Want to be in control of your life?
Get in control of your time first.
After writing a strong Personal Life Vision Statement, and commitment letter from yourself to your self, the most important thing you can do to ensure success in your life is to correctly manage your time. Time management isn´t hard, but it requires discipline and a plan. So I have broken down effective time management into 9 easy steps. If you follow this plan, you will greatly increase your chance of taking and maintaining control of your life, and any other part of your life that matters to you, whether that is with your family, your finances, your career, your business, or any other important opportunity or project.
Now, there may very well be some of you reading this who feel very resistant to time management. I understand that. I really do. For many years I felt like using a schedule to manage my time was like putting a ball and chain around my leg. I am a very spontaneous person. I like to be able to do what I want to do when the fancy strikes me. But eventually I came to realize that using a schedule and time management was really no different that using a map to get around an unknown place to reach specific goals or locations. Understanding that a schedule and time management is to be used as a means of keeping your self focused and moving in the direction of your goals, it becomes a little easier to commit to managing your time.
So here are the steps:
1. Commit to the number of hours you will spend on each of the important areas of your life - At the beginning of each week, determine how many hours you will spend with your family, your religion, your job, your business, your trading, your financial management, etc. Will it be 2 hours for this and 10 for something else? Write those commitments down in your calendar or planner.
2. Schedule the days of your week - If possible, schedule the specific hours of each day that you will work on each important area of your life. For instance Tuesday, from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m., Wednesday, from 5:00 p.m. till 10:00 p.m., etc. Make sure you write down your schedule in your calendar or planner and keep this at your work space. Don´t rely on your memory or pieces of scratch paper that could get lost or misplaced. Also, make sure you include time for personal organization, which is the time spent making lists and determining priorities, and also schedule time for analysis of how you performed as talked about in the Success Process.
3. Keep your appointments with yourself - Respect these appointments as you would an appointment with a person you hold in high esteem. If you break appointments with yourself, what are you saying about yourself? We make time for the things that are truly important to us. Make sure your appointments to spend time on your business or your personal development is a priority.
4. Make a "To-Do" list - Write down the tasks and assignments that need to be done each week. List your assignments from these lessons and anything else you need to do for your personal development.
5. Prioritize your To-Do list - Organize your list so the most important task is first, then the next most important is second, and so forth.
6. Set completion times - Assign an amount of time to complete each item on your To-Do list, and then double that amount. This will give you extra time so you don´t panic if things don´t move as smoothly as you would like. If things go quicker than you anticipated, you can always find additional tasks to fill in extra time. DO NOT give up the important areas of your life you have scheduled time for time wasting activity. Like watching TV or playing video games. Allowing these kinds of distractions will make it easier to fall back into old patterns of not taking action towards the success you want to have on purpose.
7. Make your action plan - Once you have completed your schedule and your To-Do list, write down a plan of action. Within each time slot you have allotted yourself, write in which tasks you will do. Anything you do not get done, carry it over to the next scheduled day or week, and make those adjustments in your daily review.
8. Implement your plan - At the end of the day be sure to do a daily review. Any tasks you planned for and did not complete should be carried over to your next work session. Don´t beat yourself up if you´re not keeping pace with your estimations. Just carry over the task(s) to the next time, stick with it, and plan a bit more time for such tasks in the future. By carrying over what you do not get done, you will never have any failures to get things done. You celebrate what you did get done, and carry over what did not get done to the next week, and each week you will see yourself progressing further and further, etc.
9. Evaluate - Evaluate your week, your successes and failures, and make adjustments as needed. As you progress through your To-Do list and your action plan, you will start to see trends emerge. Maybe you need to plan more work sessions during the week. Maybe you are at your desk so long that you´re getting fatigued and you need to plan scheduled breaks to relax. Maybe you are working too much, letting other important areas of your life slide, and you need to back off.
Remember, sometimes it is two steps forward and one step back but if you´re doing your best that´s all that matters and moving forward towards your goals, well then, that is better than moving backwards away from them. Right?
For more information to help you become aware of the kinds of subconscious activities we allow to occupy our time, see:
Advanced Time Management Part 2.
© Copyright Adam Wade, 2005 - 2017