Procrastination is the foundation of all disasters.
You can grasp the important essentials of effective time management in 20 minutes ~ living with it, really using your time wisely and to your own best advantage, well that takes a little more work.
So, just what is this time management thing? Effective time management ~ it’s all about making a little go a long way. It’s about improving the way in which you use the 86,400 seconds you get every single day. Time management is about doing away with; displacement activities, delay, deviation, distractions, hesitation, indecision, indulgence, procrastination, repetition, sloth, stress, tardiness, and waste.
I am definitely going to take a course on time management… just as soon as I can work it into my schedule. ~ Louis E. Boone.
Effective time management is all about doing the important things, at the right time, and spending the right amount of time on them. Like everything good and important in life, effective time management is also about control, restraint, and self-discipline. What time management is not about is making certain that you are doing the right things ~ that’s something else entirely, something we will talk about at a later date.
You already know the basic techniques for effective time management, it’s just that you never use them. So here’s what you should do, from now on, every single damn day.
- Make a list. Start with a to-do list. These are the things you should / must / want to do today. (Actually, tomorrow, because you should start writing your to-do list the night before.) You can even buy a ready-made to-do list App, packed with colourful features and supposed benefits. Don’t bother to waste your time and money. Get a notebook, or just some sheets of paper, and write down what you need to do. You can use different colours for different categories or importance of tasks if you like. Personally, I merely number things, in order of importance.
- Cross tasks off your list only when they’re completely done and tangibly, measurably delivered, and then forget all about them and move onto the next task with a clear mind.
- Do the worst / most unpleasant / most important things first. Getting the nasty stuff out-of-the-way early in the day makes the rest of the day both easier and much more enjoyable.
- Make more lists. These extra lists are for sub-tasks. For example your to-do list may say ‘do grocery shopping’ ~ so you need a shopping list, (never, never, ever go into a store without a list of what you want / need / would like to buy).
- Break big and unwieldy tasks down into smaller and more manageable bits. This is called chunking, and it can be used in all kinds of situations.
- Keep a journal. As well as writing down what has happened and how you feel about it, you can also use your journal as a detailed day planner, and as a place to plan and manage future events / tasks / projects. Properly used a journal will stop you turning up for things unprepared / on the wrong day / without your passport.
- Avoid meaningless distractions. These come in all kinds of shapes, but the most insidious and pointless time-wasting evil right now is social media. If you use social media at work, or first thing in the morning, or last thing at night, or during your lunch break, then stop it. You are just wasting time while turning your brain into mouldy dough.
- Take regular breaks. Just sitting at your desk for 4, 6, 8, 10, or 12 hours a day is not the way to be productive. Worse than that, sitting at your desk for long periods is literally killing you.
- Get plenty of good quality sleep. If you are tired and irritable you are also unfocused and unproductive.
- Develop good regular habits. If you can run part of your day on auto-pilot, if doing some routine essential tasks becomes a habit, you are saving a hell of a lot of time and mental energy for the really difficult stuff.
- Learn how to say NO! Agreeing to things that are unimportant / meaningless / we don’t want to do anyway, uses up a huge amount of our time, mental effort, and spiritual energies. Along with that, drop people who waste your life and suck up your energies.
- Multi-task the routine stuff. For example, prepare dinner while the bath is running, and let it cook while you’re soaking away the aches and pains of the day. But be wary, multi-tasking doesn’t work for important stuff.
And then there is the tricky and oh so important number 13.
13. STOP DICKING AROUND. There a billion things you could do instead of actually doing the stuff you really want to do, should do, need to do, absolutely must do. Recently I read where a guy got sacked for spending all day at work looking at internet porn on his cell phone ~ if that’s not a definition of dicking around then I don’t know what is.
All of this is pretty much common sense, actually you knew most of this already, so why aren’t you using these good practices? Probably because you’ve been lazy, lacking in self-discipline, or you think that ordinary rules and good advice don’t apply to you. Well, let me tell you, little sister, you’d better shape up if you want that good quality, rewarding, spiritual, healthy life you’ve been promising yourself.
Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone. ~ Pablo Picasso
Procrastination doesn’t cut it.