Time was in the news last week when the sequestration deadline caused massive cuts to the Federal budget. Also last week, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder decided that time had run out for the City of Detroit and declared the state’s largest city’s finances to be a financial emergency.
Both instances remind us that time is a precious resource.
I have no timesaving ideas for you. Time, in fact, cannot be saved. Hyrum Smith, founder of the Franklin Planner time management system, tells of a man who approached him to say, “I wish I lived a hundred years ago when they had more time.”
Indeed, everyone has the same amount of time and people who manage their time always have enough time. Here are 5 Cool Ideas on how to better manage your time.
1. The first hour of the day sets the pace.
Be very selfish with your first 60 minutes of consciousness. In my book, 5 Cool Ideas for Better Working, Living & Feeling, I reference my “Power Hour” and how I use the first 60 minutes of the day to wake up individual body parts, enjoy consistent exercise, and guarantee a bit of professional development.
2. Do the most important task first.
Most people spend the first hour of the work day greeting co-workers, getting coffee, sifting through junk mail, and generally anticipating a particular routine. Time guru Dr. Stephen Covey advises us to do the most important task of the day first. The ability to prioritize is essential to effective time management. Constantly ask yourself, “What is the most important thing that I should do today?” Do that thing first. t follows that if you get only one thing done that day, you will have spent your time wisely.
3. Carry a portable office.
Traffic jams and waiting rooms are terrific opportunities to sneak in a couple pages of professional development. Rush hour became much less frustrating when I started using slow traffic as an opportunity to do more reading, er, listening. Always keep an audio book in your car. Always keep a professional development book with you. If you carry a book, you won’t be wasting time in the doctor’s waiting room, you’ll be learning something new.
4. “Pre-call” your allotted time.
Your day consists of time chunks. When you manage those chunks of time, you’ll have a better day. Limit non-productive, casual conversation by “pre-calling” the amount of time you have available. If you tell someone you only have five minutes to chat, they are more likely to honor your time frame. Be sure to excuse yourself after those five minutes. After all, if you don’t honor your time, why should others?
5. Book appointments with yourself.
Reserve chunks of time for yourself. Book appointments with the most important person in the world — you. If you don’t manage your clock, someone else will.