Where does the time go? How often do you think that? If often, read on. Time is like money if you don’t have a plan for it, and, if you don’t stay in close touch with where it went, you will run out of it. We all have the same amount of time every day. How you manage it can make the difference in every aspect of your life from your health to your happiness. From your work life to the most important relationship you cherish. From achieving goals to staying stuck for way too long.
Your calendar tells you where you need to be because you have entered every appointment you have in it with your pencil. You need a system that houses your calendar. I use a 7-ring notebook from Franklin-Covey that is in an 8 1/2 x 11 format. In that notebook is my calendar and sections of other key dividers. Dividers such as Meeting Notes, Coaching, Projects in Progress, etc.
I use my Outlook calendar to keep up with meetings I have arranged and it reflects appointments or out of office information of others. But my true one and only calendar is the one in my system. I check my Outlook calendar against my notebook calendar every day and “sync” them. At the end of each month, I review my upcoming appointments in Outlook against my notebook calendar.
Your notebook goes where you go. Never leave your home or office without it.
2. Daily to-do list
Make this life altering list the evening before or the morning of so you can think through what you have to do and what you want to do. Your to-do list is much like your check register. The entries are withdrawals of various amounts of time each and every day. Your list is maintained in your notebook, in your system, so where you are supposed to be and what you need to get done match up.
Now that you have reviewed your calendar and made your to-do list you have to plan the order of things on the list. To the left of each item on your list mark it an A, B, C, or D.
A = must be done by noon
B = must be done by 6 PM
C = must be done by bedtime
D = delegate it to someone else
Next, estimate how long the task will take and write the number of minutes to the right of the task. Now you are building a picture of what and when.
4. Stay in the real world
You can’t get any more time in a day but you can make the most of the time you have by staying in reality about how long things take. Look over your calendar and to-do list again as you plan your day and make the necessary adjustments so you reduce your stress and ensure your priorities and commitments are met. When you prioritize and list the order and the time it takes for each task you will see if you have to adjust the order or even move some tasks to the next day.
Energy is the key to being productive. Watch what you listen to, who you hang out with, what you eat and how much rest you get. If you rely on caffeine for fuel it will become counterproductive. It is an appetite stimulator and gives you a false sense of energy. Protein, water and fruit are excellent sources to maintaining energy. Walk, meditate and feed your mind positive reinforcement. Routinely, look back over your calendar and to do list for habits and disciplines you can delete or add that will increase your energy level.
6. Fun times
You need things to look forward to. Add something fun to your calendar every day. If you enjoy reading, then take a coffee break with your book. If you have someone that makes you laugh make an appointment with them for a ten minute phone catch up. If you enjoy a TV series you never get to watch then once a week watch it on your tablet or laptop for lunch. Make a slide show of photos of your favorite people, put music to it and watch it once a month wishing life’s greatest blessings are bestowed on those you love.
I love living a full life but I want it to be productive and as balanced as possible. If that is what you want then incorporate these six solutions into your life’s savings plan!