The past couple of weeks have been a little hectic for me...Can you relate? If only I had time, I would have my desk in order, my email folders set up, my projects prioritized, not too many sticky notes, my meetings arranged, my phone calls answered, my family in check, my workouts all done, my vacations set, my binders organized, my questions asked and answered, my daily tasks accomplished, my friends taken care of, my work done, my life in balance, my house in order, my problem pile finished, my website fixed, my legs shaved, and my mind all clear by bedtime, if there's even time for sleep! If your life feels somewhat chaotic, have no fear, because there is hope for those who understand time, manage time, and take the appropriate actions to free up time!
Time means different things to different people in different circumstances. For instance, I am very slow to get going in the mornings, but after my coffee, I am energized for the rest of the morning, and time flies for me. Then by after lunch, I am very sluggish and feel like the day will never end sometimes. When I work on my business in the evenings, I get a second wind, but feel like I don't have enough time to do everything that needs to be done. In this case, I find it useful to spend money on something that will automate a process for me, such as an article or link directory submitter. However, the more I am learning about doing business online, the more I feel I have to do, and just can't fit it all in. My problem is that I need to relax and realize that I can only do so much. I know that I am working very hard, to the best of my ability and probably beyond, and knowing this helps me remember what's important.
That is a key concept from time management courses: Knowing what the problems are in your planning, and knowing what is really important. Some people don't even start their days or end their days with a plan, but planning can save you hours. If you set priorities and make sure that you are spending your time on those things and not getting distracted by emails, voicemails, meetings, forums, or phone calls, then you are on the right time-management track. Once you know your responsibilities, your goals, your objectives, and your priorities on a daily basis, then you can effectively get things done. If you still feel you have too much, then don't forget to delegate certain tasks to other people, like your colleagues, your kids, or even hire someone to get you organized!
A big problem with managing time is that people aren't organized - their physical work space is a mess, or their house is a mess. This leads to feeling overwhelmed. Someone once told me that if your work space is cluttered then your mind is also cluttered, and it's so true! Get started by cleaning up your mess! Take an afternoon when you're feeling sluggish and go through all your papers, notes, and binders, and you will feel much more energized and motivated to get to work.
Motivation to work is another problem we all face. When we're not motivated, doing something we're not entirely sure how to do, or there's too much to do, then we tend to procrastinate. The best way to eliminate that problem is by knowing what it is we are avoiding and doing those things first to get them out of the way while we are still feeling energetic.
Even when we're stressed for time, some of us will take on too much simply because we have an inability to say "no" to new things coming at us in all directions. We want to impress someone, don't want to look bad, we're friends with someone and don't feel we can let them down, or we are perfectionists and want to over-achieve and get it all done perfectly. These are all things that eat up our time, and force us into a bad pattern of neglecting what is truly important, and forgetting what has to be done immediately and what can wait.
Finally, in planning our days, and weeks, and months, we must never forget our health. Being stressed over lack of time is unhealthy, so we must get enough water, go for a walk, get some fresh air, do something fun, stay focused, and be positive. When we start fresh, with our priorities in place, we will achieve much more, and be more successful both personally and professionally.