Are you feeling overwhelmed and getting nowhere? Or do you have too much time and easily getting bored. Most of the time, we end up feeling somewhat crunched even when we are trying our best to save time.
With meetings, phone calls, social media and YouTube, how could we not get distracted? Productivity hacks, gadgets, and apps can only get you so far. The best way to manage your time is to first recognize how you are spending it in the first place.
Why do time management systems and gadgets fail to work?
Time can be classified into two categories-clock time and real time. Clock time has 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours a day and so on. However, time is relative in “real time” since it drags or flies depending on what you’re doing.
For instance, spending an hour at the Department of Motor Vehicles feels like 10 long years. However, your 10 year-old-kid seems to have grown up in just a few years.
We’ve tried our best to look at various studies and rounded up the most common ways on how people waste their time and how to avoid them.
So, here goes the list
1. Not thinking about tomorrow
With the huge amount of pressure we face in our everyday life, we tend to easily get preoccupied with the stresses and fail to think about what lies ahead. Top business owners and those who create mind-blowing results in life are normally visionaries.
This bunch of people sees things in the future instead of seeing things as they are here and now. If you spend some time thinking about how to get your work done for tomorrow, you’ll be better equipped with what’s coming.
Carry a schedule and record your thoughts, activities, and conversations for the whole week. This will help you to better understand how much you can get done each day and where your most valued moments are going.
You’ll eventually see how much time you’re spending on producing results and how much time you waste on unproductive thoughts, activities, and conversations.
If you know what you’re doing and have a proper plan with consistent milestones to focus on, you’ll spend a reasonably less time dealing with issues brought about by a dearth of clarity. Always remember the 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, which states that by doing 20% of the work, you can produce 80% of the results.
2. Starting your day late
If you study the success stories of great personalities in the world, you’ll find that most of them started their day quite early. Howard Schultz, the man behind Starbucks, ensures that he gets up by 4:30 AM every day. Apple CEO, Tim Cook, starts his day at 4:30 AM while Richard Branson wakes up at 5:45 AM.
Do you get it now? Great personalities share many things in common and one of them is getting up early to do their most important work. They also exercise before they head to the office. Here are 8 tricks to get up earlier.
If you begin your day late, you’ll feel rushed all throughout the day and lose your sense of balance. For example, if you start your day late, you’ll have to skip your breakfast or eat hastily even if you do so. You’ll also arrive late at work without any preparation and will be pushed all through the day. Can you imagine how stressful your day can be?
3. Too much emphasis on doing the wrong thing
Do not ever forget your targets and goals. Most people have difficulties managing their time since they are so caught up with doing the wrong thing. If you want to be productive and see astounding results, you need to focus on those things that are of paramount importance to you and can bring dramatic changes in your life.
When things get out of control, you normally focus on the problem and immediately find a scapegoat. Instead, you should be focusing on the solutions and outcomes at your disposal. For example, if you are in the sales department, your main purpose will be to sell no matter what.
Even if you’ve had an experience where things didn’t go as planned, do not dig into it. A study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology found that people often don’t learn from their mistakes but repeat them. Focusing on past mistakes will make you feel low.
4. Getting easily distracted
This is another popular time management problem with most individuals. A very common example is that when you’re working on your computer and suddenly get a notification on Facebook. You immediately stop working and switch to Facebook to see what’s going on. We easily get distracted when we find other things more interesting than the work at hand.
The attempt to eliminate all distractions seems futile in most cases. People need your attention and time even during working hours and you’ve to respond to an unexpected need. However, you can always “train” people to give you the time you need, especially when working. Don’t be reluctant to block out the time you require.
Turn off your instant messaging and email notification. Let your phone go to voicemail. And unless you need to be on social sites for your job, schedule some amount of time for social media, or else stay off.
As long as you focus on your goals and keep them in mind, you’ll be shielded from all distractions.
5. Not having a to-do list
Some people say that to-do lists are of no use since they are useless if you aren’t marking off items. But having a to-do list is much better than not having one. This is because you’ll be well-prepared when you know what needs to be done.
It often happens that we forget about the important chores, especially when we are busy, and this is where such a list can come to your rescue. If you are a workaholic, you may find that you don’t have sufficient time for other important stuff no matter how hard you work.
A to-do list prepares us for what lies ahead and what’s coming next. Once you make it a habit, you’ll slowly see how effective it can be. An important point to make your to-do list work is to get your tasks completed. “Having a to-do list helped us achieve our core objectives and increase lead generation by 38%,” says Michael Chibuzor, CEO of SaaS Brand.
Keep a note-taking application or a notepad to jot down everything you’ve to do. Then organize them based on priority and finally schedule it. A to-do list is best made either before going to bed or early in the morning.
It’s not always possible to change the nature of the chaos around you. However, if you exercise control over your work habits and use the five tips mentioned above, you can use your time wisely.
What are the other time management issues you’re facing and how have you tried to overcome them?
Author: Pankaj Mondal