Time Management is Really Self Management.
Time management, and the mastery of time management, is a huge topic these days. There are tons of books and programs catered to this one seemingly elusive aspect of our lives. According to Google there is 1,000,000 monthly searches for the term “time management.”
The irony is that you can't manage time. Time is linear and goes on with or without you. Seconds continue to tick off into minutes which continue to tick off into hours, days, weeks, months and years. This epiphany can sound discouraging. However, when you realize that you can't control time, it can be very liberating. Time management is actually self management, or task management. These things are in your control. It's up to you how you choose to utilize the hours you have available each day.
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Here are some tips to help you manage yourself better so you can manage your time better:
Use a Timer:
It's true, you can't stop a clock at your whim. What you can do is start and stop a timer. When you set a timer for a specific amount of time, this will stimulate your brain to get busy and knock out the task at hand. It may not happen that easily in the beginning, but once you start using this method, it becomes a challenge to the brain. The brain loves a challenge, believe it or not, and will start going to work when you give it a task.
The best time to plan today is not today. You should have planned it yesterday. There's no way you'd throw a party without planning ahead. Your day, in a sense, is like a party. The better you plan it out, the more efficiently you can execute that plan.
When you make out your daily task list be as specific as possible. Here are a few examples, assuming you run your own business or work online.
Your daily task list may look like:
1 – Email customers,
2 – Work on report to give away,
3 – Write blog post,
4 – Comment on blogs,
Instead, you should give your brain specific details to work from.
Try this instead:
1 – Email customers about upcoming sale,
2 – Work on time management report to give away as a list building incentive,
3 – Write blog post on using time management techniques to promote the free report,
4 – Comment on [name] of blog's article to get a link back to my time management article,
The example above gives you action words or commands to work with. Your brain will take commands and put them into action.
Assign a Time Frame to Tasks:
Going with our examples above and utilizing the use of a timer, let's assign a specific time to each of these tasks. Your brain not only loves a challenge, but it actually likes a deadline too. It helps promote a sense of urgency.
Email customers about upcoming sale (30 minutes),
Work on time management report to give away as a list building incentive (1 to 2 hours),
Write blog post on using time management techniques to promote the free report (45 minutes),
Comment on [name] of blog's article to get a link back to my time management article (20 minutes),
When you look at your task list each morning, pick out your least favorite task and do it first, just get it out of the way. This frees up the rest of your day to focus on the things you actually enjoy doing.
When you decide which task you will work on first, take a few minutes to mentally prepare yourself, gather your notes or whatever you need, and start getting focused. Once you're prepared, set your timer and get to work.
Tip: You should also turn off all distractions so you can give your full attention to the task at hand.
Time management can seem like a very daunting task, but if you will start to implement simple techniques, like the ones mentioned above, you can gain control over your actions and accomplish more in the hours you have available to you.