Everyone is busy these days.
Literally no one ever has enough time in the day to get everything done they want or need to. And it seems that in today’s business world, the list of things to do and consider is continually growing. I am sure you have a long list of things that you continually try and get to “catch-up”, but just can’t seem to get to them. Your not alone.
Here is the truth – you are never going to catch-up with everything you need to do. It doesn’t matter how much more productive you become, or how many more hours you put in, you will never get on top of everything.
But successful people seem to be able to achieve incredible results while working similar hours to other people. How do they achieve this?
Well the answer is quite simple – they have more self-discipline. Managing your time for maximum benefit is a life-long challenge.
Here’s some good news though – while time management takes a lot of self-discipline to master, but the pay-off is huge. In fact time management and self discipline are the keys to success in life and business.
Here is what we know – the best approach to managing your time is to decide which things are the most important to your life and your business, and allocate your time to those areas as a priority. If you finish those tasks, then (and only then) do you spend any time that is left over on other priorities.
The key decision you make every day is how you decide to allocate your time – this will determine your overall level of success. If you decide to allocate your time to tasks that are easy and don’t create a meaningful value to your life or business, you will not move forward and enjoy a high degree of success.
If you take the hard decisions and allocate your time each day, over a sustained period, to the key tasks that will deliver important results, your level of success will increase accordingly. And even better, if you delegate those tasks that can be done by others, your level of success will increase even more through the power of leverage.
Here are the 3 golden rules for time management:
- Always plan your day – complete a to do list before you start each day and PRIORITISE your tasks. Click on this link to see the tool I use to plan my day and prioritise my tasks http://www.cfoadvisory.com.au/free-resources
- Always complete the most important task that will help you reach your goals the quickest first – don’t get distracted by calls or people – stay on this task until it is done! If need be lock yourself away between 8 and 10am each day to complete your most important task
- Never double handle a task – that is – never start a task then put it down or defer completing it because you have been distracted by something else. This results in nothing being completed and decreases your efficiency on average by 30% alone
Do these 3 things and you will achieve more in the next 90 days in your business than you have achieved in the last 1-2 years.
These 3 rules are not new – they have been around for centuries. However It takes a lot of self-discipline to apply all 3 at once – but if you resolve to have the self-discipline to do it for the next 90 days will be amazed at the results in your business and life. I challenge you to make the commitment to do this for 90 days.
I also suggest you read Brian Tracy’s time management classic ebook “Eat that Frog”, which you will find at www.cfoadvisory.com.au/free-resources. You will need to enter your name and email address to get access to my Free Stuff webpage. In my opinion this is the best time management book/system yet documented. Please click on the link to access it in ebook form.
How to combine time management with goal setting to improve your results even more
You can significantly improve the results you get from implementing a proven time management system by documenting your goals.
In other words, bring together a clear roadmap of what you want and a system that maximises the use of your time to achieve it. Click on my Goal setting template at www.cfoadvisory.com.au/free-resources to find out why goal setting is so important to success.
Managing time is a process which starts with clear written goals of what you want to achieve within a time frame. Then you systematically work back from the goal to allocating appropriate time to perform all the steps required to achieve the goal, and you make daily times in this context.
In my experience many people have vague goals in their head (not written) and there is little correlation between their day to day schedule and achieving their goals.
Scheduling requires great focus and discipline which is why many people do not regularly achieve their goals until they hire a coach/consultant [http://www.cfoadvisory.com.au/strategic-business-coaching] to keep them accountable to this process.
Here are some great goal setting habits to adopt:
- Write down some clear markers about where you would like to be in 10, 5 and 3 years just so you know you are heading in the right direction.
- Make your 1 year goals as clear as possible.
- Get yourself a one-year planner and divide the year into 4 x 90 days periods.
- Each 90 days set aside an afternoon to write out the steps necessary to achieve your top 4 – 8 main objectives for the next 90 days. Then schedule in blocks of time to work on those objectives in your diary leaving plenty of margins for life to happen.
- At the end of each 30 days take an hour to monitor progress and schedule the next 30 days in more detail
- At the end of each 7 days take 30 minutes to schedule the next 7 days
- At the end of each day take 15 minutes to schedule the next day.
The person who develops an integrated system to organise their life towards clear goals will always outperform the 97% of people on the planet.
This is huge! It is the difference between dreams becoming reality or just fading away. It is the difference between wealth and poverty. It is the difference between fulfilment and frustration. It is one of the primary keys to making life work.
Here are 4 guiding principles that you should follow:
- Know what you want. You need to know where you are headed; what you want to achieve. This will guide your thinking and planning. The problem is many people do not know what they want. So there is little passion or heart to set priorities, make decisions and plan ahead. They are easily distracted. Passionate people will always rule the room, the marketplace, even the world. Passion is the fuel that drives you to make things happen.
- Your organizational system needs to actually work! This may seem obvious but I have discovered that many people don’t actually measure or test the ways they do things. They just keep doing what they have always done and if it doesn’t work they either put in more effort or give up. We humans are such creatures of habit that it is actually quite difficult for us to change especially on our own. We need help to break habits and retrain ourselves in new more productive ways. The new will feel uncomfortable for a few weeks but it really is possible to make major changes in our daily habits over about 6 weeks.
- Make sure your organizational system covers your whole life. There is nothing more fragmenting and self-sabotaging than being organized at work but not at home. Or having one diary for home and another for other parts of your life. Schedule everything in one organizational system (e.g. iPhone). And now with cloud technology you can link all your computer diaries effortlessly into one place and share it with whomever you want as well.
Make yourself accountable to someone you respect. This is the crunch point that is usually avoided. You will become so much more focused, disciplined and productive if you know you have to give an account to someone at least once a month. This is where a mentor, coach or trusted colleague can be a great asset in our lives.