Monthly Archives: Aug 2013

Personal Time Management…Your Secret Key To Being Effective

A Simple Technique That Ensures You Won’t Waste Time On Trivia, And Focus Only On Essential Activites – That Get Done Fast!

Personal time management is a challenge only because we often under-estimate the amount of time wasted on routine, repetitive and everyday activities. The secret key to unleashing your true time managing potential – and freeing up literally hours every day – is a simple activity that you can start doing right away!

Who has time for personal time management?

Not me. And not you.

I know.

Because that’s precisely what most people I talk to say when we first meet to discuss managing time better!

Does this sound familiar?

Waking up for a morning jog or walk, watering the garden, then off to work. Clocking 8 hours in a cubicle, not counting the commute. Two boring meetings, grab a sandwich for lunch, and then a presentation, before rushing off to a dental appointment.

Picking up groceries on the way home. Cooking dinner. Watching a favorite soap on TV… and guiltily putting off, yet again, that hobby project you thought would be your highest priority when you started it 2 years ago.

That’s kind of like how many people’s daily routine goes, with some variations.

And that’s not counting unscheduled distractions, like searching for a misplaced knife or shoe-horn, spending half an hour on the phone with a talkative friend who can’t stop bragging about his achievements at work, or getting stuck in a traffic jam.

If this looks like a regular day in your life (or if you find yourself wishing for such a “relaxing” schedule), then you’re up against it in a big way. You’ll need some time management skills to help you win back some of these wasted hours and bring more relaxation and higher efficiency into your day.

Tackling all of this while getting stuff done is the real challenge of personal time management.

The Big Questions in Personal Time Management

Before setting out to re-organize your system or plan a revolutionary shift in your schedule, ask yourself these big questions:

  • Are you a procrastinator by nature? Do you keep putting things off for later?
  • Are you caught up in the thick of thin things? Is most of your time spent on unimportant issues?
  • Are you unrealistic in planning your schedule? Do you bite off more than you can chew?

If you answered ‘Yes’ to any (or all) of these questions, then you are not alone. Personal time management is a choice, one that must match your desired lifestyle and bring more harmony and peace into your daily routine. By consistently working at the core issues causing your stress and hectic work pattern, you’ll soon be well on your way to getting back those wasted hours.

The Secret Key To Efficiency

Time management and motivation go hand in hand. Analysis is the key to mastering your time. Most people don’t know where they are going wrong. The first step is to take stock of what you’re doing, and how long it takes.

Here’s a short, simple exercise. Try and estimate how much time it will take you to do the following things:

  • have a cup of coffee (or tea)
  • hold a meeting with your team
  • prepare a presentation
  • draft a letter (to a customer or partner)
  • read and respond to email
  • go through a 1-page letter

If none of these are things you do regularly, feel free to add any of your frequent tasks to the list.

After writing down your answers, take the next step. Pick 3 of the activities above (ones you do often, and repeatedly). Get a stop watch or timer. Time yourself as you go through these activities. Try and avoid speeding up – just work normally.

Now compare these measurements with the estimates you made earlier.

Surprised?

Many people I’ve given this exercise end up stunned at how much longer the actions take when contrasted to their expectations.

And that, more than anything I can say, will convince you that it is worth taking the time and effort to analyze the way you use your personal time.

Keep a Time Log

For one full week, keep a log of how you spend your time. It doesn’t have to be very precise or accurate to the minute. Just jot down the activity, and the amount of time it took you to complete. Write it down yourself, or get someone (a secretary?) to help.

After one week or record keeping, analyze your data. See which tasks are repetitive, and which ones take the most time. Ask yourself if the most time-consuming activities are actually the ones that are taking you closer to your biggest goals and targets.

If they are, then figure out if there is a more efficient way to get them done – or if they can be delegated to others. If they are not, find out if they can be eliminated completely from your task list.

Your time log reveals a lot about your work habits and your ability to manage time. By constantly repeating this process, you will steadily improve your skills at personal time management – and get far better results than someone who is limited to drawing up a to-do list!

Improve Quality of Your Personal Time

There’s a lot more you can do to improve your time management skills. Explore other sections of Time Management Tao – like the section on online time management and personal time management software – to learn about improving your effectiveness and eliminating anxiety from your life by following the stress-free path towards beating procrastination and getting things done.

