No more excuses. It is time to learn how to manage time. It isn’t difficult, but it is essential if you want to do more in life than merely survive.
In most cases, what makes successful people successful isn’t intelligence, looks or wealth. It is the fact that they know how to manage time.
Time management is so important because not only will it allow you to streamline your life and gain efficiencies you never knew existed, but it will allow you to make daily progress towards your most important goals while keeping your priorities in life straight.
So often the things we say are important to us never make it on our daily agendas. And that needs to stop now. You must learn how to manage time if you want to be in the driver’s seat of your own life.
This post is part of my new series…FROM SURVIVE TO THRIVE where we are going to build up the mindset to CRUSH our goals and go after our WILDEST dreams by building a plan and getting started NOW.
Have you ever said one of the following phrases?
“If I only had more time…”
“If only I could get more done…”
“I will have more time for the things I want once I…”
Yep – I’m pretty sure we all have said something along those lines at some point in our lives. For many of us, it might have been earlier today.
But while we are busy trying to convince ourselves those statements are true, our hopes and dreams are rapidly slipping away as the clock ticks on. We put off what truly matters for another day, but that day never comes.
Those three statements (or any along those same lines) are lies we tell ourselves. They simply aren’t true. They are self-limiting beliefs that hold us trapped in a life we don’t want.
IF I ONLY HAD MORE TIME
Do you really think your life would look much different if you had 30 hours a day instead of 24? Be honest with yourself. You’d have 6 more hours, but they’d probably be filled with more of what you’re already doing. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, and that isn’t going to change no matter how many times you wish it would. If you want to be highly productive, you have to change your frame of mind. Instead of wishing you had more time, why not optimize what you have?
IF ONLY I COULD GET MORE DONE
How long is your to-do list? What kinds of things are on it? If your to-do list is full of high-value tasks (the ones that you value most), then getting more done would bring you greater fulfillment in life. But if you feel burnt out and stressed when you think about all you have to do, I’d be willing to bet money you aren’t filling your task list with high-value items. All of those low-value items on your task list are making you feel busy and overwhelmed.
I WILL HAVE MORE TIME ONCE I …
I used to say this a lot. I will have more time once I get out of school. I will have more time once I get that promotion. I will have more time once I’m not pregnant and so tired. I will have more time when the baby starts walking. And on and on …
But here is the thing. If you are waiting for some breakthrough moment in life to make time for what you really want, you probably aren’t going to find it. You’ll be on to the next thing that holds you back and takes your time. Why not make the time now? Push back all of those low priority tasks and make room for what you really want to do. If not now, when?
How to Manage Time
If you aren’t SUPER clear on what is important to you, then everything is important. You will end up living your life through someone else’s agenda. Other people’s needs will take over your life. You must know what is important and then put those priorities at the top of your task list. And you must avoid these three mistakes.
When your life is scattered in ten different directions, you will be unable to dedicate your attention to what you want most. Your sense of accomplishment will be scattered, and you will lose motivation. The quality of your life will be affected.
We’ve all been there. There is so much on our plates that we rush to get a task done in time only to feel pangs of guilt after its completion because we know we could have done a better job if we had simply had more time.
But wouldn’t life be better if we knew how to manage time so that there weren’t 5 more things competing for our attention?
When you live a reactive life, you lack focus. Your time is randomly pulled to whatever happens to pop up in the moment. For example, you sit down to work on something important but an email grabs your attention so you read it instead. Then the phone rings, and you answer it. The person on the phone sends you on a wild goose chase digging for a piece of information. Before you know it, hours have passed. That important task hasn’t even been started.
The same thing happens at home when you lack focus. Your kids are the most important things in your life, but when you don’t know how to manage time, they often move to the bottom of your task list. For example, you want to help your daughter with her homework in the evenings. But when you walk through your bedroom to put on your sweats, you notice the overflowing laundry basket. So you throw in a load of laundry. Then the half dead house plant catches your eye so you water all of the plants inside and outside the house. Now it is time to start dinner, but you have no idea what to make so you waste 30 minutes digging through the pantry. Before you know it, most of the evening is gone. No homework has been done.
Living a Disorganized Life
Those who do not know how to manage time live a disorganized life. I don’t mean just physically. Sure, your desk may be a cluttered mess, and your kitchen gives a whole new meaning to a disaster … but being disorganized can spill over into your mental, emotional, and even spiritual life.
The amount of lost time, stress and PRODUCTIVITY is astonishing when you are disorganized. Think about how much time is lost over the course of a year when you can’t find your car keys or that one piece of important mail. Think about how much time you flush down the toilet every time you wonder what to work on next.
Too Much on your Plate
If you are overcommitted in your life, you do not know how to manage time. Those who have control over their time are well aware of how much they can perform without taking away from what matters most.
Every time you say yes to something you shouldn’t, you say no to something that matters more. You must be highly selective in what you do because time is limited. You cannot do it all. You must make choices, and learn how to mange time by reducing what is on your plate. Something has to give.
Now that I’ve laid out exactly what you are doing wrong, I want to let you in on the solutions. After all, what good would I be if I only told you the mistakes? The good news is that it is really quite simple.
Want to escape the reactive life? You must know what is most important to you, and then put those activities at the top of your daily agenda. It sounds simplistic, but most people do not know how to manage time this way. Most people fail at prioritizing.
Prioritization requires that you clearly know your life purpose and the things that matter most to you. Once you know your priorities and the reasons behind those priorities, you can set powerful goals and an agenda that makes sense and matters. You will be fulfilled in your life, and each day will move you closer to what you really want out of life.
The most important part of organizing is starting your day out with an intentional plan. You must write out a plan for each day. You must know exactly what you wish to accomplish BEFORE you start your day so that you maintain control. And you must start with the tasks related to your priorities (your life purpose, goals and values). While there are chores and tasks that must be done that don’t excite us (laundry, bills etc), those tasks shouldn’t start your day. Do what is most important first before your day becomes full of those tasks that don’t move your forward in life (even if those actions are bite sized).
In order to make space in your day for what matters most, some things have to go. If you want to know how to manage your time most effectively, this piece is key. Dig deep and find ways to automate, eliminate or delegate the tasks on your list that do not actively tie into your biggest goals and priorities. This doesn’t always have to involve spending money either. I challenge you to get creative.
Guard your time. Once you have established your true priorities in life, ask yourself before saying yes to anything “Will this move me forward?” “Is this in alignment with my priorities and values?” “Or is this merely a distraction?” As you become clearer on what is truly valuable, you will get better at saying “no.”
Stop wasting your time wishing there was more of it. Stop kidding yourself and believing you’ll make time tomorrow. And stop wishing you could get more done.
If you want to know how to manage your time, focus on what matters most. Get rid of the rest.
OTHER POSTS IN THIS SERIES
The From Survive to Thrive Series is all about changing your mindset and taking decisive action. We are going to start putting a plan in place to take your dreams out of your head and make them a reality. As you know, planning is a critical piece of the puzzle. Be sure to download your worksheet because we are going to talk about it each week throughout the series.
I’ll be updating this post with links to the other posts in the series as I write them, so you may want to save or pin this post if you plan to follow along. You can also subscribe to email updates so you don’t miss anything.
Post 1: The Fine Art of Failure
Post 2: Developing a Growth Mindset
Post 3: How to Achieve your Dreams
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