
Once you've evaluated your goal and your current situation, you'll be able to identify specific steps that you need to take. For now, don't worry about how you'll get them done. Just write them down. In this example, it means being more productive at work which, further broken down, could mean taking fewer breaks, taking a shorter lunch, eliminating distractions in your cubicle and setting clearer goals.
After you write down these steps, you need to figure out which you'd like to accomplish first. Any goal that you set, whether in your personal or professional life, will require change. In some cases, it may require a great deal of change. We're creatures of habit and we are naturally resistant to change. In order to make the changes you need to reach your goals, you need to make changes one at a time.
Look at your steps and conquer them one at a time. In this example, you're going to eliminate distractions at work so you can get more done. You decide to install a piece of time management software on your desktop so you can see exactly when and how you are wasting time (one of the tools we'll be introducing in the next part). Once you identify how you are wasting time, you can eliminate these distractions and get things done.
Since you've set the limit to accomplish your goal within six weeks, you could identify six different areas where you can improve your productivity at your job and work on one per week. By the end of the six weeks, you'll find that you've made room for the three extra hours per week that you wanted to spend with your family.
As you can see, breaking down your goal into small measurable goals is the only way you're going to get from point A to point B. You're giving yourself a set of mini-goals between now and your time limit. Not only does this give you something more manageable to deal with, but it also improves your confidence. You'll feel more empowered and confident as you meet these mini-goals. These
good feelings will keep you wanting to make more changes in your life to meet your current goal and the next.
Now we'll begin looking at the time management tools that you can use to help you establish these new habits. These tools are mostly free or easy to get and they will set you up for success.
Tools for Time Management Equipping Yourself for Success
Although time management is primarily habits based, there are many tools that you can use to help you set your goals, implement your plan and increase your productivity. This part is dedicated toward exploring the tools available at your disposal to turn your goals into reality in the time frame that you want.
These tools will help you plan out your tasks and stay on track weeks or months after you've set your goals. Some you will use on a daily basis and others will be referred to throughout your goal reaching process. When you use them all together, you'll be able to manage your time to reach your goals.
This was referred to in the last part when you wrote down your goal and then explored the core emotion behind your goal. When you're first starting out with improving your time management skills you should focus on developing one goal at a time. However, you'll still need to write down everything that you want to achieve so you can refer to it later.
Your goals list can be a Microsoft word document or a real piece of paper where you list your goals for the next few months, the next year or the next several years.
Although you won't be tackling all of these goals all at once, writing them down together will give you something to shoot for once you improve your time management skills.
If you're overwhelmed with what you want to accomplish, narrow your focus and just write down your top three goals for the next year. In some cases, you may be so far behind what you want to achieve that it's easier to set interim goals or goals that can be achieved in a quick period of time so you can build your confidence.
The most important thing is that you write down your goals in one place. Refer to it every few months and then add to it if need be. When you take the time to write down your goals, you'll be more focused and you'll be able to manage your time better.
From your large list of goals, you should pick the top goal that you want to get to work on immediately. This goal will be your experimental goal that you'll use to learn your new time management techniques. Once you've gotten the hang of how to better manage your time, you can add new goals into the mix.
Your first goal will have several smaller goals or tasks associated with it. For example, earning money through affiliate marketing requires that you do niche research, keyword research, develop a website, etc. To lose weight you'll need to prepare healthy meals, make time to exercise and eliminate your temptation foods. In order to spend more time with your family, you'll need to identify why you are bringing work home and be more productive at work.
All of these smaller goals need to go on your task list in the order that they need to be accomplished. At this point, these tasks should not have a day or time attached to them. They are simply a list of tasks that need to be accomplished if you want to reach your goal.
Keep your task list in a place where you can refer to it often. This is important because you'll want to track your progress as you proceed with all of the tasks. Your tasks will work as fodder for your to do list, which we'll get to in a moment.
Before you can start to implement new time management strategies, you have to figure out what is keeping you from reaching your goals to begin with. An activity log will help you see where your time is currently spent and it will identify some hidden time wasters that are ruining your productivity.
