Before I run any workshops or seminars I like to ask everyone 3 simple questions. What is their biggest personal challenge, what is their biggest professional challenge and what could I talk about that will make my presentation potentially life changing.
One of the key questions, topics, and challenges in peoples lives is:
How the (beep) can I manage my time better?…so I have less stress, I get more done, I have more fun, and I have more harmony in my life.
Here is what I say…
Time Management Super Tip 1: You can’t manage time. Damn it!!!
Now I borrowed that line from Bob Proctor (a quirky Canadian leader in the personal development field). He said that he was told by one of his mentors:
“You can’t manage time, you can only manage ACTIVITIES.”
So the aim is not to work on squeezing more minutes in an hour, or more hours in a day. We all have the same number to play with. The thing that sets the best of us (the high achievers that are doing great stuff, making positive impacts, and aren’t burnt out) from those at the other end of the spectrum is that the best are VERY good at managing their activities.
They are very clear about what they need to be working on.
So Tip 1 is about getting very clear about what it is you want, or want to achieve (sound familiar? ;-))
Time Management Super Tip 2: First thing first
The high achievers, have clarity about what they want, and then they plan how to get what they want. So you obviously need to work out a plan for how you are going to achieve what you want. But here is the key lesson. Not everything on the To Do list is equally important, now.
To manage your time better, you need to be clear of where you are going, or what you want, and then you need to get clear about what the PRIORITIES are for you getting what you want.
When I am coaching within a business, I am constantly asking my clients when they come up with ideas or activities: “Is the activity ESSENTIAL or DESIRABLE?” This allows them to become very clear on what needs to be done. Desirable are put back on the shelf for future consideration (when we have more space, time, and energy).
Then it is a case of putting the essentials in PRIORITY order. This requires clarity of mind, and why this is my first task of a morning after I meditate. I apply my full brain power on getting clear about my absolute musts are and then the order of execution based on their priority.
Tip 2 is about working on ESSENTIAL tasks in a deliberate PRIORITY order (this is one of the major keys to high achievement).
Time Management Super Tip 3: You might disagree and you might also be wrong
The following are 2 scenario’s and then a truth question for you. The assumption is that both tasks are important, and have some measure of complexity (i.e. one of the tasks is not breathing, although having said that, focused breathing is much more effective then non-focused breathing ;-)).
Scenario 1: You focus on Task A with 100% of your attention. When you finish Task A, you focus on Task B with 100% of your attention.
Scenario 2: You focus on Task A with 60% of your attention, while at the same time focusing on Task B with 40% of your attention.
The Truth Question: Which scenario is likely to create the best result for both Task A and Task B? Additionally, which scenario is likely to result in the least amount of mistakes, errors or oversights?
Where possible – and yes I am aware that life never goes 100% according to plan – apply single point of focus on your HIGH PRIORITY tasks.
The high achievers have a list of tasks, which they consciously put into an order. They focus on Task A, until it is finished. Then they forget about it and work on Task B. Then they forget about that and work on Task C.
Tip 3 is about bringing the full power of your mind and will to whatever you are doing. Your laser mind will cut through the task in front of you more efficiently, effectively and creatively, to achieve a much higher result (free of negative consequences, which might take more time to fix).
Time Management Super Tip 4: Say ‘no’ more often
Yes, this is the 57th time I have mentioned this.
Saying ‘no’ more often might make you initially more unpopular with others, but it will make you VERY popular with yourself when you are kicking back with your feet up reading your favourite book, or hanging out in your favourite place, or by yourself at the movies seeing the film that you actually wanted to see, (etc.); instead of at that social event that makes you want to stick a needle in your leg with a high dose tranquilizer. Or is it just me who has had those sort of thoughts??? 😉
I also think people might be put out in the short term, but the good ones will respect you more for your level of INTEGRITY. They will say things like, ‘thanks for being honest, rather than being a grumpy cow bringing down our dinner party’.
Tip 4 is about making this year a plethora of “no’s” to make more room for the “HELL YEAH!!”.
Time Management Super Tip 5: Sometimes 80% is enough
I actually think more than sometimes 80% is enough. I actually think it is most of the time. There are some things that require 100%, but in my experience most things don’t. And more importantly, 100% all the time is generally unsustainable.
Life is a process of growth. Aim for constant improvement. Start where you are. Aim to get better. Aim for great, rather than perfect. Be ok with do a very average job on occasions.
With many of my clients, they don’t change their priorities and standards, based on the current reality. Maybe in the past you could achieve 100% in a number of areas. But in this current reality (with different life circumstances), maybe you can only achieve 92% in one thing, and everything else is a 67%. And that is ok. I am not saying be a slacker, but know that as circumstances change in life, you may have to change your ideas, standards, and expectations.
Tip 5 is about being conscious and evolved enough to know that 100% is not achievable or sustainable all the time over the long term.
Are you loving 2016? Is January rolling by nicely (and quickly ;-))?
This is definitely the time to be more conscious about exactly what you want. Get clear about the best ways to get there. Then work on those ways without distraction. Say ‘no’ more in 2016 to irrelevant stuff. Otherwise you will ‘run out of time’.
Get ruthless with how you allocate and give out your time. Spend your time doing nourishing, high-quality activities that have deeper meaning and purpose to them – which is actually a recipe for happiness and fulfillment. Cut away the fat. 😉
So have an awesome day, week and month. Be kind to yourself. Set ‘fun’ as an intention for 2016. And if you are in Bali or ever visiting Bali, make sure you rock on over to The Practice, to say hi and check out what we mean when we talk about yoga on and off the mat.
As always, please ask questions of me, or share your thoughts in a response email or by putting a post on Facebook.