Many of the clients I work with in success coaching can relate to the following example.
If you have ever been to the circus, you have probably seen the side show in which a clown or juggler puts a plate on a stick and spins it. Then he puts another plate on a stick and spins that one, and another, and another, etc. A neat trick, but then he has to constantly run around to keep all the plates spinning.
Now there's a metaphor for modern life if I've ever heard one.
In order to talk in a useful way about time management, we need to call it what it really is, which is life management. Each of us is given twenty four hours each day in which to manage our lives. That's why I call my time/life management seminars "24 and No More."
In order to manage your time and therefore your life, well, a very important distinction needs to be made. Do you organize your life around work or do you organize your work around your life? A key distinction to be made is that if you are part of a family, your most important job is not at work, it's at home.
Having said all that, let's put some hands and feet onto this idea of time/life management, and provide you with some solutions you can take home.
Get organized. That's step one. So much time is spent and wasted looking for something or doing something over and over again, when a little organization can allow you to organize once and be done with it.
If you are at all like me and don't come by organization naturally, either hire or borrow someone who has the gift of organization. Or you could get lucky like me and marry someone with this gift.
Create systems. Creating systems for doing things is a great time saver. In fact, an acronym for system is:
Prioritized To Do Lists. Remember, a to do list is a tool that you use to work for you, not you for it. A prioritized to do list is divided into three categories, A tasks, B tasks, and C tasks. A tasks are things that must be done today, B tasks are things you would like to get done today, and C tasks are things you can get done with any extra time. If you have items left over at the end of the day, simply put them behind you for the day and move them on to the next day's list.
"But what if all my tasks are A tasks?" That's a question I often hear. Here's a two part answer to the question. Part one is to go back through the list and ask this question, "What will happen if I don't get this task done today?" If you can live with the answer, it may not be an A task. Part two is, if all your tasks are really A tasks, then the key is to.......
Delegate. That's a fancy way of saying ask for help. It's amazing to me how willing most people are to help. Just about every time I've gotten over my pride and asked for help with something, I've been pleasantly surprised by the outcome.
Block Scheduling. For those of us who have multiple projects and multiple daily demands, block scheduling can be a real life saver. Block scheduling simply means to set aside blocks of time on a daily, weekly, monthly basis in order to do certain tasks. Barring a true emergency, nothing is to interfere with the task scheduled for this time.
There are at least three clear benefits to block scheduling:
a time is set aside to accomplish key tasks
lower anxiety knowing there is time set aside
you get more done.
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