You have all the time you need to do everything you need to do. But for some reason, there are those of us who just can’t manage to cram all the important tasks into 24 hours.
We forget to go to the store for supplies and end up using paper towels as toilet paper. We are late to pick up grandma from bingo on the one night she has too many and she is left to teeter drunkenly on the curb in the dark.
Personal development guru Steve Pavlina sums up time management in two simple steps:
- Decide what to do.
- Do it.
Despite the simplicity of the concept, the most important tasks continue to go undone. To manage your time more effectively, check out the top 3 time management problems below, and find out how to solve them.
Problem 1: Procrastination
“Just stick that in that pile over there. I’ll get to it…eventually.”
Procrastination is a toxin that poisons even the most well-intentioned person’s resolve. It is so easy (and often so satisfying) to put off until tomorrow what we don’t feel like doing today.
Most times we even have all of the tools needed to complete the task, but we manage to delude ourselves into believing that doing it later is better than doing it now.
Cut out the habit of procrastination by making a promise to “DO IT NOW.” Regardless of when a task is due, if you have all the tools needed to complete it, do it now and be amazed at how much free time you’ll gain in the future.
Problem 2: Time Wasting Activities
“I’ll get to it in a minute! I just want to finish this game first!” or “Just one more chapter…”
In this age of information and technology we are constantly bombarded with interruptions and distractions. It is a miracle any of us ever get anything done. What are your go-to activities to decompress and unwind? Video games? Facebook? Twitter?
These activities serve as ways of escape from the reality of our lives for whatever reason. Some of us may simply enjoy indulging in our favorite things to do from time to time.
Others of us may feel excessive stress due or lifestyles and need a way to escape the pressure.
These activities only become a problem when we lose track of time and find ourselves spending hours instead of minutes escaping from stresses of day to day life.
Give yourself a time limit for those activities and stick to it. Set an alarm if you need to. When your time is up, it is up. No extensions.
If you find that you are in the midst of an activity that will be difficult to put down at the designated time, stop early.
For example, if you are reading a juicy romance novel –you know the kind you can’t put down, and you can see that your time will be up in 10 minutes and this is not enough time to come to a stopping point, stop early and begin on the next task for the day.
If, at the end of the day you have free time, you can pick up where you left off.
Problem 3: Lack of Planning & Prioritizing
“I’ll get to it when I get to it,” or “I’ll deal with it eventually,”
Choosing to live moment to moment, failing to plan, can be a desirable option because it allows you to bypass being accountable for errors in time management.
But neglecting the opportunity to plan and prioritize could cost you major in time as well as money.
Choosing what you need/ want to do is a prerequisite for actually doing it. If you are someone who habitually misses deadlines, or breaks promises to yourself or others, just correcting this one problem is powerful enough to change your life.
Make a list of things to do today and then rank them in order of importance. Then, budget time for each activity.
Create a tentative schedule for yourself and enter your tasks with budgeted times in the order of need/ importance.
Do your best to stick to the schedule.
There may be times when things just don’t go according to the plan. Please do not let this be an excuse to ditch the entire schedule. Do your best to get yourself back on track after instances where the schedule has changed.
You’ll be glad you did.
Remember, your time is your life. Every moment of very day we are exchanging our lives for the tasks that we do or do not do.
This is among the reasons time management is so important. At times we must work hard, but the fruit of our hard work is generally worth the effort.
If you find yourself in the harvest season of your life and you have reaped no benefits, think back to what you did with your time.