If staying focused on your big goals and important tasks is your biggest personal time management challenge, then you may find this simple guide on How To Focus of great value – it’s the most popular one in the Ming Vase Time Management series of books.

You may also want to sign up to our free “Time Taozine” weekly newsletter by filling in the registration form below. We will send you updates and information about improving your effectiveness and time managing skills.

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What Is Time Management?

Introducing The Forgotten Secrets of Squeezing 27 Hours Worth of Effectiveness From Your 24-Hour Day – And Getting Things Done!


Learn what is time management. Master 3 simple but powerful principles that will help you manage time effectively, balance all important elements in your life, and avoid stress while getting more done. Discover the formula for managing your time well. And get things done.

“I really, REALLY need 27 hours in a day!” cried my friend Michelle.

We were catching up after a while, and discussing events in our lives. Curious about her comment, I asked:

“Why do you need 3 extra hours every day?”

“Well, that’s the only way I can get everything on my to-do list done!”

And right there is the crux of the problem with time management that we all sink into – a quagmire from which it’s practically impossible to emerge, because the harder we struggle, the deeper we sink!

It’s not our fault. We’ve been taught too well. Indoctrinated, even.

  • Make lists of things to do.
  • Get to work on doing them.
  • Don’t take a break until you’re finished.
  • Put what doesn’t get done on tomorrow’s list.
  • Rinse and repeat.

That’s your formula… for disaster!

27 hours in your day won’t cut it. Not even 30. Because in the timeless words of management expert Peter Parkinson, “Work expands to fill the time available to do it!”

Can you get ahead by running faster on a treadmill or hamster wheel?

Nope.

To move forwards, you must first HOP OFF! And understand what is time management.

The Art of Managing Time

 

So, what is time management?

Time management isn’t some esoteric, mystic dark art that only others can master. Every single person on the face of this planet has the same 24 hours in their day that you and I have. Yet not everyone makes the same use of those precious seconds and minutes.

Time management is an art. But a learned art. A practiced skill. An improving process.

A successful time manager must identify the right things to do, focus on them exclusively, and get them done.

You’ll hear me refer to this often – because it’s at the heart of effective time management. The most effective people in the world have mastered just three simple principles about running their lives in accordance with their highest purpose.

What are the three powerful principles?

1. Identify what to do.

2. Focus on it exclusively.

3. Get it done.

Let’s discuss each of them in more detail.

Identify what to do.

As I explained to my friend Michelle, there is no good reason to get everything on her to-do list done – and every reason on earth to focus exclusively on only the most important things.

Managing your time means judicious allocation of a precious, limited resource to the areas which most deserve it. That means you’ll have to make choices.

  • Some things will have to go.
  • Others will have to be put off.
  • And only the most important ones must get done – now.

Finding out what is most important (and not just most ‘urgent’) takes some soul-searching, analysis and thinking about YOUR goals and priorities. My important tasks may be your trivia – and vice versa. Remember – ‘important’ is a personal perception. What matters is what’s important… to you.

“The most important thing is remembering the most important thing” – Zen saying

Focus on it exclusively.

Once you have zeroed in on the most important things to do, it stands to reason that everything else is a distraction – and should be tuned out.

Realizing that truth is your biggest asset in staying focused on the most important tasks, keeping your eye on the goal, and not getting side-tracked by every shiny new thing that keeps demanding your attention.

  • When a surgeon operates, his universe is limited to the patient.
  • When a painter draws, her canvas has her complete attention.
  • When a sprinter runs, his focus is 100% on the race track.

Whatever it is that ranks among your most important tasks, it deserves such undiluted concentration and focus. (You’ll learn more about this in our Ming Vase Time Management book, How To Focus)

“Continue eliminating until you come to action without striving” – Lao Tzu
Get it done.

Easy to say. Harder to achieve.

We all know of the pain and frustration, disappointment and disgust, at promises left unfulfilled, projects abandoned half-way through, dreams still idling on the back-burner.

And all the while, we’re engaged in “busy work”.

That stuff just keeps piling on our plate, cluttering up our inbox, demanding our immediate attention all day long. Until we’re too tired to get to work on the things that really matter!

