My wife often comments on how busy and productive I always am. I guess it comes with having various strands to my business and being committed to living a balanced life seeing family and friends, staying healthy and enjoying leisure time.
For some, time management and procrastination can really get in the way of being at your best so I thought I would share some of the strategies I use to get things done!
No1. Be Crystal Clear About What You Need To Do
Often when people set goals for themselves they set grand plans to do lots of different things but don’t always consider how much is actually possible and how they will realistically go about achieving everything. This tends to result in overwhelm, over-commitment and ridiculously long to-do lists!
Please believe me, I’m not mocking you here. I’ve been there myself and have learned from it.
It’s important that when you set goals, you break them down and consider what you would need to do to achieve it and how long it would take. Once you know this for each activity you’ll then have a much better idea of timescales and whether you can realistically achieve everything. If the answer is yes, then take out your calendar and schedule in time for each action. This will absolutely confirm whether you will have enough time to do everything you want or if you need to start again and prioritise your goals. Once scheduled, focus your attention on achieving that highest priority goal and park your remaining goals.
No2: Create a Daily Schedule and Review Progress
At this stage, you have scheduled time to complete actions. However, I would recommend taking it a stage further by creating a daily schedule. Detail the specific tasks you want to complete that day that will move you closer to achieving your goal and you designate the time needed to those.
Taking your planning even further, you can also review your progress against where you want to be on a weekly basis. That can include progress against long-term goals. Finally, plan for the next day before you finish up. That way you can start each morning in a more productive way rather than using up valuable time in the morning planning what you’re going to do that day.
No.3: Focus on Your Highest Priorities
There will still be times when you look at your daily schedule and think ‘there’s no way I’m going to get all that done!!!’. That’s the time to revisit your top priorities, your biggies – it’s good to have them written down somewhere. These may be the things that you want to get done that month or quarter so please do revisit them and ensure that you are spending your time on them. Other activities can then be removed or rescheduled.
No.4: Keep Track of Progress
At the end of every day review your progress against what you wanted to achieve. That means having your goals and schedule to hand so it’s easy to do a quick review. Some people like writing them down, some use spreadsheets, others like to keep track online through apps or websites. Whatever works best for you! Go through each action and check off each item completed – it’s amazing how powerful and motivating it can be when scoring off everything you’ve done.
No.5: Recognise and Celebrate Success
Acknowledging positive progress is really important as it helps you to stay motivated. Beyond that think of ways in which you can celebrate and reward your achievements. I encourage clients to compile a list of rewards and treats, from very small to very big, that you can give yourself when completing actions and milestones. It’s hard to stay motivated for a long period of time without building in smaller milestones and actions along the way, so make sure you do that and enjoy the rewards of achieving them!
No.6: Take Time Out to Relax and Revive
When you’re in the zone and completely hooked on achieving your goals, it’s very easy just to keep going flat out and not slow down to think about your well-being.
The problem with that is that the more you do without any down time or rest, the more tired you will become. The knock-on of that is that your performance dips, whether that be in terms of efficiency, decision-making or creativity. The end result is often burnout! That is why it is vitally important that you schedule in time to relax, refresh and revive yourself, so that you’re at your best and ready to focus on your goals again. Make sure you plan that free time into your schedule!
I hope that these tips will be helpful for you but the important thing is not to read and forget them. Unless you put them into action nothing will change. Your goals and your purpose are important and putting these strategies into action will help to ensure that you manage your time better leading to a happier, healthier and more successful 2015!