How often do we hear “I don’t have time…” or “I am too busy to…”? Almost every day I’d say and perhaps the person you hear saying this the most is your inner self!
Unfortunately time is an absolute, there are 24 hours in a day and 60 seconds in a minute and until we master time travel that ain’t gonna change…..so get used to it and stop blaming time!
How we use our time largely determines how successful we are in both our business and personal lives. So here are a few ideas on how to take control of your time:
1. Accept that there is no such thing as too much or too little time. Millions of other people have succeeded and they don’t have any more time than you do. Take ownership of your situation, be accountable for your results and responsible for your actions.
2. Decide what you want to accomplish and establish your goals whatever they may be. Also make sure you understand the benefits to you of achieving the goal, this is very important. Both the goal and the benefits should be written down with a timeframe.
3. Once you have your goals in place determine the activities that will be necessary for you to accomplish them. What do you have to do? What time commitment will you make? What will you need to adjust, sacrifice or delegate in order to have the time to do those activities identified? Remember if it was easy everyone (including you) would have already done it.
4. Understand that life and business are about choices. You choose how you will spend your time. Being successful in many different areas takes effort and time. Success comes from total focus on one or two goals at a time and then moving on to the next set and focusing on those.
5. Prepare your diary each week by creating ‘default blocks’ to carry out the activities that you have identified. These are defaulted into your diary before anything else and shouldn’t be changed unless they absolutely have to.
6. Be militant about your schedule and learn to say “No”. Perhaps break activities into 4 categories – Not Important/Not Urgent, Not Important/Urgent, Important/Urgent and Important/Not Urgent. Beware of the Urgent/Not Important category, this is when we are responding to other people’s urgencies, however the activity does not move us toward OUR goal so by definition it is not important. Conduct your own time audit, every minute that you can divert from not important categories to the important categories will move you closer to your goal.
7. Review your successes/challenges in meeting your schedule each week and adjust where necessary. Be honest with yourself and continually reinforce what are you trying to accomplish and how important it is to you.
8. Find an accountability partner or mentor to help keep you on track. We can all use help every now and then, it is a strength to admit this, not a weakness.
In summary, stop blaming time, take ownership of your time and commit to the discipline necessary to ensure you achieve your goals. You may be surprised at the results.