In the world of technology, people has more ways to look and work smartly but it has introduced the kind of distraction seen never before. People are seems to be busy in checking their phones at every beep, looking at un-necessary emails and social posts or getting so many unknown calls wasting their valuable time.
It is quite evident that being in this situation, it is really hard to focus on what we really care about. Even though we work hard but because of lack of focus or direction, we do not get what we really want.
Here are some ways to improve the way we manage our time so that we can achieve more in the same time and feel the sense of reaching to the destination we all waiting for.
1. Set Long and Short Term Goals
Goal setting is the first step in time management. Living without a proper goal is like driving a car without knowing the destination. You could land anywhere and for sure you won’t like the place.
Write down what you would like to achieve in your life. Run your thoughts through and make a list on every aspect of life such as health, career, money, relationship and personal development.
Answer the below three questions for each category :
- What you want to do? List down your needs, things you expect to get/achieve.
- Why do you want to do it? For each need/expectation, you have to know why it is important to you and what you will be gaining once you check off this item from the list.
- When do you want to do it? Establish the timeline for each goal in the list. Make it a short or long term goal.
If answers to all of the questions make sense to you, it means you have got a good goal in the list. Repeat the steps for each item in the list so that you end up with a few meaningful ones.
2. Set Goal Priority
Congrats, the goals are set and now is the time to prioritize them.
We have to go through the list of goals again and rearrange them based on the priority. We would like to give each goal a number between 1 to 3. Highest priority will be given 1 and lowest will be 3. This way we are making sure that we focus only on the most important goals and leave the rest for later. Now, we know the critical pieces needing greater attention and work.
3. Set the urgency and measure
Once we create the priority, we have to think about the urgency of each goal falling into the same priority number. Read the goals and identify which in our opinion needs the first attention or is more time sensitive at this moment. Rearrange the list one more time so the urgent ones are at the top.
Also, add the measurement criteria to the goal so that once you make the progress there is a system to determine the change.
Ex. If the goal is to lose weight, then we should note down the current weight and the target weight so that once we start to make the progress, we can measure it against the start and target weights.
I know, it’s easy to say then done but we have to set some approach to know where we stand at any given time.
4. Make an engaging plan
Once we complete the high level task of setting the goals and its measurement approach, we have to dig a little deep to find out what it takes to actually get there. And that is where we need a plan.
Plan is a schedule which we have to follow on a daily basis which will push us to do the work required to get a little closer to achieving your dream goal everyday.
For each goal, we have to list down all the tasks required starting from the beginning till we reach the top. We need to think about each action we have to take to lay the groundwork, making the change/progress until we achieve the goal.
This involves some thinking as we should be well informed about all things needed beforehand and the time required to complete the task so that we can better incorporate those tasks in our daily schedule.
Ex. Let’s take the same example of losing weight. We should list down the tasks such as daily exercise for 1 hour (30 min cardio, 30 weight lifting) – Need instructor services. Protein and low carb diet – Need nutrition knowledge. Transport to gym – Sign up for carpool or bus pass. Decide the best time to do the exercise.
Once we are aware of the things we need, we can make changes to our daily routine and include the work required.
5. Start with the toughest item
Mark Twain once said “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
We all know what Mark meant to say here but to reiterate, we have to start our day with the toughest item first. It will give us a sense of completion and make us more energetic and enthusiastic about the day.
Take a second glance at the list of tasks and pinpoint the one’s which you consider as eating a frog. Get that task done in the early hours of the morning and feel great about your achievement.
6. Delegate task
Seek help from others and delegate the task if there is a possibility of getting it done by someone else in a better way. In other words, there is no compulsion to complete all the tasks by ourselves. We should learn and improve in the process of making the progress and if it requires getting some extra hands then why not?
It is always better to get some help if we are stuck or the task requires too much of our time or we do not have any expertise on the subject. Moreover, we can delegate the work to others if it’s not our cup of tea or we can do more beneficial tasks at the same time.
Ex. It is better to take the gym instructor services instead of learning the exercise regime by ourselves. Taking expert advice will cut short the time and efforts required.
7. Take Regular time off
One big part of the planning is to include the break time in the schedule. We are not a machine, we are humans and we do not have a button to reset ourselves. Our body and mind need rest at regular intervals to make it work more efficiently.
It is always a good idea to take a time off and forget about the plans, goals and live in a moment and smile. Time off will provide the necessary motivation to start working on the goals again. It will break the repetitive cycle and give a new start.
We can do many things in the break such as, spend time with the family & kids, learn/do yoga/meditation, go for a peaceful stay in nature far from technology, write something about our life and so on. We have to select what best works for us but the real idea is to halt the wheels of your plan/routine and see the big picture and find yourself again before you spin it again.