That’s a shame. And what is time management if not the steps you’ll take to change that around – so that you get the important work done first!

  • No, you don’t have to work longer hours or harder than before.
  • No, you won’t be stressed and strained to your limits – and beyond.
  • No, you can’t squeeze extra hours into your day by cutting other things out.

You’ll get things done in other ways. By delegating work to others. By streamlining your work-flow and automating processes. By being more organized. And by beating procrastination.

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished” – Lao Tzu
 

So, What is Time Management?

Managing time is a combination of art, skill and practice. It is mandatory to master this in a world that’s rushing by at warp speed – and gathering momentum with every passing day.

We might long for the good old days of the horse-and-cart, but must adapt to a present where 0-to-60 m.p.h. in 3 seconds flat is the norm.

‘Speed’ is today’s mantra. ‘Overload’ is the future’s direction. ‘Manage’ should be your watchword.

Let Time Management Tao be your guide. With the aid of simple tutorials, graded exercises, and a straightforward approach, you will soon be able to manage time, reduce stress and enjoy the peaceful joy of success as you cope with things that overwhelmed and frustrated you in the past.

We believe that time is precious – and so are other important elements of your life, like health, relationships and money.

We view these critical components of life as delicate (and very expensive) Ming vases that we juggle constantly, and cannot afford to drop.

We teach a way and style of management of time that is rooted in balance – finding your center, understanding order, and choosing the right timing to get things done.

You can explore sections on this website and learn about how to:

And to learn more about what is time management, be sure to sign up and receive updates via our ‘Time Taozine’ email newsletter – for free!

See the sign up form below?

If you type your name and email address into the box and click ‘Submit’ you will be added to the weekly digital magazine and receive the sequence of free time management tips that’s my way of saying ‘Thank You’ for trusting me with your email address. (We have a strict ‘No Spam’ policy and will never rent or sell your details.)

Explore Related Articles

Time Management Methods That Work
Time management methods vary in nature and scope, but many are really effective and will gain you extra hours, beat frustration and remove stress.

 

Time Management Tao

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Getting Things Done And The Art Of Delegation

 

How To Master Stress Free Productivity, Overcome Procrastination, Reach Your Targets And Grow More Effective – Quickly, Easily, Effortlessly

Getting things done is the eventual target of the Time Management Tao approach that’s rooted in intelligent goal setting and learning to prioritize tasks in your day planner.

The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

(The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry, leaving us nothing but grief and pain, for promised joy!)

Most time management plans go off the rails because they remain as just concepts and dreams. You must translate them into getting things done. Otherwise you will never enjoy the riches and benefits that come from optimally using the abundance of time available to all of us – to get every important task done.

Hand in hand with your focus on getting things done should come the realization that nobody can tackle everything that’s necessary all by ourselves. We need help. We need to hand over some tasks. We must delegate.

Delegation is simple and easy – but hard to learn initially. At the heart of this difficulty lies our own unwillingness to let go. The Tao way of managing time makes it easier to release our ownership of tasks, and allow responsibility for taking action devolve naturally to those most capable of handling them.

So, at this point, you have set the right goals by learning what matters most – to you. You have understood the order of things, and mastered the way to prioritize items on your day planner. All that’s left is to get things done. That’s what we’ll focus on next.

Get Specific

Ambiguity creates confusion. It leads to delays. It wastes precious time. So you must get very specific.

Each morning when you begin work, you must know precisely what targets you are aiming to reach before the day ends. Because you already have the ‘big picture’ clearly in mind, these tasks and activities will naturally be aligned with it. This way, you will always be working on important things.

Draw Up Your Schedule

This is pretty standard time management advice. What’s different with the Tao style of doing it is how you avoid the temptation to over-schedule. You only pick items that match your goals, that align with your bigger targets, that can be comfortably fitted into your day… and ignore all the rest!

Decide Your Order

As you understand the order of things, you’ll find it easy to slot each activity on your day planner into the appropriate order – which allows you to get it done without stress or worry about being able to complete your list. You’ll learn about the different systems and tools available to help with getting things done in the Ming Vase Time Management series of guides.

Get Started

Procrastination is a common enemy that time managers must conquer for getting things done. The reason you tend to put things off is because you don’t always clearly see how it fits your purpose, and so you don’t feel a keen desire to get things done.

