Journey to a Happier Life Part 4: Time Management Tools: Focus
This is the fourth posting in a series of six. Prior steps on this journey:
Increasing your personal awareness of your values, life patterns, habits, and fears.
Setting priorities and standards for neglected areas in your life.
Identifying and overcoming your limiting beliefs that keep you stuck.
When you think about time management, what would make you FEEL more efficient or successful? Is it getting more things done in a day, staying on top of important tasks, managing some of the incompletes in your life, allowing yourself some free time to do things you WANT to do, or a little of everything?
I like to think of time management as making the most of the time I have. The best way I know to do that is to focus on what I need to do when I need to be doing it, then save some time for what I want to do and what makes my life richer.
Focus means avoiding doing things that are going to be a waste of time. If I start doing “unnecessary” tasks or activities it will take away from accomplishing what I really need or want to do.
Focus would be the opposite of procrastination or “spinning my wheels.”
Procrastination is avoiding and “spinning” is going about things in a very random or haphazard way.
I like to look at goals from a few different perspectives; things you need to do and things you want to do. Keeping this in mind, you can manage your time and work on the needs and the wants with an equal but separate focus. If we only did things that we needed to do right now we would never work on any short to long-range goals that are important to us.
So here is how I brake out my time to get some of each done.
Daily or weekly tasks get a few hours a day minimum.
If I have a list of tasks I need to do today ready to go, I will use my time more efficiently and get them done. I actually wrote out a list of daily tasks, weekly tasks, and monthly tasks and I can refer to the master list to remind me of the things I like to get done regularly. When I stay on top of this list I can then fit in some time to work on longer-range goals like planning a vacation, writing my book, or doing a major cleaning. I could also fit in an hour of relaxation or time connecting with my family or friends.
Goal Time: Short, Medium and Long-term Goals get a few hours a week minimum
A few 1 or 2-hour blocks of time each week on my goals or even a full-day marathon, will keep them moving forward with progress and I will feel encouraged to continue working on them. I’ve noticed three things that assure I spend time on the goals: having time on the calendar, having the to-do’s done, and having an accountability partner who I report to about my progress. I have several accountability partners depending on the goal. I speak to friends in a group coaching setting 4 times a month and have a personal 1-on-1 coach as well. I also share goals with my husband or friends and we support each other as we make progress.
My book is a good example of a long-range goal, something I’ve been plugging away at for a year. If I asked myself each week, “Do I have time for this?” I probably could come up with 10 things to do ahead of it. But if I think about what it means to me and how important it is, I’m happy to fit in a few hours each week. Otherwise I would never make progress and I’d give up on it. It also keeps it on my mind so that when I see or hear of something that would be a good addition to the book, I put it in my notes.
Managing time is a matter of making choices. Ask yourself, “Is this the best use of my time? Am I focused and ready to tackle the chore? If I get this done now can I enjoy myself a little more when I’m done?”
Set Your Goals
Make a List
Stay Focused- Eliminate unnecessary tasks
Get it Done
This will give you time to enjoy life and accomplish bigger goals.