When we are young we have no accountability of time;
When we are teens we want time to fly so we can drive, date and eventually be on our own;
When we are in our 20’s and 30’s we want to get married and have children;
In our 30’s and 40’s we feel we are running out of time to have children;
In our 40’s and 50’s we want more time to travel;
In our 60’s we want time to be grandparents;
In our 70’s and 80’s we wonder where time went – Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.
Where does time go? Can you account for your time? Do you consider it time lost or time well spent?
Being able to manage your time is an important personal asset. Learning good time management skills takes time. Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, had twelve time management habits. Modern psychologists recognize three key elements in Franklin’s three-hundred-year-old procedure for changing habits:
1. He started out committed to the new behavior.
2. He worked on only one habit at a time.
3. He put in place visual reminders.
You can use these habits in any order, but whatever you do, work on one each week. Although perfectionism is unattainable, you will see big improvements in your life.
Habit 1: Strive to be authentic.
Habit 2: Favor trusting relationships.
Habit 3: Maintain a lifestyle that will give you maximum energy.
Habit 4: Listen to your biorhythms and organize your day accordingly.
Habit 5: Set very few priorities and stick to them.
Habit 6: Turn down things that are inconsistent with your priorities.
Habit 7: Set aside time for focused effort. Make an appointment with yourself.
Habit 8: Always look for ways of doing things better and faster.
Habit 9: Build solid processes.
Habit 10: Spot trouble ahead and solve problems immediately.
Habit 11: Break your goals into small units of work, and think only about one unit at a time.
Habit 12: Finish what’s important and stop doing what’s no longer worthwhile.
Other tips to better manage your time:
· Get a grip on email. Try checking your email just three times a day. Train those around you to eliminate unnecessary emails and avoid “reply all.” Do not check your email first thing in the morning. You are giving your valuable time away to others. Instead, check emails during breaks and at the end of the day. Most companies expect their employees to respond to an email within 24 hours. Check your company’s policy on email responses.
· Limit meetings. Hold meetings only when necessary and keep them as brief as possible. Start on time, and people who are habitually late will quickly learn to show up on time.
· Use technology. There are apps to help you do everything faster, from scanning receipts to sharing contact information to taking notes and more. Our goal is to work smarter, not harder.
· Delegate. Trying to do everything yourself is a common time-waster. Many people think that asking for help is a sign of weakness. Asking for help will not only get the job done faster, but will allow you more time to do other tasks.
If you’re constantly wishing there were more than 24 hours in a day, stop and ask yourself if you are correctly utilizing the time management tips above. Make sure to get enough rest and exercise. It sounds senseless, but taking time out to exercise and get adequate sleep will give you the energy to get through the day more effectively and productively.