I don’t mean we waste our time by being lazy and doing nothing – if we are honest most of us do that sometimes – but how many of us, in the end of what seemed like a busy day, have sat down and wondered exactly what we have achieved?
How frequently have you heard someone say “I have been so busy now, but I do not seem to have achieved anything?”
This is the primary difference between life’s achievers and those who, although always busy, never get anywhere. The people who “achieve” are people who make the most use of the time–the one commodity that we all have in equal amounts–it’s just that successful people invest their time wisely while many people waste their time. It does not matter how intelligent, educated, rich or well-connected you’re, if you do not use your time effectively, you are sure to fail.
I don’t mean that you ought to spend all of your time slaving away over your pc – far from it! – What I do mean is that you should use your time effectively – both work and leisure time.
But I can hear you saying “I spend twelve hours a day working, I just have that much to do I never seem to have the ability to finish or to have time to relax.” I would say that if you manage your time effectively, you would achieve more in eight hours than you’re currently doing in twelve.
First, to understand how to save time, you need to know (not guess) how you are spending your time at present. If you are serious about making yourself more successful, please carry out the following task thoroughly – I bet that the results will surprise you and shock you into action.
What I want you to do would be to keep a Time Log of your activity for the next two weeks. Take a sheet of paper, or a diary page, divide each working day into quarter of an hour slots, and at the end of each fifteen minutes, make a brief note of how you have spent that time.
I would recommend that you invent a simple key so you don’t waste more time writing! This would definitely be something that suits your specific work, but it may be something like: – A – time spent studying e-mails; B – time spent reading blog articles; C- responding to mails; D – making java; E – making phone calls; F – receiving telephone calls; G – being interrupted by colleagues/family who just want a chat; H – travelling; I – attending meetings – etc, I am sure you get the picture.
At the end of every day, simply add up the time spent on each activity and record it. At the end of the two weeks I am positive you’ll be amazed at the time you spent on actively moving your business forward and how much time was wasted, though it “appeared” like it was work!
As the days progress you will probably begin to notice things you are doing that are unproductive and begin to change your habits. Do you really need to read all those blog posts?
Does the quantity of time spent on something correlate to the importance of that item towards achieving your primary goal – developing a profitable business?
Could you alter how you do some jobs to help you finish them faster?
Do you have to subscribe to all those blog posts? I certainly found once I was beginning in this company I subscribed to each blog post I could – but after a time I was becoming inundated with them. So what I did was create a list of all of them, and as each one came I marked its importance to me as either 1 – really useful; 2 – some helpful advice; and 3 – of no interest whatsoever. After I had received three copies of a blog article, I looked at the scores I had given it and when the marks were all 3’s I unsubscribed immediately; if they were a mix of 2’s and 3’s I waited to receive a further few copies; but if neither of those scored a 1, then I again unsubscribed. I’m now spending about a quarter of the time I was previously, but still getting as much benefit. Have you got a significant number of emails, blog posts or favorite pages that you never access and do not know what they are? Be ruthless–plan to devote a part of each day reading them and deleting them or placing them into a clearly marked folder so that you can see them easily in the future.
Once you are up to date, read every piece of information as you receive it and then either act upon it, file it or delete it–don’t let your computer, your desk or your own mind become clogged up with useless trivia. If you’re unsure of whether to keep something, ask yourself what the worst thing that could happen if you never had access to it again? If you can’t consider anythingget rid of it!
OK, so now you’ve managed to eliminate the elements that you had been wasting your time on, but how do you move forward to the next stage of actually ensuring that your time is spent productively?
Just as you should have planned the future, you want to plan every day. At the end of each day, take five minutes to record the things you will need to do the next day. Then prioritise each item. Ask yourself – will doing so help me achieve my goal? Is this something that I can get someone else to do (delegate)?
The following morning, work through each item in order of priority. Where possible, do the hardest/most unpleasant task first. Once that’s out of the way, the remainder of your day will seem to go quicker and smoother than if you were worrying all day about having to get it done!
During the day learn how to say no to people. Your time is important. Don’t let other people inflict on you and use you to use their time!