There’s no shortage of programs, gurus, and articles about time management. Perhaps one of the most famous time management concepts is Dr. Stephen Covey’s Time Matrix, in which we focus on “Important but not Urgent” tasks and eliminate important and urgent things. But what I’ve discovered in my own years of building and running businesses is it’s impossible actually to manage time. Time is its master and will go by regardless of what we do. However, you can manage yourself and your own priorities.
Here’s the hard truth: Your task list will NEVER be done. There will always be something done.
How much time and energy are you spending chasing that empty to-do list, getting your inbox to 0, or worse, just playing catch up? How often do you find yourself saying, “I’m busy.”?
Most of the time, “I’m busy” comes from being reactive and not going into your life with a plan or locked-out steps.
Key question: Are you happy and fulfilled in every area of your life?
Sometimes, it is unpleasant to answer that question, but it is always the most important question you could ask. But how do you get to a place where the answer is a hearty “YES”?
You have first to determine what’s important to YOU.
The first step is to decide what you want. Start by asking yourself what you want your life – in every area – to look like in 6 months. The common recommendation is to look 5 – 10 years out for this, but that time becomes very abstract from our present selves. Instead, focus on near-immediate possibilities.
Write down how you want your life to be in work, family, spiritual, personal, fitness, and other areas. Then, write out 20 reasons WHY you want what you’ve outlined. You can then begin to map out a plan to get there (bring in a coach to help you!) From here, you can create action items daily, weekly, and monthly to help you reach your desired goal.
Build out your success schedule.
You, like everyone else, have 168 hours per week. It’s time to decide how you will spend that time. Of course, everyone has to sleep, so it’s a good idea to block that out first (average what you get or want to get each night and block it out.) Then, move down your list of priorities and decide how much time you want to devote to each: spirituality, family, work, personal, fitness, fun, etc.
Key note: decide what is the MOST important in your life, and do not have flexibility in it, but be a little flexible in other areas of your life.
IMPORTANT: Once you’ve decided when you will be committed to the different areas of your life, be 100% committed to THAT activity. If it’s family time, do not answer work calls/texts or check email. Do not make personal calls or browse social media if it’s work.
Taking these steps will help you to manage yourself and how you spend time while keeping in mind that time will continue to flow no matter what. It will also help end “I’m busy” reactive living so you can begin moving toward your dreams.