THERE'S NEVER ENOUGH TIME IN A DAY!
PRINCIPLES ON MANAGING YOUR TIME WELL
“There’s never enough time in a day!” How many times have we said this phrase or heard it from someone else? Stress often occurs when our schedules become bombarded with stuff to do. There are times we want to “throw in the towel” or focus on mindless low value tasks when we become overly busy. Thus, we procrastinate and never end up doing what we should be doing. As a business owner, I have learned first hand how important time management is. Time is a commodity we can never get back. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. If we make a bad investment in the stock market, there are opportunities to regain back your losses. However, once you lose time, it’s gone. You can never get it back. No matter what industry we’re in, time management is absolutely essential for success. Without time management skills, we are just aimlessly going through the day. Evening then approaches and we wonder where the day went! In this resource, we will learn practical and applicable time management principles. I have put these principles into practice, and they have tremendously increased my productivity. Are you willing? Prior to putting any time management tools into practice, there has to be a willingness to change. Well known author Brian Tracy summarizes it into 4 Ds: Desire, decisiveness, determination, and discipline. It’s one thing to make a decision on changing bad habits, but will you have the determination to press on in the midst of setbacks and discipline yourself to move toward your goals each day? Willingness is the preceding ingredient to becoming a master at time management. Make the decision today to become an excellent time manager and determine yourself to persist, despite the inevitable setbacks you’ll face. It will be sacrificial but incredibly worth it!
Plan ahead and prioritize.
Most of us are familiar with to-do lists. We use them at a grocery store or write tasks down to get done around the house. While to-do lists are helpful, they within themselves are not efficient. To-do lists must be coupled with planning and prioritizing. Plan your day the night before on everything that needs to get done. Then prioritize that list. Whatever is high value, urgent, and important, work on these tasks first. Preserve your energy for the tasks that will attribute most to your goals. Place tasks of low value down on the list or eliminate them entirely. Most people work the other way around. They will do low value, fun and easy tasks and then procrastinate on high value tasks. By the time they complete the fun and easy tasks, they’re then too tired to do what is necessary. What ends up happening? They procrastinate. Planning your day in advance will fuel motivation and give you meaning and direction in your day. It will prevent you from going through the motions and wasting time.
Start your day off right!
While there are certain benefits to technology and social media, for the most part, they have consumed the minds of most Americans. Checking Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media channel has become a drug for many. People have become glued to their phones, checking every notification, newsfeed update, or news channel. Not only are these great time wasters, but they deprive a person’s imagination and creative skills. We have lost the meaning of edification and continually bombard ourselves with entertainment. Good time management leads to a strong start in the morning. Refrain yourself from checking Instagram first thing in the morning or turning on the television. For me, I begin every morning with time with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Personal prayer and time/study in the Scriptures remind me of why I exist, and my ultimate goal is to live for the glory of God. I then will eat a healthy and high protein breakfast so I have mental sharpness and physical energy. Following this, I will then work in my office for one hour on high value tasks. Finally, I will exercise for 45 minutes with a mix of cardio and light weights before my first client. Why do I stress this? I’m not implying that this is the only schedule to have to develop good time management. Rather, I’m implying the importance of structure in a schedule. When you have structure, you’ll have order so you can manage your time and your time doesn’t manage you. Further, when you begin to complete important, high value tasks, something happens. You have more energy, enthusiasm, persistence, motivation, and momentum. These qualities come as a result of organizing your life.
Eliminate time wasters.
One might say, “Chris, this all makes sense, but I’m just too busy. There aren’t enough hours in a day!” The reality is that God gives us sufficient time in our lives. The problem starts with us. If you’re struggling with time management skills, evaluate your life. What are you spending your time on? Are you spending too much time on it? For instance, if you’re a gamer, do you play excessively to the point of depriving time from relationships and work? You’ll be completely surprised with how you can gain extra hours during the day when you assess your schedule and minimize or eliminate time on things that have little to no value in your life.
