Have you ever said, “I don’t have enough time”? I’m sure you have – in today’s busy society, it’s a commonly heard phrase.
But the truth is you DO have enough time! Just in case you hadn’t noticed, there’s 24 hours in every day and everyone gets the same amount! It’s not that you don’t have enough time, it’s about using your time wisely. You need to identify what is important to you (your priorities) and what your time wasters are.
1. What are you biggest time wasters?
Keep a diary for a couple of days, and note down how much time you spend on different activities. I think you’ll be surprised, as I was, when you realise how much time you waste in non-productive activity. Identifying your time wasters is the first step. The next step is to identify what’s important to you.
2. Identify your priorities
What’s important to you? It may be a number of things – relationships, family and friends, your career, financial security. Make a list of the things that are important to you.
Think about this – at the end of your life, will you look back on your life and say “I enjoyed that ride, I did what I wanted to do”, or will you say “I wish that I’d done _____________ (fill in the blank)?
3. Set your Goals
Put your goals in writing. Put them on the fridge to keep you focused. It’s no use having your goals wandering around your grey matter, writing them down will solidify them.
Tell other people about your goals. Telling other people will make you more accountable (“How are you going with that goal Michelle?”). An added bonus when you tell others is that may offer support, and assist you in reaching your goals.
Make SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Accountable, Realistic and Time bound. It’s no use saying “I’m going to get fit” – a SMART goal would be “As from today, I’m going to go for a 20 minute walk every day before work.
It all sounds very easy when you put it like that, but as you’ve probably experienced, it’s not usually as easy as it sounds. Often we get distracted from our goals, and end up procrastinating and filling our time with non-productive activities.
4. Stop Procrastinating!
Yes, we’ve all procrastinated at some time, and this is one thing that I’m working on.
An important aspect when trying to overcome procrastination is considering WHY we we are procrastinating. Experts say that most procrastination is borne out of fear. I know that’s sometimes true in my case – I don’t like confrontations, so I procrastinate when I have to do something that could result in a confrontation (like an unpleasant conversation). I remember a book that I read years ago by Susan Jeffers, ” Feel the Fear and do it Anyway “. That phrase has always stuck with me. Now whenever I noticed myself procrastinating – I sternly tell myself to “JUST DO IT” – it’s working!
Think about what causes you to procrastinate. Identifying the reasons that you procrastinate will enable you to think about a solution. It may be that you are not prioritising efficiently – working on unimportant tasks whilst putting aside more urgent tasks.
Implementing a “To Do List” is a useful tool that can help you to prioritise your tasks and keep on track.
“ Eat That Frog! - 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time” by Brian Tracy is an inspirational read! I recommend this book if you are serious about overcoming procrastination.
Brian Tracy talks about “Eating a Frog” – an analogy for the tasks that will have the most positive outcome when done, or the most negative outcome if not done, these are usually the tasks that you put off in favour of smaller, less valuable tasks (tadpoles). The first thing you should do at the start of each working day is to eat your biggest frog. From experience, I can tell you that this takes a lot of self-discipline, but if you persevere, it will become a habit.
I’d love to hear from you – what are your biggest time wasters? Any tips you’d like to share?
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