With most people using just 60 percent or less of their available time, time management has become a serious problem at work. Time moves whether we like it or not. You can’t stop the clock from moving forward — though you may try. And you certainly can’t make it go faster. The clock just ticks and moves ahead.
So, the question remains: Is there a way to be productive in the amount of time you do have in your day?
Yes, I believe you can be productive, and the following can help you make friends with time:
1. Remove self-limiting belief. Many people believe they must work as many hours in the day as possible to be successful. That type of thinking isn’t accurate, and it’s often self-limiting in what you think you can get done in the time allotted to you.
In fact, overwork can lead to difficulties with interpersonal communication and making judgment calls — not to mention, it increases the likelihood of mistakes and losing sight of the bigger picture.
2. Plan your day. It may sound simplistic, but preparation is key to ensuring you utilize all available time effectively. You can either allow the day to escape you by having others directing your day or be intentional by taking command of your day.
Before you even open your inbox, write down what you want to accomplish. Make it measurable (and reasonable, of course). Brendon Burchard sums the idea up perfectly, “Set your agenda each day or the world will do it for you. Don’t decide on your next move on the demands of your inbox but on the directions of your dreams.”
3. Follow through with your plan. Being purposeful in planning your day is only half of the equation. You must also commit to following through with your plan. Direct your day, and be mindful when things don’t go as planned.
For example, don’t schedule a full day of meetings hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute. Rarely will things go exactly as planned. Allow some room in your schedule to provide flexibility in your day. Otherwise, you could find yourself derailed by the slightest of bumps.
4. Look to others for inspiration. Watch how others make use of their time and implement those principles that fit you. One entrepreneur says he plays golf every morning to start his day. This doesn’t fit with my lifestyle — nor does it fit my high handicap for the game. But it might work for you.
Look for ways to manage your time more wisely. I found “15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management” helpful, and you might too. If you’re not up for a book, consider asking a colleague or two what they do to keep themselves on task.
Do you hear the clock clicking in the background? It ticks no matter what you decide to do, and the responsibility is yours to determine whether you direct your day or you let others do it for you.