Time Your Most Valuable Asset by Paula Mathews
You’ve heard the saying, “A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place.” Corporate America is teaching this as 6-S or Kaizen, but it simply means that you don’t waste time looking for things. Wasting time isn’t as important to you now, maybe, as it will be in 10 or 20 years, but I strongly believe that there is a time for everything and…timing is everything. In this regard, you are the equal to every person in this world. You have the same 24 hours a day that every other person in the world does, but what you do with those hours is up to you. A business hero of mine is Seth Godin (www.sethgodin.com). In a recent blog, he stated, “… Are you intentional about what you’re learning, or connecting with, or the entertainment you’re investing in? We don’t have a lot of time. It seems to me that being intentional about how we spend our precious attention is the least we can do for it.”
So you can take your 24 hours each day and spend them on surfing the internet, playing games, hanging out, or anything else that floats your boat, or you can take those same 24 hours and pursue your dreams. If you choose, you can turn your dreams into goals by writing them down. You turn your goals into reality by creating and executing action steps. Those action steps are like climbing a ladder. Your goal is at the top, and every action you complete should take you further up the ladder. With time, with focus, persistence, and determination, you can create one-year and five-year plans and see the future become your “now.”
Six significant time management techniques I have learned:
- Only schedule 80% of your available time. For example, 80% of an hour is 48 minutes. 80% of a half-hour is 24 minutes. Those extra minutes give you time for a bathroom break, or time to grab food or drink. Those extra minutes could also get gobbled up by unexpected phone calls or e-mails or the life-happens moments.
- If you have non-critical tasks that will only take 5 minutes to do, start a pile of those tasks. Then schedule a half-hour or hour block to tackle them.
- Schedule specific times to check and respond to e-mails. I normally take half an hour in the morning, then half an hour after lunch, and sometimes half an hour at the end of the day. Remember, clients expect a response within a 24-hour time frame.
- Create focus by setting timers (preferably loud ones) and devoting all of your concentration to the single task you have assigned yourself. Arrange your schedule so as to minimize interruptions.
- Keep everything you have to do in your life on one master list. Take all of those sticky notes and reminders and put them on this list. My list is my calendar of events, with some tasks listed to be done late this summer or fall.
- At the end of each day, identify all those tasks that must be done the following day. For each task, determine the amount of time you think it will take. Then assign that task to a specific time of the day. If you run out of day, re-define your “must do’s” to fit into your available time. Remember, you only have 24 hours in a day and most of us only schedule about 12 of them.