You can create an activity log simply by taking a small notelesson around with you. Write down what you are doing and when you are doing it. The nature of your log will depend on what you are trying to achieve. You'll write down all of the activities that you do each day and you'll be able to figure out how much time you're spending doing what.
If you do a lot of work on the computer, you can use a handy time management software called Time Stamp. It's available at: http://www.syntap.com/products_timestamp.htm for free. Time Stamp will start recording time from when you hit the timer button. You can track individual tasks and even take account of "slack time" when you are at the computer but not actually working. Using it can help you see how your time is really being spent.
An activity log can be a real eye opener, especially if you are using the excuse that you don't have enough time to accomplish something that you want to achieve. Suddenly you may see that the 20 minutes you need each day to work out are being wasted with checking e-mail or doing other non-urgent tasks.
Once you've set your goals and have started working toward improving your time management, you should complete a second activity log a few months later. It will be really amazing to see how your time management has improved and how much more you are getting done.
Calendar and To Do List
Once you've pinpointed your time management problems and decided what you need to accomplish in order to reach your goals, you need to bring your goals into the real world. With the combination of a calendar and a to do list, you'll be able to plan when your tasks need to get done and then schedule them on a daily basis.
Start with your calendar. When you set your goal, you decided on how long you want to give yourself to complete the task (making sure to give yourself a realistic deadline). Count out from today the number of days, weeks or months that you have to complete your task. This is your deadline date.
Then you just need to compare your task list to your calendar to figure out what needs to be done on a daily or weekly basis. Write down your tasks with deadlines and then create a to do list for the very next day. Each day you'll need to keep a to do list so you can stay on track and meet your goal. Each night you can review your to do list and see how much you got done, making adjustments for the next day if necessary.
On your daily to do list, you can also include tasks that aren't directly related to your specific goal. Write down your other goals for the day so you'll only have one place to look each morning and know what you need to accomplish. On a daily basis, you'll need to decide what time you'll be able to take action on your task for the day. Depending on your goal, it may be something that you'll do at the same time everyday (like prepare a healthy meal) or it may be something that you need to do at a variable time (like complete keyword research).
Your to do list will be your daily reminder of what you need to do to accomplish your goal. It will give you a bite sized task that can be completed. Once you complete it, you'll feel empowered and motivated to keep going.
If you ever feel unmotivated and discouraged while you are trying to achieve your goal, your vision board will keep you going. In the previous part we worked on drilling down you goal to its core emotion. Your vision board will be a visual reminder of the end result of your efforts if you manage your time well and are able to meet your goals.
The core emotion related to your goal can be expressed in a variety of different ways. Your vision board should include pictures and words of what it will feel like to complete your goal. If you're improving your time management in order to lose weight, your vision board should include pictures of the body type you'd like to have. If you are trying to achieve a certain level of monetary success, include pictures of what you want to buy or where you'll vacation.
Get creative with this vision board and make it excited. You should feel empowered and thrilled when you see it. The emotions should be so powerful that they will remind you to stay on task when you are trying to accomplish your goal.
When you use these time management tools together, you'll be able to take charge of the time you have. You'll transfer your goals into real world steps that will give you structure and help you manage your time.
Following Through With Your Plans How to Put a Stop to Time Management Killers
Let's face it. It doesn't matter how many task lists, to do lists and vision boards you create if you can't make a difference in your day to day habits to get things done. The real test of any time management system is what happens when the rubber hits the road â€“ when it's time to do what you set out to do.
Staying organized is just half of the battle. Your left brain can be as organized as possible but if you don't feel like doing what you need to do when you need to do it, your goal will drift away. That's why it's so important to look at your habits and take steps to change them.
Minimizing Information Overload
Focus is one of the most important aspects of good time management. Your to do list can be detailed to the hilt but it doesn't matter if you're not able to work when you need to. The first issue that you need to be aware of when it comes to focus is information overload.
Imagine trying to get to a destination by going down three different roads. Rather than staying on one road and getting to your destination quickly, you spend your time going halfway down one road and then turning back and going to your starting point. You'll never be able to get anywhere with methods like this,
Information overload works just like this. When you have too many ideas about how to achieve your goals, you can end up spinning your wheels. You'll try one method, then another and then another and end up getting nowhere.
