Find Hidden Hours In Your Over-Crowded Schedule
– And Get Things Done Effortlessly
What’s the one thing we all have in equal measure – but always want more of?
On the other hand, if you’re constantly struggling to fit your to-do list into a hectic, over-crowded schedule and hope that you had an extra three hours in your day, then you need to master these time management activities right away.
So let’s talk about them.
How To Set Priorities
No matter how efficient you are, there is no way you’ll be able to get everything you dream about done. A favorite time management quote of mine is this – “Ah, but man’s reach must exceed his grasp – or what’s heaven for?”
So, once you accept the reality that everything can’t get done, you need to hunker down to develop a system that ensures that the most important things don’t get missed out.
For that, you must know what things, goals and people take a higher priority than others. Thus your time managing activities begin with setting goals, and then prioritizing them.
There are dozens of ways to go about goal setting. In separate sections of this site, we will explore them in greater detail. But there are a few things in common that the most effective goal setters have:
- their goals are meaningful and purposeful
- their goals are specific and have a deadline
- their goals are measurable and can be tracked
All your goals must fit these 3 criteria if you are to manage your time effectively based on them.
When you know what your desired areas of impact are, you can then rate them on their level of importance. For example, you may crave an ice cream cone today, but also have a complex accounting worksheet to finish. If your priorities are set correctly, and getting the job done will take you closer to your bigger goals, then putting off the ice cream treat for later is an easy choice to make.
Which leads in nicely to the next time management technique…
How To Focus
We live in a world where there’s distraction all around. No matter which way you turn, something or the other clamors for your attention. And because grabbing attention has become critically important to the survival of so many entities – businesses, charities, services, and people – their skills at attracting your interest have grown better.
- Catchy advertisements are designed to draw you to seek more information.
- Sensational headlines are structured to make you stop and read or watch.
- Dramatic deals and discounts are intended to get you to pull out your wallet.
And poor little you is caught up in the middle of all this chaos and clutter, trying to carry on with your work and get things done.
I understand and empathize with you.
But keep this in mind. Others just like you are facing these same distractions – and yet are able to concentrate long enough to get their work done. If they can do it, so can you!
Here are some simple tips and time management activities to enhance your ability to focus:
- align your work with your important goals, so they cannot be ignored
- do only important work, and know that it will take you towards your goals
- plan your work to match your longer term targets
- schedule harder tasks for when you are most energetic, alert and fresh
- take frequent breaks to relieve the tedium of work
- evaluate your progress periodically, and get back on track
There’s a lot more about being able to focus on the biggest tasks, which we’ll get into in other sections of this site (and in the Ming Vase Time Management series of books about “How To Focus“).
How To Get Things Done
Many people find themselves bogged down and frustrated even after adopting some effective time management activities because they run into unexpected road-blocks that keep them from getting things done.
The biggest mistake they make is trying to do it all by themselves.
Accepting more than you can handle, aiming to prove that you can tackle everything on your plate, and stubbornly refusing assistance from better qualified people are errors that will keep you stuck and hold you back from efficient use of your time.
Admit that you have limits. Accept that you are good at some things, while others are better at some. Realize that inter-dependence is a necessary strategy in getting things done.
- Streamline your work flow to get the most done, quickly and efficiently
- Delegate tasks that you do not need to handle personally
- Automate repetitive chores so that they are carried out smoothly
- Organize your processes so that there is minimal waste or friction
These are general principles. They will need to be adapted to fit your unique needs and circumstances. But every industry and household, every individual and group, every organization or entity will find applications of these general principles to their specific activities.
Mastering 3 Time Management Activities
The key to mastering these 3 techniques – goal setting and prioritization, focus and concentration, organization and delegation – is constant intentional practice.
You will not get things right the very first time. It will take repeated attempts to develop a functional system. You will make steady, incremental improvements. You’ll get better, quicker and more efficient over time.
And as you master these three powerful time management activities, you’ll find that you are no longer constantly in search of extra time. In fact, you may discover that there were 3 extra hours lying hidden in your day – and that they are now available for you to enjoy doing something you’ve always wanted to!
Our style of management of time is rooted in balance – finding your center, understanding order, and choosing the right timing to get things done. Time Management Tao is about helping you along this journey. On this site you’ll learn about the best time management activities, including how to:
- Find your center – know WHAT to do
- Understand your order – know HOW to do it
- Pick your timing – know WHO to use & WHEN
You can also receive more free tips about how to save time and gain higher effectiveness by joining our mailing list to get the “Time Taozine”. Just fill in the registration form below.