The solution is to ask yourself if the task you’re delaying really matters – and if it does, reminding yourself about the purpose served by getting it done. That should kickstart your efforts and help you beat procrastination.

Guard Against Overload

The stress attached to conventional time management is often linked to having too much on your list of things to do. You get overwhelmed. You struggle to find your balance. You waste time trying to prioritize.

With the Taoist approach, you sidestep the issue completely. Focus on a single task, ignoring the others – until you get it done. Then move to the next. Because every task on your list is important, you aren’t wasting any time at all.

Handle Interruptions

Interruptions are unavoidable. The key is to keep them from upsetting you or derailing your schedule. While external measures like locking your door, turning off the phone, or having an assistant screen callers may work to an extent, they kill spontaneity and lower your enjoyment.

The Taoist approach is to get your thoughts and flow back quickly after any interruption, so that you weave these random, fun events into the overall fabric of your important work… without sacrificing either.

Smart Delegation

Traditional training about delegation is to hand over tasks to the person(s) best capable to handle them. Sometimes, though, this approach can leave you unhappy or even angry.

Why?

Because, apart from skill and expertise, there’s a ‘fun factor’ at play – and for that reason, you might want to personally handle a task that’s more efficient to hand over to someone else. Time Taoists listen to their heart to decide whether or not to take on extra responsibilities. This avoids over-commitment, and ensures that you are working only on things you enjoy most.

Saying ‘No’

Over-commitment is another pitfall to steer clear of. Learn to say ‘No’ more often. It becomes easier once you clearly visualize your biggest goals, and can see whether or not a particular job, project or activity will lead you closer to it – or not.

Achieve Balance and Harmony

Where the Taoist style scores over all other approaches to getting things done is in achieving harmony through adjusting to others.

Even as you are working on your highest priorities, you are avoiding over-loading your plate with other people’s demands and requests. This avoids stress, doesn’t let down people who depend on you, and conditions others to not dump extra work upon you. This leads to greater balance and more harmony in your relationships with colleagues, co-workers, family and friends.

Mastering Time Management Tao

The three core tenets of Time Management Tao are simple, even embarrassingly so. All you have to do is:

We have broadly discussed each of these elements. But you probably want more detail. Maybe you’d like a road map or a blueprint that outlines each approach in greater depth.

That’s the reason why we have published a series of guides under the Ming Vase Time Management label. You’ll find short, focused reports and ebooklets that guide you through the nuances and finer points of each of these 3 concepts.

And if you sign up to our free weekly “Time Taozine” email newsletter by filling in the registration form below, you’ll receive more tips and secrets for managing your time better, getting things done and delegating tasks intelligently.

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Prioritize Day Planner

 

How To Understand Your Order & Know HOW To Do It – So That You’ll Be More Effective, Not Just Efficient

Learning how to prioritize your tasks using a day planner is the most important element of time management after you master the first rule of effective goal setting – knowing what to do.

 

 

There is an inevitable order to Nature. Whether you like it or not, that order must be followed and obeyed.

  • You cannot construct the second and third floors of a building without laying a foundation and finishing the ground floor.
  • You cannot reap a rich harvest without first planting the seed and nurturing the sapling.
  • You cannot run and jump before learning how to sit, stand and then walk.

 

By knowing the order of things, and respecting the sequence to be followed, you will accomplish more with less effort, and in a shorter time span than if you’re always mindlessly busy and driven by the urge to greater efficiency. Prioritize your day planner to save hours of precious time.

That is an essential difference between the Time Management Tao approach and conventional thinking about how to manage time. It is grounded in a concept called Zugwang and Wuwei.

What Are Zugwang and Wuwei?

Zugwang is a technical chess term which means (in German) “the obligation to move”. In chess, when it is your turn to play, you cannot choose to pass. You must move one piece – even if it means you have no good moves, and even if any move you make will be worse than doing nothing!

But Life is not like that. You are never forced to make a move. Zug is optional. If it is better to do nothing, then you don’t have to act.

Wuwei, in Chinese, means ‘doing nothing’.

There’s an art to Wuwei that has a deep impact on your style of time management. Wuwei doesn’t mean total inaction. It means that you understand the order of things, and then act according to it. It means you practice inaction for all the superfluous or irrelevant things that typically crowd and clutter your day.