Once you've formulated a plan by following the steps in the last part, stick with it. Don't jump ship just because you aren't immediately seeing the results that you want right off the bat. Shield yourself from any advice contradictory to the path you are following. Focus starts with knowing exactly what you need to do and by minimizing the likelihood of information overload, you can set yourself up for success.
Getting In "The Flow"
Even the most unorganized and unfocused person has the capabilities within them to become more focused. Think back to when you were a child or take some time observing children that you know. When a child is really interested in something, they are able to focus on it completely and eliminate all the distractions that surround them. You can tap into this. It's already inside of you.
If you are unable to focus intensely on the task at hand, you are having trouble getting into "the flow." Modern psychologists use this term to refer to the state of mind that one enters when they are absolutely absorbed by what they are doing. When you are completely focused, the time around you just seems to melt away. You can put all your attention on what you are doing in order to get it done. Better than that...you actually enjoy what you are doing!
When you are in the flow and enjoying what you are doing, you'll look forward to working toward your goal. You'll manage your time better naturally because you'll derive a great deal of pleasure from your work.
Creating the Right Environment
In order to get into the flow and become more focused, you need to first create the right environment. Although some people can use their environment as a source of procrastination, there is some evidence that it is necessary to have a specific working environment in order to be more productive.
You'll need to eliminate outside distractions, like television, other people and outside noise. Limit any and all distractions that you have control over. If you are trying to work in an environment where other people are involved, let them know about your goals. Communicate to them how you'll be working for a specific
period of time each day toward your goal. You need to let them know that you don't want to be disturbed during these periods of time. If you communicate what you need, most people will be supportive.
If you're working on the computer, take steps to eliminate your distractions. Unless it's absolutely necessary, close out your web browser and don't check your e-mail. These two sources can be a huge productivity waster when you're working on a computer. You should only have the programs open that you absolutely need.
You should take steps to make yourself as physically comfortable as possible. You need to be relaxed and attentive so make sure your environment supports those ends. Adjust your furniture so you're seated comfortable, if that's what your task requires. If clutter is distracting and makes you get off task, be sure to take care of it before you sit down to work or do your work in a room away from the clutter.
Adding Pressure through Time Limits
Another important part of being in the flow is having pressure so you stay engaged with the task. One of the easiest ways to apply pressure to the situation is to set a time limit on your task. We already talked about the important of time limits when it comes to setting your long term goals, but you also need to set a short time limit for your daily to do list items.
By making a little game out of it and setting a time limit for your task, you'll be able to work more efficiently. For example, in your affiliate marketing business you know that you need to get three blog posts done in order to update your blog for the entire week. Without a clear time limit, you could spend all night trying to get those blog posts written.
Alternatively, you can set a limit for yourself and try to get them done within an hour and a half (30 minutes per post). They might not be the perfect blog posts, but
you can always edit them later. By adding a time limit to your to do list, you'll add pressure to your environment and be able to get in the flow.
Positive thinking is a huge part of time management, whether you realize it or not. It's been proven that people work more efficiently when they have a positive attitude about a project or they feel good about what they are doing. If you recall your days in school trying to write a paper on a topic you absolutely hated, you probably had the experience of not being able to write very quickly.
The same is true no matter what kind of task you are trying to accomplish. If you spend your whole time telling yourself how much you hate doing what you are doing, you're going to have trouble concentrating. You're going to find ways to distract yourself and get out of the flow.
Stop thinking negatively about your tasks and you'll find that they can be completed much more quickly. Think about how good it will feel to accomplish your task and cross something off of your to do list. Concentrate on the good feelings associated with completion instead of the bad feelings associated with doing the actual task. You'll be surprised at what a big difference positive thinking can make.
Putting Procrastination in Its Place
You may be able to use some of the tips in the previous section to develop better focus and get in the flow. But if you are a procrastinator, you're going to find every way you can to become distracted and reduce your productivity.
