It is certain that at some point in your life, you must have taken a time management class, read about it in books, even tried to use an electronic or paper-based day planner to organize, prioritize and schedule your day. You must wonder, “All these gadgets at our disposal and yet why am I unable to schedule my time?” The answer is straight forward: If they didn’t work out, then everything you ever learned about managing time is a waste of time.
Before you can even begin to manage time, you must learn what time is. The dictionary defines time as “the point or period at which things occur.” Put simply, time is when things happen. There are two variations of time, one is clock time and the other is real time. In clock time, there are 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day and 365 days in a year. All time passes equally. When someone turns 30, they are precisely 30 years old, no more or no less. However, real time is something more relative. Time can fly or drags depending on what you’re doing. Two hours at some board meeting of your company can feel like 10 hours. Which time describes the world in which you really live, real time or clock time? The reason time management gadgets and systems don’t work is that these systems are designed to deal with clock time. Clock time is irrelevant when concerned with managing our daily lives as they come under real time. We are in a world in which all time flies when you are having fun or drags when you are doing something you just don’t want to. The good news is that real time is mental. It exists solely in our minds. We make it occur and so it is in our control, hence we can manage it. It is time to remove any limitations we have about not having enough time, or thinking that it’s not “the right time” to start the business or manage your current business properly. There are only three manners in which can spend time: thoughts, conversations and actions. Regardless of the type of business you own, or the work you do, your work will be composed of those three items. If you are an in an independent practise, you may be frequently interrupted or pulled in different directions. While you cannot eliminate interruptions, you do get a say on how much time you will spend on them and how much time you will spend on the thoughts, conversations and actions that will lead you to success.
Here are some tips and tricks, compiled by the Gallopper team to help you to take control of your own time:
- Schedule your work on a weekly basis. Doing this you will realize where and how you spend your time. When are you being productive, also when you might be wasting it.
- Important sessions should be tagged with a fixed time. Schedule appointments with yourself and create time blocks for high-priority thoughts, conversations, and actions. Schedule when they will begin and end. Have the discipline to keep these appointments.
- Plan to spend at least 50 percent of your time engaged in the thoughts, activities and conversations that produce most of your results.
- Schedule time for interruptions. Plan time to be pulled away from what you’re doing. Take, for instance, the concept of having “office hours.” Isn’t “office hours” another way of saying “planned interruptions?”
- Take the first 30 minutes of every day to plan your day. Don’t engage in your day activities until you complete your schedule. The most important time of your day is the time you schedule to schedule time.
- Put up a “Do not disturb” sign when you absolutely have to get work done. Even if it is not a physical sign, you can inform all around you that you are not available.
- Practice not answering the phone just because it’s ringing and e-mails just because they show up. Disconnect instant messaging. Don’t instantly give people your attention unless it’s absolutely essential in your business to offer an immediate human response. Instead, schedule a time to answer email and return phone calls. Block out other distractions like Facebook and other forms of social media unless you use these tools to generate business.
Remember that it’s unlikely you’ll get everything done. Also remember that odds are good that 20 percent of your thoughts, conversations and activities produce 80 percent of your results.