standard The Boring But Critical Skill of Time Management

Today we’re going to open a can of boredom and talk about time management. Actually, this could be pretty exciting stuff unless A) you already have it under control, or B) you’re too silly to realize how important it is. Here’s a newsflash. You’re not the busiest person on the planet, even if it seems like it. We’re all busy. The difference between you and the got-it-together crowd is they have figured out a little thing called time management. Okay, maybe two little things. We probably should throw prioritizing in there also.

The problem for many of us is that we stay so damn busy mismanaging our schedule, we never take the proper time to break the day apart and put it back together in an efficient way that allows us to get everything done we need to. It’s sort of like juggling. Some people are better at it than others but it’s really just a matter of focus and coordination. How do you get better at those things?

Practice!

Step 1. Set Goals
In order to introduce the concept of prioritizing into your life, you need to set goals. Break it down into daily, weekly, and yearly goals. You should constantly ask yourself these questions:

“Should I do this?”
“Must I do this?”

If you must, then you must, but don’t waste pointless energy and time fretting about something that could be moved further down the priority list.

Step 2. Create a Schedule
Like a ninja on high alert, you have to always be aware of your schedule. Know what’s coming up and how soon. This applies even to sleep. Yes, a person with good time management schedules the time to get appropriate rest. But the bigger picture is you need a foolproof system for logging appointments and receiving reminders about them. Maybe your memory is up to the challenge. If not, there are only about 7 million types of technological doodads that will be glad to assist in the process.

Step 3. Be Consistent and Realistic
Can you really squeeze in two loads of laundry in the 30 minutes between a workout and dinner date? Probably not. Be honest with yourself and don’t even try. Laundry has a funny way of working itself up the priority list until a critical need for clean underwear forces your hand. Stop trying to pretend your clothes will magically clean themselves and put them on the schedule.

A final bit of advice. Don’t cling to a time-sucking activity when your heart’s not in it any more. Multiple careers, relationships, and hobbies are fine as long as you really, really want to engage in them all. But if the thrill is gone, let it go. (Top image: Flickr | danielmoyle)

The Jake Swank Team
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