There are several different causes of procrastination, so you'll need to understand your particular variety before you can effectively change in. Procrastination can happen from:
- a fear of success or a fear of failure - waiting for the right mood or the right time to get a task complete - poor organizational skills - needing everything to be perfect - a lack of decision making skills
All of these causes have one thing in common â€“ they result in poor time management and a lack of productivity. You can nip them in the bud by using the following techniques.
Procrastination is a huge problem in time management and goal setting. In fact, many people find that all of their other organizational and time management problems fall away once they deal with their procrastination.
Much like any other addictive behavior, recognizing you have a problem is the first step, Many people get by for years justifying their behavior and continuing to use poor time management habits. No matter how many excuses you've given yourself, it's time to face the facts and understand that you need to deal with your procrastination.
If you've been putting off important tasks, avoiding work until your work environment is absolutely perfect, getting up in the middle of an important project to get more coffee, reading e-mail excessively or any other avoidance behaviors â€“ you have a problem with procrastination!
After you've recognized your problem, you need to figure out why you are doing it. The reasons in the previous section can give you some insight into why you personally procrastinate. But you can also look at procrastination through two different lenses â€“ the task is unpleasant or the task is overwhelming.
You avoid working out even though you know you need to because you find it unpleasant. You avoid doing keyword research for your next affiliate marketing campaign because you find it overwhelming. You avoid calling the phone company to request a change in service because you find it unpleasant. You avoid dealing with the mess in your spare room because you find the task overwhelming.
When you boil down your procrastination to its essence, you'll find that you're either avoiding unpleasantness or avoiding feeling overwhelmed. Now you just need to decide which you're dealing with and develop habits to help you get over these feelings.
For example, if you don't like a task and don't want to do it then you need to find a way to motivate yourself. You might respond to framing the problem in a certain way and focusing on the positive feelings associated with finishing. You might reward yourself with a small piece of chocolate or maybe something larger if you're completing a big task.
You can also see if you can outsource part of the work that you find unpleasant. This works especially well when you are procrastinating in your home business. You can hire people to do writing, backlink building and research for you, among many other tasks.
Adding pressure to the situation will help you push past the discomfort and get your work done. If setting a timer isn't enough for you to feel pressure, have someone check in on you. That's why weight loss challenges where people work together as a group work so well. There's nothing wrong with a little peer pressure to get you motivated.
Alternatively, you may be procrastinating because you are overwhelmed by the enormity of your project. If you can't deal with the work you need to do, break it into smaller tasks. You can eat an elephant as long as you take one bite at a time! Creating a task list like the one described in the previous section can help you jump over your hurdle to working on your task.
You can also try starting with some smaller, easier tasks even if they aren't the first ones that you'd logically choose. For example, if you're trying to increase your productivity at work so you can spend more time with your family you may want to start with completing a short project even if it's not your top priority for the moment. It will give you a feeling of accomplishment which you'll be able to carry on to other aspects of your job.
The steps in this part will help you bust through any time management problems you are currently having. By applying one or all of them you can work your plan and get closer to your goals whatever they may be.
Setting Priorities How to Organize Your life for Better Time Management
Even if you bust through procrastination, get yourself into the flow and minimize distractions, there still isn't enough time in the day to do everything that you want to get done. Trying to do too much is a surefire way for being overwhelmed and falling into bad time management practices.
Setting priorities can help prevent you from biting off more than you can chew. If you set realistic expectations for what you are capable of and develop habits that support living up to your potential, you'll be able to reach your goals.
People with excellent time management skills understand that they can't do everything that they want to. You need to realize that you have to be selective with the tasks that you complete. You have to consciously choose what is most important for you to complete and then work only on those tasks.
One of the worst time management habits you can develop is to just "go with the flow." Very rarely does the flow get you where you want to be. You have to take charge and pick what needs to be done, which is simultaneously rejecting all of your other options for that moment.
Think about it this way â€“ If you work in an office, when sit down to get some work done you are automatically rejecting the idea of talking with your co-workers, surfing online or getting your fifth cup of coffee. Obviously your employer appreciates you more when you reject these time wasting activities, and you have the added benefit of using better time management.
Conversely, if you choose to stop by the snack machine, make a personal phone call or make a third visit to your co-workers cubicle, you'll be choosing those activities instead of getting your work done. In that moment, you're choosing to work overtime or to take your work home so you can get it all done.