In the Tao style of goal setting, you learned how to find your center and identify what things you must get done. By now striving to understand the order in which they must be done, you free yourself to focus exclusively on the right things – without wasting precious time, effort and resources on other stuff.

Wuwei makes you incredibly powerful. Like water dripping constantly on a boulder will eventually wear down and break the rock, your relentless persistence on the most relevant tasks will bear fruit over time.

How To Achieve More Without Doing More

Here is an interesting story, with a powerful moral.

A man was gardening. He planted some bamboo shoots. Watered them daily. Watched them grow slowly.

He was in a hurry, this young man. And soon, he became impatient. He wanted his garden to grow faster. One morning, he came up with an idea.

He pulled each of his plants out of the soil by an inch!

All day long, he was happy because they now looked as if they had grown bigger. But by evening, all of them wilted. In a few more days, all the plants had died.

There’s a time management lesson in this story. Interfering does not help.

When you have done the work, it is important to stand back – and do nothing. That’s what Wuwei means. Getting out of the way. Letting events unfold, efforts take root, processes mature and ripen.

This simple concept in managing time is easy to understand – but difficult to adopt and embrace. We worry a lot. Often about the wrong things. We are tempted to intervene, without first considering if action is really productive.

Understanding the order of things and acquiring fine judgment about the impact of our intervention can help you become more effective – while saving time and working less.

 

Get Your Timing Right

Good timing is critical to time management. And it is also linked to the order of things. As a practical example, it is wasteful to water your garden soon after a heavy rain, or light a candle when it is bright daylight.

So before rushing to act, take time to plan your work, and think about your timing.

Effective time management begins from the very first step you take. Since you’ve already learned how to know your center and discover the important actions to focus upon, you must now ask yourself if the time is right to do it. If it is, act swiftly and with purpose. If not, wait until it is.

Being Still

For perfect harmony, you must strike a balance between two things:

  • the urge to act
  • the need to wait

Stillness and action are two sides of the same coin. By learning how to slow down and take stock, you’ll gain unique perspective into your priorities… and that will make you infinitely more effective and productive.

When you consciously slow down and pause to think about what you are doing, you’ll expand your awareness, grow more calm, lower expectations, and make wise decisions. Then, you can set about implementing those decisions efficiently.

Prioritize With Your Day Planner

Your day is divided into sections, each with its own specific activities. Many of these sections are scheduled into your day planner, with some flexibility built into them. Others are random and unplanned.

It is more important to get into the habit of completing all tasks that you have listed in your day planner than to rigidly adhere to an externally imposed schedule. At the same time, a totally unplanned day can lead to imbalance and work related stress, laziness and lack of productivity.

You can solve this problem when you prioritize tasks before adding them to your day planner.

 

 

A Simple Guide to Prioritize Work

The easiest way to prioritize a task on your to do list is by:

  • how much time you have available for it
  • how important it is to your goals
  • how serious are the consequences of not doing it

But beware of pitfalls in going down this route. When you make profitability the yardstick by which you measure or prioritize all your work, you may become more efficient – yet end up dissatisfied, frustrated and unhappy.

It is difficult to put something last on your day planner (or even keep it off) when others depend upon you, or when the task itself is critical for a major project. The Tao way of managing time, however, is to evaluate work in the bigger context of your higher purpose, and prioritize it accordingly.

When you face conflict or difficulty in setting a priority for your tasks, you must rely upon some time management tools for help. Let’s discuss a few of them.

Paired Comparison Analysis – This helps with decisions involving unclear or subjective criteria. You start by picking the first two items on your list, and deciding which one is more important. Then you repeat the exercise with the next item on your list, working your way down it to identify the highest priority tasks.

Grid Analysis – It is a method helpful for choices involving multiple factors. An Action Priority Matrix can help you diagrammatically plot the value of each task against the time and effort it will take, to quickly spot the highest efficiency items to focus on first.

Urgent/Important Matrix – This groups tasks by their relative urgency and importance. The danger lies in misinterpreting urgent tasks as being important.

Ansoff and Boston matrices – These are of some help in providing “rule of thumb” guides to setting your priorities.

