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7 Tips to Manage Your Time and Yourself

Time management and self management go hand in hand. In a strict sense, time management is defined as using your time efficiently and effectively. But, can you really manage time? It can’t be bought, it doesn’t stand still, and you can’t add hours to the clock. I recommend you improve your time management by focusing on managing yourself—being the captain of your ship and leading your life.

When discussing time management, we tend to focus on work; however, the management of time and self should encompass all areas of your life. Let’s dive into some tips you can use to better manage your time and your life today.

Measure How You Spend Your Time

Just like managing your money, you need to know where your time is being spent before you can make a change. Record everything that fills your days for an entire week. At the end of the week, review each activity and put them in two categories: meaningful and meaningless. If you find you’re spending a significant amount of time on meaningless activities, make it a goal to either completely axe them or at least decrease time spent to a more manageable amount.

Get Clear on a What You Want

Nothing supports time and self management like a goal. Gaining clarity doesn’t have to be monumental. It can be as simple as choosing something small that you want to accomplish in the near future. Your accomplishments don’t have to be career focused. They can be as simple as having a date night with your partner.

Start by writing down your goals. Instead of writing a to do list, create a results list! For example, if you want to start a blog, write down a goal to write 500 words a day. Create two to three goals you would like to accomplish at the beginning of each week.

Plan Your Week

Plan your upcoming week on Sundays. If you have a partner, I recommend doing this together. You can use apps like Google Calendar, TimeTree, or an old fashioned pen and paper.

Start by blocking in steady commitments like work and picking up the kids from their activities. Then, plan your meals and make a grocery list. You can schedule time for exercise, personal development, socialization, rest, and quiet thinking in the remaining hours each day.

Enrichment in all of these areas are important to live a fulfilled, vibrant life. If you doubt you have time for these areas—wake up call—the average American has more than five hours of free time each day!

“If you don’t have a plan for your life, someone else does.” – Tony Robbins

Create Routines

I’ve fought the routine train for awhile. Now, I’m a believer. The awesome thing about routines is that you become more efficient if you commit to them daily. As an added bonus, you free-up cognitive resources to use in other areas like creativity.

Don’t Be Afraid to Say, “No.”

Why is the word no so scary? You have to realize that if you continue to say yes to everyone, you will become a slave to other people’s agenda. Here are some pointers on saying no from Essentialism by Greg McKeown:

  1. Separate the response from the relationship. You’re saying no to a task, not your friend.
  2. Focus on what you must give up to complete this task.
  3. Accept that not everyone is going to like you, but they will respect you.
  4. A concise “no” is better than an ambiguous “yes”.

“People are effective because they say no.” – Peter Drucker

Create Time Buffers

I used to hurl myself full-speed ahead through airport terminals, afraid I was going to miss my flight. After an ah-ha moment, I decided I needed to better manage my time and myself. That’s when I implemented the 50% rule. The rule states that whatever amount of time you think a task is going to take you, double it.

Since I was getting to the airport thirty-five minutes before my flight, I started to arrive an hour and ten minutes before. If 50% may seem a bit extreme, add 405 or even 30%. If you implement this rule, the stress of rushing, will simply disappear.

Rest

Efficiency is at the core of time management and self management. Data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) shows that as hours of work increase, productivity decreases. Working more also expends more energy which leaves you depleted by the time you arrive home.

A simple trick is to take a break every 50 minutes. If you can, set an alarm on your phone. Every 50 minutes, try to get up from your desk or close your eyes and take some deep breaths. Give yourself a mental break.

Conclusion

We’ve covered a lot of ground here. Time management is more about practicing intentionality rather than counting hours of the day. If you want be more in control of your life, start small and implement one tip at a time. Of course, some days will go off the rails. But if you implement these tips, you’ll live through more calm seas than hurricanes.

“And then one day I decided that hurry and stress were no longer going to be a part of my life. Stress is self-centered. I decided to stop manufacturing it. We can choose an internal calm and joy even amid the chaos.”

Brendon Burchard

Choose the calm, choose the joy.

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