Batch your tasks and control interruptions.
As a business owner, it’s easy to get bombarded with emails, reschedules, late payments, etc. It’s easy to get completely overwhelmed with unexpected demands and interruptions that came during the day. How do you respond to these unexpected demands that may not be on your to-do list? Bundle all your tasks. For example, when you have email or a phone call coming in while you’re working on a high value task, ignore it. When you mix these things together with creative work, you will constantly get distracted. As a result, you’ll spend more time re-tracking where you were at rather than going forward. It will become increasingly difficult to stay and finish a task when you’re coming in and out of other things. Batch all your tasks that are similar to each other. For instance, when I need to make sales calls, I will do them all at once at opportune times when there’s a higher likelihood of a person being available. When I need to do invoicing or respond to emails, I will do them in a block of time later in the day. Batching your tasks will do the following things for you: First, it will increase your level of focus so you can single-mindedly concentrate on one task at a time. Second, batching tasks will enable you to bring tasks to completion. Some people try to multi-task, but after many studies have shown, this doesn’t work. Third, it will help you prioritize creative work from routine work. When you’re working on a project that will expand your business or skills, it’s very important to not integrate that time with minimal thinking tasks, such as responding to texts or emails. Separate your levels of thinking. When you have to think at optimum levels, solely work on these projects. When critical thinking is not required, concentrate on quick tasks, such as emails, invoices, or other operational tasks. When you develop the habit of batching tasks and allocating time for each batch of tasks, you’ll be surprised with how much you can accomplish!
Pass it on!
I admittedly can do some things better than others. When it comes to speaking publicly, making phone calls, or addressing customer questions, these naturally come to me. Conversely, when it comes to a computer issue or having to use a complex software program, this doesn’t come so easy. While I’d be able to figure it out, it would take me 3 times longer than someone who’s gifted in this area. Be honest with yourself. You cannot be a jack of all trades and expect to be successful, so what do you do? Delegate! Pass on tasks that you don’t excel at to people who are competent in those areas. Be clear on what that person has to do, and provide a great incentive for their work. Over the years, I’ve been grateful to teach students who are now in college. Some of these students wanted to build their resume and make a little extra money, while gaining good work experience. I delegated certain technological tasks that they were truthfully much better than I was at! As a result of this, I was able to focus on what I was able to do best, while delegating important tasks to what they do best! You can’t do it all. Find quality and responsible people in your life where you can delegate.
Invest In Your Field.
In Brian Tracy’s book, “No More Excuses”, he says there’s a 3 percent rule. When you invest 3% of your income to your field, your income increases. As a drummer, there is so much to learn. The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know! Some of my income is allocated toward drum DVDs and books of all styles of music. I’ve also taken personal masterclasses with top notch drummers, such as: Dave Weckl, Steve Smith, and Billy Cobham. As a business owner, I have learned the importance of constant improvement. Because we live in such a competitive and demanding world, we have to continue to upgrade our skills in our field. Most businesses don’t do this and end up going out of business. If you want to be in the top 3% in your field, invest in yourself. Attend seminars, masterclasses, or buy audiobooks in your field. Continually feed your mind to remain ahead of your competition. Audio programs are ideal when you’re driving or working on a mundane task that doesn’t require thinking. Think about how much time you spend in your car? You can turn your car to a “school on wheels” and enhance your skills! You may ask, “What does this have to do with time management?” Investing in your field will give you the edge over your competition. You’ll become proficient and an expert in your field. This ultimately transcends into being an effective time manager, because you’ll control what you do with your time. Thus, this will eliminate things in your life that have no value to your growth.
Ultimately, God is absolutely in control of everything that happens. We may have an unexpected emergency to attend that takes the priority over anything we have to do on that day. Family emergencies should never be neglected for the sake of accomplishment. We should also strive for balance. There are times of rest, times of watching a movie, and more importantly, time with our families. Applying these principles, however, will give us direction, efficiency, and a sense of accomplishment in our daily responsibilities.