Making the most of your time is key to success in business and in life. I remember my school teacher telling me many years ago “The one thing you can never recover is lost time”. Here are 12 practical suggestions to improve your personal productivity and your use of time:
- Start on your most important task before you do anything else. Resist the temptation to start with the easiest task. The hardest part of any important task is getting started on it in the first place. The ability to concentrate on your most important task, to do it well and finish it is essential for high productivity and performance. There is never enough time to do everything but there is always enough time to do the most important thing.
- Be clear about your goals and objectives and keep them always in mind. Set a deadline on your goals.
- Plan each day in advance. Write it down: whether on paper or electronically.
- Invest the time to make lists of what you need to do. Develop a master list, a monthly list, a weekly list and a daily list.
- Prioritise your planned activities. Before you begin working on a list of tasks , take some time to organise them by importance and highlight the tasks that are the most important. The ability to choose between the important and unimportant is a critical success factor in your success in work and in life.
“ we always have enough time if we will but use it aright” Goethe
- Outsource, delegate and eliminate those activities that make little contribution
- Eat an elephant one bite at a time. The more complex jobs can be progressed one step at a time. Each small step forward will energise you.
- Focus on your strengths. Determine what you are good at and concentrate on using these strengths
“What can I do that if done well will make a real difference?” Peter Drucker
- Motivate yourself into action. Focus on the solution rather than the problem. Be your own cheerleader. Overcome feelings of doubt or fear. Keep believing you can do it.
- Create blocks of time during the day where you can concentrate on the most important tasks.
- Develop a sense of urgency. Successful people continually put pressure on themselves to perform at a high level. Become known as a person who does things quickly and well. “Do it now!”
- Practice makes perfect. Practice is key to mastering any skill. Practice these time management principles until they become second nature to you and become habitual.
Take action immediately on one of these time management principles. Review and act on them them regularly.
Adapted from the book by Brian Tracey “Get More of the Important Things Done Today”