Time. You can't recover it, make up for it, or reverse it. There are 24 hours in a day and 168 in a week, and those numbers aren't changing. What you can do is use the hours more efficiently and wisely to free up at least 60 minutes a week.
Many executive clients work 60-plus hours a week still find a way to do things for themselves and their families. How? They do it by prioritizing. They know what's truly important, what's urgent, and what isn't. They know how to say no to certain things and yes to other things. And they know how to maximize the time that they do have and not dwell on time that they don't have. Here's how you can optimize your time:
Track how you spend your time. Do this for one week. Many people are entirely unaware of what they do hour to hour and where the day goes. This simple exercise of noting what you're doing each hour can have a huge impact. If for 15 minutes every morning you spent on deciding what to wear, that's almost two hours a week spent. Track your time and know where you're spending it.
Determine which tasks and activities are vital and which are optional.Structure other tasks around those that are vital. Schedule your day by doing the important tasks first. This is when you are freshest and energetic. So often the less important tasks get in the way of other things that need to be done. For many this is a distraction. It's easier to do the things that aren't as important. Fear leads to procrastination (overcome it!) and ends us keeping us stagnant.
Get up 15 minutes earlier than you normally do. Doing so will provide you with an extra 75 minutes in your work week. Many of my clients who are business leaders talk about how they maximize their mornings and see it as a time to respond to emails without the distraction of telephone calls or they use it to do their daily workout.
Schedule Internet use. So often people lose their sense of time when they are online. Given the sensory overload, people are drawn into cyberspace and rarely can stick to just their intended task. Think about how many times you went online to read the news or check the weather and ended up staying online much longer reading other articles.
Keep your expectations in check. Are these expectations reasonable or unreasonable? For example, are you trying to go to the gym, get the kids ready for school, do laundry, and walk the dog all before 9:00 a.m.? Make sure you don't bite off more than you can chew.
Change your thinking. "I'm so busy" and "I don't have time for anything" are negative comments that are sure to keep you feeling overwhelmed. You might think instead, "I will make good use of the time that I do have" or "I can only do so much in one day and I will make sure I accomplish what is reasonable today."
Keep your surroundings clean and organized. A cluttered desk will distract you as will a messy home. By keeping things in order you'll keep information organized in your head and minimize the possibility of losing items and having to spend time looking for them
This article was originally posted in the Huffington Post by Jonathan Alpert. We think it's great to share with you because we find it informative and super helpful for bettering our time management skills.