Managing time can be really tough. What is urgent may not be important and what is important may not be urgent. If you do not create a clear plan, you’ll therefore end up doing what you want to do leaving out what you need to do. Look at the below examples:
- Exercising today is not urgent but it is important for your long term health.
- Eating healthy is not a matter of die or live today but it will have a long term impact on your general well-being.
Ever heard of the phrase some will master and some will serve? that’s how life is. Usually when we start the day, we are in control but as the day progresses we tend to lose it. If you don’t take charge of your day, it will take charge of you. You have to make sure you become master and run your day. So how do you stay in charge?
1. Have a written set of goals
If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” Benjamin Franklin
Setting out objectives for the day will give you a roadmap of the day’s activities. Write down a list of what you want to do for the day then give priority depending on the importance of each goal. Separate majors from minors and the really important things from the things that you just have to do. Don’t major on minor things, spend your time on things that count.
If you do the most important things first, then you’ll never have a day when you didn’t get something important done. Even if all doesn’t fall into plan you will end up having a productive day because you did the most important things first.
2. Learn to concentrate
I know people like to multitask because they believe that way they will end up killing two birds with one stone. It is good and this will depend with the activities at hand but in some cases it becomes a downside. Here is an example:
- You try drafting an article but midway you drift to go check what is happening on social media. By the time you come back to continue, the flow is distracted and this takes you some time before you gain the momentum.
- You are working on a report, you receive a phone call from a friend before long you have arranged for a coffee date and off you go. By the time you come back to work on your report, it takes you longer than if you had completed it before moving onto something else.
The end result of lack of concentration is, you do not commit to the task at hand for an extended period of time and it takes you twice as long to accomplish half as much.
This is happens more often. Set aside significant time to focus on one task and block anything else that may distract you. If it means switching putting your phone on airplane mode then do it. Try this and you will be amazed at how much work you will accomplish in a short span of time.
3. Stick to your schedule
Have you ever found yourself busy yet you couldn’t tell what exactly kept you busy the entire time? All you know is that you have been busy. You were busy being busy.
This is common and it does happen to several people more often than you think. With the increased number of destructions around, having a clear set of goals does not equal to you being productive. There are unplanned destructions that occur during the day and this may pull you off the track
- Assuming you had set aside 1 hour to read 25 pages of a book but you have had a busy day. You are only left with 20 minutes to read. In most instances you will push the reading aside and use that time to do something else. Instead of doing that you can decide to use the twenty minutes to read 10 pages. In this case you will have reduced the time you needed to read but you have stuck to your schedule and did some reading.
This will result to long-term success. No matter how small your reading is you know you have accomplished today’s task. That’s how little goals become lifetime habits.