Are You Failing at Time Management?
Before we talk about failure, let's talk about how marvelous my weekend was! As I mentioned on Friday I was unplugging. Now, it wasn't a full unplug. I checked email, messenger and text but not as immediately as I usually do. For most of the weekend, I didn't even have my phone on me. I also checked in on Facebook on Sunday to catch up with a few groups but didn't review my news feed. Between Friday and Sunday I have read almost two full books (completed Divergent by Roth and am 75% done with Insurgent also by Roth). I haven't read for pleasure in almost a year. I needed to be reminded that time is finite and we only get 24 hours in a day. It reminded me time management is essential in our busy lives. If I am not an effective time manager, I will not realize my fullest potential.
Time management is the ability to plan and control the hours in our day to effectively and efficiently accomplish your tasks and goals. Signs you aren't managing your time well are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, anxious, unproductive, mindless, unsuccessful and slightly out of control. Leading into this weekend, I felt like I was treading water. Doing things but not accomplishing much and certainly not moving closer to goal achievement. At this point, I hope some of you are nodding your heads in agreement. Let's be honest, as a society, we are all suffering from cognitive overload.
By unplugging, I gave myself the space I needed to observe and reflect on my recent behaviors. I was able to identify mistakes I make with my time management when I am overloaded:
- I am not focused on my highest priorities.
- I am distracted by the inconsequential like social media and activities lacking value. Distractions are also a good way to procrastinate.
- I am multitasking too much. Sometimes it is necessary but most of the time it is not.
- I am not making the best use of my most productive time of day.
- I have lost my "buffer" due to over committing. Note: "Buffer" is the time I allow for error. For example, when I leave 10 minutes earlier for an appointment that is buffer. I incorporate buffer in a number of areas of my life. It eliminates the feeling of rushing or gives me extra time for important tasks when needed.
Now I am AWARE of these behaviors I have to ACCEPT responsibility for making choices that don't serve me, my vision, or my goals. Awareness and acceptance are the first steps to creating lasting behavior change. I let my life pull me in too many different directions. I am glad I recognized the warning signs so I can re-institute good time management habits. For the next 30 days I will be executing the following time management plan and literally marking the calendar boxes to keep me honest:
- Recommit to my vision, values, and goals for 2014. This is why it was important to take action on my post Simple Steps for Creating Vision and Purpose.
- Establish my priority projects. These are the projects with the "biggest bang for the buck" when it comes to achieving my goals. This will not be a long list, these are the critical few.
- Capture my energy. I am going to put a daily template together for the best use of my time. For example, I am most productive in the early morning, this is when I will carve out time for daily meditation, writing, and idea creation.
- Eliminate.Distractions.Period. This is getting the tough love approach from me. Since one of my biggest distractions is my phone, all distracting apps are being removed.
- Evaluate and eliminate the "non value added." If it doesn't bring me closer to my vision, values, or goals, it's out.
- Be intentional. This means no multitasking, sticking to the priorities of the day, and being true to my values. We have a saying around my house and I have to remind myself of it now - focus and finish. Focus on the task at hand, finish it, and move on to the next task.
It is the end of February, most people have long forgotten their New Year's Resolutions or 2014 Goals. If you are reading this today, don't let this happen to you! Time management is a critical component in ensuring goal achievement. This is a great time to review your commitments and ensure you have the time management skills needed to make 2014 your best year.
Since there are endless ways we can be squandering our time, I liked this post by Time Management Ninja called 29 Ways You're Wasting Your Time Today.
Leave me a comment with your BIGGEST time management challenges. Let's see if we can all be better time managers.