This example works no matter what kind of tasks you're trying to get done. When you choose one thing, you are rejecting all of the other possibilities for that moment. Since you've followed steps earlier in this part and have given yourself a deadline for your goal, you're working with limited time.
Choosing tasks that won't help you get toward your goal is an exercise in foolishness. Why would you reject a task that will help you reach you goal in favor of doing something that will serve no purpose?
Prioritization is all about figuring out what is most important out of all your options out there. You are taking control of your actions and developing a habit of only doing what is most important and valuable in that moment.
The 80/20 Rule and Labeling Your Tasks
The 80/20 rule, also called the Pareto principle, is an economic principle that surprisingly applies to a lot of human behavior as well. It states that 80% of the total value of something is normally contained in only 20% of the items. This applies to your life as well. 20% of your actions will produce 80% of your results. You just need to find those 20% that will make the difference so you can reap the rewards and begin to focus more on those tasks.
You can begin to discover this 20% of important tasks by making a habit of prioritizing your tasks. You can split your tasks into four different categories. Some people use number rankings of 1 through 4, others prefer to use letter grading of A through B. Obviously, your tasks labeled 1 or A will be your top priorities.
A few parts back you created a task list based on your main goal which was then converted to a daily to do list. Most of the tasks on your list would be considered in the first category. However, they are not all the tasks you need to complete in your life.
In order to be able to use your to do list effectively each day, you need to include things that aren't directly related to your life. For example, you may need to volunteer in your child's class, go grocery shopping, work out, pay your bills, plant your garden, go to your day job, get your hair cut...the list goes on and on!
Without writing these things down and prioritizing them, they may creep in and ruin your time management habits. Writing them down on your master task list will help you accomplish two things. First, writing them down helps you get them
off of your mind. A common procrastination technique is to get mentally distracted by all of the things you feel you need to get done. If you write them down on your master task list, you can get them off of your mind.
Writing down all of your tasks on your master task list will also help you prioritize them. You will be able to label your tasks based on your own priority level. Before you take action on an item, you'll know exactly whether you should be spending your time on it.
Organizing Your To Do List
So to summarize, write down all of the tasks you want to accomplish in the next several months on your master task list. Include all of the tasks related to accomplishing your goal as well as mundane tasks that you need to accomplish.
Next, you'll need to rank your tasks by priority. Category 1 or A should be reserved for tasks that are essential to completing you goals. Category 2 or B tasks are things that you need to move forward on but that don't have as much weight as the first category.
Category 3 or C tasks need to be done at some point in the future, but they aren't worth rearranging your schedule for. These tasks may be more important in the future or they might increase in priority after you complete higher category tasks on your list.
Category 4 or D tasks are worth putting on your list to get them off of your mind but they aren't something that you need to take action on. They can either be delegated to someone else or they will eventually drop off of your list.
Basically, the tasks that are the most important to achieving your goal should be given the highest priority. Other tasks that you need to accomplish but aren't as important to your goal should be given lower priority. You can use these priority
rankings to help you decide what tasks should be moved to your to do list on a daily basis.
Each week, take a look at your task list and you calendar. Figure out what you need to accomplish in the following week and then schedule it out for each day. Make a to do list for the next day and list the tasks that you need to complete during that day. Your next step is to prioritize your tasks during the day.
Ranking Your Tasks
There will be a few different factors that will go into how you order your tasks for the next day. You need to put them in some sort of order so you can tackle your to do list in a logical fashion. The first factor involved is timing.
In some cases your A level priority items might not be the first thing that you work on in the morning. If you have a day job and your main goal is to start an Internet marketing business, you obviously can't get this done during the day. You have to look for ways to work in your top level priority tasks where you can fit them.
When you have your first moment of time that you can control, you should immediately get to work on your A or 1 level tasks for that day. Remember, when you are doing lower priority tasks or tasks that aren't even on your list (like updating your Facelesson status or reading a magazine), you're choosing not to get your priority items done. You're pushing your goal further away.
This doesn't mean that you can't have time to have fun or do things that aren't your top priority. What it does mean is that when you allocate time to work toward your goal, you need to manage your time well and be productive.