Use Your Day Planner To Organize

Once you successfully prioritize the activities you must focus on, use your day planner to schedule them into your working hours. Research has clearly shown that tasks that are not assigned a particular time frame and duration are the ones that tend to get postponed, or prolonged beyond reasonable limits. This means you cannot get your to-do list completed, which causes stress, anxiety and frustration.

All this can be avoided if you just:

  • create your to do list in a day planner
  • assign each task a particular time slot in your day
  • set an estimated duration for completing it
  • discipline yourself to stick to this schedule

By now, you are well and truly along the path to mastering Time Management Tao.

  • You know how to set goals that are meaningful and let you fulfill your purpose.
  • You are aware of the order of things, and realize the secret of getting more done without having to do more when you prioritize your day planner.
  • There’s just one last thing left – and that’s actually getting things done. We’ll discuss it in the next section.
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Turn Goal Setting On Its Head

How To Find Your Center, Know What To Do, & Learn Time Management Techniques To Get It Done

 

Ask Sarah Randall about goal setting for time management and she grins knowingly.

Ten years in ‘the rat race’ had left her weary and battered, stressed out and care-worn, disillusioned and bitter.

And then, she went on a magical vacation.
Sarah visited Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and finally India. Along the way, she rested and relaxed, learned about a mystical way of interpreting time, and rediscovered her passion, enthusiasm and purpose.

This is the story of how it happened.

Time Management Tao

A Different Way Of Looking At Time

“The Tao never strives, yet nothing is left undone.”
– Lao Tsu

We often think about time management as a ‘paint by the numbers’ game. You draw up lists of 3, 5 or 10 things to do. You assign a time limit to each. You go at the list like an archer at a shooting gallery, firing away with focus at a target.

Bang! Bang! Bang!

One after another, you chalk off completed tasks – until the list is done.

Except, it never is finished!

New stuff sneaks into your list. Others dump their chores on you. Emergencies and rush-jobs crop up. And before you know it, you’ve been working all day long without getting your ‘to do’ list done.

That’s frustrating. Saddening. Stressful.

“Where did all my time go?” you wonder, anguished at how quickly the day sped past, leaving you almost exactly where you started. “I need more time. A few extra hours in my day!”

That’s how Sarah felt – until she learned to interpret time differently. You can learn it too.

Time Management Tao – The New Approach

It begins with a slight, subtle shift in your perspective of time and goal setting. Let’s talk about it, starting with 3 simple questions:

  • Is What You Do Fun?
  • How Do You Feel While You’re Doing It?
  • Are You Living Your True Purpose?

The answers to these apparently simple questions holds the seed for your new appreciation of time, and a powerful paradigm to help you manage it more effectively.

Time Management Quote

Are You Having Fun?

Now, many people think of fun as being only carefree, frivolous play.

Rarely do we think of our job or work as being fun. But the very best time managers, the really successful folks, those who squeeze the most joy out of life, are the people who have fun all the time, in everything they do.

That’s not really surprising, because whenever you’re having fun, you want to keep on going. You’re in the flow. You aren’t stressed or worried or anxious. Things just keep humming along smoothly.

Okay, I know what you’re about to say. Your job is so serious, important and critical that you can’t have fun!

But fun isn’t being careless or unthinking. Fun is the enjoyment you feel while doing something, the sense of fulfilment when you’ve successfully completed it. And any kind of work can be fun. Yes, even deadly serious, mission-critical and hyper-complex jobs.

The trick, then, is to find the type of work that’s funfor you!

When you look back later, after you’ve finished doing something, you should have a sense of well-being, a deep satisfaction that you’ve done what matters. This applies to your job, your hobbies, your duties, your responsibilities – everything.

The trite goal setting cliche is true. When you find what you love, you won’t work another day in your life… because you’ll be having such fun, it won’t seem like work!

Which brings us to the next question.

 

How Does Work Feel?

“Happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness.” – Chuang-Tzu

Pause for a moment to ask yourself how you feel about what you do. Your exact role or job title isn’t important. Whether you’re a home-maker or a CEO, a brain surgeon or garbage collector, a teacher or a carpenter, your work makes you feel a certain way.

