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Friday, October 30, 2009

Time Management – Making The Most Out Of A Limited Resource

More than a few dozen times, people say to me, ‘I don’t know how you fit it all in!’ Sometimes even *I* don’t know how I fit it all in, to be honest. However, not only did I realize early that if I wanted to accomplish the things in my life ‘to do’ list, I’d better take control of my time. I have learned that time management is a huge issue with many of my clients. So, to help with this common problem, below are some tips to at least get you started on how to make the most out of your limited resource: Time.

What do you want to accomplish? Many people I work with have a HUGE list of what they want to do or of opportunities coming their way. It becomes so overwhelming for them that they find themselves doing NOTHING! Now, that defeats the purpose of
having such great opportunities at their feet, huh? So, make a list of all the things you would like to do or accomplish, or all the opportunities coming your way, and then prioritize them. For example, which of all the things you listed above is the very most important to you to make happen? Then that would be
#1. Continue this until you have come to the last one. The last item on your list should be what you could put off until last.

Make a list
I could not function through each day without my daily list! Not having my list is like walking into a Williams-Sonoma store without a shopping list. I guess it would be what walking into a toy store would be like for a kid. I don’t know where to start, there are so many wonderful things to see and do! So, usually the night before, I will write down the tasks that need attending to the next day. Generally my list is related to what I have on my marketing calendar, which helps me organize my entire month. Sometimes, I will create a weekly list, and then break it down from there. Determine what works best for you and put your list together. If you’re not used to writing down lists, just start with writing down a few important things.
Maybe you want to make some phone calls tomorrow; write that down. Perhaps you’ve been meaning to write an article; write it down.

Map it out
Having many things to do in the course of your day can also lead to getting nothing done. We’ve all been there; we have this small project to complete, another to start, we have to be done with either by noon to pick up the kids, then of course there is bed and relaxation time. But soon things aren’t getting done. Or, we want to start a new project (like start our own business!) and we have no CLUE how we’ll fit that in!

Here is a tip that I learned long ago to help: Print up a schedule that breaks down the day, by the hour, for a whole week. First shade out the time you sleep, then the time you spend on self-care to get ready for the day and for bed. Then
shade out family time; this includes meals, watching movies, helping with homework, etc. If you work, shade that time out, including commuting time. Also include self care for just you, such as exercise or relaxation time. Then look at the time you
have left. You may be amazed at what you find! One client realized that a HUGE chunk of her time was taken by her part-time job that included a long commute time, which prompted her to consider how she can change that.

Once you have mapped out your time, then determine what projects are important (from your priorities list) and determine how you will accomplish them.

Clean up
Is your work space clean and organized or cluttered and out of control? How is your filing system? Did you know that when your work area is cluttered and feeling out of control that YOU feel cluttered and out of control? So, look around and decide where you stand in this area. We’ve just added something NEW to add to your priority list, however! But the good news is you’ve also just investigated where you have time to work on projects! So, add this to your priority list and then schedule it into your calendar. However, because this can be overwhelming, pick a
specific area you want to work on. Let’s say you live in piles. On your priority list, break down that ‘big’ item of ‘clean office’ into small projects. For example, put ‘clean up one pile’ if you have piles of papers. If you want to organize your files, pick just one drawer at a time to focus on. If you have
allowed two hours to work on this project and you aren’t complete at the end of two hours, just pick up on the day you have again allotted time to work on that project!

These are just a few of the simplest ways to help you organize your time. I often use these as beginning steps for clients and they find they help in more ways than they ever imagined! From there, anything is possible! Now you can set up your goals for your life or business and actually get them done! Ok, now, time to stop reading and start getting organized.


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