Keep your to do list flexible each day. You never know when you may have an interruption or need to flip things around. Try your best to keep your top priorities
as your main focus for the day, but don't be completely thrown for a loop when you have to make adjustments. Good time management is all about adapting to the reality of the situation.
Time Blocking How to Realistically Plan Your Work
Making a to do list and scheduling your work is one thing, but actually getting it done with the time that you have is something entirely different. If you've had a problem in the past with unrealistic expectations of your work habit, you need to practice time blocking.
Time blocking serves two specific purposes. When you block out your time you can see on paper how much time it will take you to accomplish what you have set for the day. Time blocking will also give you guidance in maintaining focus on the task at hand because you'll be giving yourself a time limit on completing tasks.
Estimating Your Tasks In addition to listing your tasks on your master task list and prioritizing them, you've also got to squeeze another important piece of information onto that list. You need to estimate the time it take to complete each task.
Be honest with yourself and err on the side of too much time. It would be great to work at super speed but for most people that's not the reality. You need to give yourself plenty of time to work through the tasks and complete them without having to drink ten cups of coffee or duplicate yourself.
If you're unsure how to much time you should be spending on a task, time yourself using TimeStamp the next time you are doing a similar task. Don't try to work
excessively fast. Just concentrate on working at the same rate that you normally work. You'll be able to correctly estimate your work time and then you can use that for future time blocking.
When you write down your to do list for the next day, write down your time estimates for each of the tasks. Use these time estimates to figure out when you can accomplish these tasks and then plan accordingly.
Time Blocking in Action
When you work with time blocks, you'll be better able to focus on your task and get it completed quickly. Time blocking gives you an instant deadline for your task. If you've estimated that it will take you fifteen minutes to answer important email for the day, then you better get it done in fifteen minutes so you can get on with your more important tasks.
If you have one hour to complete 5 articles for your affiliate marketing business, then you need to focus on getting those articles done in that time. You can split up the 5 articles over the 60 minutes and then keep yourself on track by completing one article every 12 minutes. By using mini-time blocks like this you can be more productive. You won't end up letting your mind wander and you will be less likely to be distracted with this deadline in front of you.
Time blocking will only work if you commit to completing your tasks and you give yourself reasonable time estimates. If you try this out and you find that you aren't able to meet your own deadlines, you need to be more accurate in your blocking techniques. You shouldn't beat yourself up about it. You just need to give yourself a more accurate set of deadlines so you can handle your time more.
Time Blocking for Long Term Projects
Time blocking can be done a daily basis, but it is also helpful when you are in the planning stage. Using your calendar and your time estimates you can spread your work out evenly over the next several weeks or months.
For example, you know that you'll need approximately 30 hours to complete a project. You need to have the project completed six weeks from now. You can estimate that you'll need 5 hours per week in order to get the project done. You can put these all on one day or you can spread them out so you're working one hour per day on your project.
If you've have problem with putting things off until the last minute, this long range planning tool can really help you out. You'll be able to see clearly what you need to get done over the course of the next few weeks and you can keep yourself on track by hitting those small deadlines.
Personal Time Blocking
In your quest to be more efficient with your time management, you may feel like all of your spare time is being spent being productive. Don't let your task list take over your life. You can use the time blocking technique to make sure that you have enough time to rejuvenate your energy and take care of yourself on all levels.
In your weekly schedule, be sure to block out time for exercise, for relaxing and for having fun. You can block out time to spend with your family and don't forget to make an appointment for some alone time.
When you treat these important aspects of your life like appointments, you'll be more likely to hold to them and give yourself the time that you need. Remember, the goal with time management is to have work-life balance so make sure to block out time for having a life.
Finding More Time in Your Day How to Squeeze in More Time by Eliminating Time Wasters
We all wish had more time in the day. Fortunately, there are probably a few things you can eliminate right now that will give you precious minutes and even a few hours per day. These time wasters can sap your productivity and make time management a nightmare.
If you've looked at your to do list and your time blocks and realized that you have more to do than the time allotted, you absolutely need to scan your schedule for these time wasters as you start to become more mindful of them and take steps to eliminate them, you'll find that your productivity will grow tenfold.