  • Do you feel happy about what you’re doing?
    Or does your job leave you feeling frustrated and dissatisfied?
  • Are you energized and enthusiastic as you progress through your projects?
    Or is there a sense of being bogged down in worthless, time-wasting activity?
  • Are you proud, feel that you’ve accomplished something?
    Or are you merely taking orders, clocking time, to collect a pay check?

 

After answering these questions, consider another perspective.

How well suited are you for the work you do?
We each have a unique bio-rhythm and inner clock. Our energy levels and ability to focus and concentrate wax and wane over the course of the day. Whenever your own cycle is matched optimally to the type of work you do, you’ll find everything feels easier, more enjoyable, and fun.

If you’re an early-morning person, scheduling your toughest tasks and intricate projects as the first activities of your day heightens your productivity. But if you’re a late-bloomer, that routine may leave you exhausted and upset.

Doing the work you like and enjoy, on a schedule that matches your own internal clock, can turn time management and goal setting into an easy, effortless exercise.

But it depends on one more thing.

 

What Is Your Purpose?

Conventional time management teaches goal setting from a certain standpoint. It forces you to set targets and define milestones along the path to reaching it. That approach is excellent to manage projects – but not as effective when it comes to managing something infinitely more complex… your life.

We are spiritual beings housed in a physical form. Sure, we need to sustain and care for that form, through earning a living to meet our basic needs. But unless you are desperately poor or fighting for survival, that alone won’t keep you going for long.

You need more to fulfil your existence. To excite your senses. To challenge your potential. To push you to your limits.

You need a deeper purpose.
Once you clearly identify your purpose, and work towards achieving it in your daily routine, time takes on a different dimension. You’ll discover that there is always abundant time available to get things done. You’ll be more efficient, more focused and more productive – because you’re now working with purpose.

And that, in essence, is what the Time Management Tao approach is rooted in.

Finding Your Center & Knowing WHAT To Do

Time Management Skills

The Stark Contrast With Traditional Time ManagementOpen any book or guide on goal setting or time management and you’ll start with a section about getting better organized. Or making effective lists. Or logging the way you currently spend your time, to identify areas of waste for potential improvement.

That paradigm is broken!

Because it is a formula for higher efficiency, NOT EFFECTIVENESS.

You can become super-efficient at doing the wrong things. It won’t make you happier. It won’t leave you less frustrated. It won’t save you much time.

The biggest problem with adopting the age-old method of managing time by creating your to-do list to work on is that you have no training on what to put on your list.

You end up drawing up a list that’s too long. Or allowing other people to dump their tasks on your list. Or cluttering it up with trivia yourself.

Like a dog chasing it’s own tail, you then end up seeking ways and means to be more efficient at getting those tasks done – without addressing what’s at the root of the problem…

You Don’t Know WHAT To Do
Time Management Tao BEGINS with that core issue. It helps you find your center. Identify what matters most to you. Prioritize it higher than anything else.

Only later do we embark on the next steps, and learn how to

  • Understand your order – know HOW to do it, and
  • Pick your timing – know WHO to use & WHEN

 

Turn Goal Setting On Its Head

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” – Lao Tzu

Knowing how to set goals is at the heart of effective time management. But goal setting doesn’t have to be formulaic. It is true that most goals fit into 4 broad classes:

  • Financial
  • Health
  • Relationship
  • Spiritual

But within these broad categories, there are thousands of nuances which make your goals distinct from mine, and anyone else’s. The Tao approach to managing time begins by turning goal setting over on its head, and putting YOUR priorities at the top of your list of things to get done.

The Ming Vase Time Management guide about Goal Setting will go deeper into the specific steps you can follow to find out what things are more fun to you, how your energy levels peak and fall, and what your true purpose is – so that you can formulate a set of goals to align with them, making time management effortless and fun.

The way of the Tao is frictionless and stress-free. It leads to a path of harmony and balance. Everything happens in its own time and pace.

  • You’ll learn how to become a facilitator, observer and participant, all at once.
  • You’ll discover the rare joy of working with time, instead of against the clock.
  • You’ll find out why there’s always an abundance of time available for doing what needs to be done.

… if only you cut out the clutter and zero in on what is meaningful.

That’s what Time Management Tao will teach you about goal setting.

Next, before going on to the final tenet of the Tao style of managing time – getting things done – let’s explore the important issues of delegation, maintaining a day planner, and talk about how to prioritize.

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