Start the Day Earlier This is an easy way to get more time in your day. However, if you think that you will have to lose out on hours of sleep in order to put this tip to good use, think again. As little as ten minutes earlier each day can make a huge impact on how much time you have in your day. You'll be surprised by what these ten minutes will do for your motivation.
Get Organized You can waste a lot of time by looking for things in your home or office, or trying to find files on your computer. Schedule some time to get your life organized and you'll actually end up saving time in the long run.
Look online for techniques or in office supply stores for tools that will help you stay organized. Once you've put your organizational system into place, you need to
make sure that you use it. Take some time each week to get reorganized if you get off track and you'll feel much more in control.
E-mail, phone calls and pop in visitors can account for a lot of lost time. These are things that feel like they are top priority because they are right in front of you. In most cases, they aren't really that important. They are just urgent.
Take steps to eliminate these interruptions. You should train yourself to check your e-mail just a few times per day. If you don't check it at 10 am, it's not going to explode or disappear. This is one of the most difficult habits to get into, but its well worth the effort.
If you work in an office getting rid of telephone calls may be something that is difficult to do. Make a habit of checking the caller ID on the phone and sending the message to voice mail immediately if it's not something you need to deal with immediately. Once you've finished your time block for the task, you can return any calls that you've missed.
Having people drop by your office or stopping by your home can be reduced with some simple communication skills. Explain your goal and then ask for your coworkers' or friends' support. Tell them that you'll be working on a high priority task during a certain part of the day and ask them to wait until afterward to contact you.
Television and Surfing the Web Television is perhaps one of the biggest time wasters in the home environment. There's nothing wrong with doing a little relaxing at the end of the day but it's another thing entirely to use television as a way to procrastinate on your important work. Ask yourself why you are really watching it to begin with. You shouldn't
have it on in the background and start making a habit of turning it off when you aren't directly in front of it. If you don't believe television is a time waster, keep a log for a week and see how much time you are spending on this form of entertainment.
Similarly, surfing the Internet can be a huge waste of time if you let it be. Use a timer software to track how much time you are spending surfing. Take steps to eliminate your wasteful surfing by closing your web browser when you are working on your computer. Block out time to enjoy the â€˜net when you've gotten your high priority tasks completed.
We all need groceries and gas but there is a smart way and a time wasting way to run errands. By planning ahead and knowing exactly what you need you can shorten your trip. Plan to visit the store at an off peak hour so you can get in and out quickly. Consider buying items in bulk so you don't have to go to the store in advance.
You can also order many items online and have them delivered at a later date. You'll save time and you'll save gas as well. You can even get some non-perishable groceries delivered to your home through sites like Amazon.com.
If you have errands that need to be run locally and consistently, like picking up dry cleaning, consider investing in a personal delivery service. These services will have a person run local errands for you and make deliveries.
Learn to Say No
You can save a lot of time on unimportant tasks by learning to say no. Most people try to bite off more than they can chewy when it comes to taking on projects. If
you learn to be honest with yourself and the people that you are working with, you will eliminate a lot of time wasting activities. Know what you need to get done in order to meet your goals and avoid being a "yes" person on all other tasks.
By implementing these strategies, you'll be able to find more time in your day that you can spend getting your important tasks done. You'll actually find that you have more time to do the things that you really want to do and overall, you'll be happier.
Good time management skills don't happen overnight. After you read this lesson, you may have to reread it a few times to pick up additional tips to incorporate into your life. It's a process of relearning habits and teaching yourself to think about your time in a different way.
By first setting your goals and setting a deadline, you'll put yourself in the right frame of mind to use your time effectively. You'll need to come up with a concrete plan for getting from point A to point B by using tools like your master task list, your to do list and your calendar. Don't forget to apply time blocking to your methods so that you can get an accurate picture of how long your tasks will take.
Finally, take steps to overcome productivity killers like lack of focus and procrastination. These habits will throw a wrench into the best laid plans. Get to the core of why you are unfocused and putting things off and you'll be able to address them directly.
Time management mastery