Your Time Is Your Life: 6 Tips To Boost Your Productivity and Achieve Success
If you want to manage your life, you need to manage your time. Once it's spent, you can't get it back. Unlike the Bill Murray classic movie Groundhog Day, we only get to live each day once. How do you ensure that you're making the most of each and every precious day?
Here are some of the top time management practices that I've honed over the years. I hope you find them to be as powerful as I have.
1. Schedule your High Priority "To Do's" in your Calendar.
If you don't actually block out the time in your calendar, it won't happen. You need to actually schedule your high priority "To Do's" in your calendar like you do an important meeting or appointment. I'm referring to the action items that came out of your goal setting process, which I describe in this related post.
2. Learn to say "NO."
Nancy Reagan had it right. Decline the invite to that pointless meeting that you really don't have to be at. Don't write that report that no one will read. Don't volunteer for projects that don't fit your goals and are not on your high priority "To Do" list. Grow a backbone. Just say "No."
3. Know your Biorhythms.
Some of us are Early Birds. Some of us are Night Owls. What are you? Tune into your behavior and find the time(s) of the day you are most "ON." To boost your productivity, schedule your high priority "To Do's" in the time frames that you are most awake and energetic.
4. Avoid Distractions.
Don't get sabotaged. Put down that smart phone. Close Facebook, Twitter, and even your email. While you're cranking making progress on your high-priority "To Do's," don't be distracted by zero-priority things that are a major time suck. You need to focus focus focus. Let your assistant and colleagues know that certain hours are for you to address your top priorities and that you do not want to be disturbed during these windows. Be ruthless about it or your day will be wasted dealing with other peoples "To Do's" instead of yours.
5. Stop Multi-Tasking.
Contrary to popular belief, I've found multi-tasking to be inefficient. You know what happens when you try to text and drive. Much better to just focus on what needs to get done and just do that until it gets done. I saw a show on PBS where a neurologist explained that the human brain is wired in a way where it works best when it can just deal with one thing at a time. Along the same vein, try to touch each piece of paper or email once and only once if you can. If it's quick and easy, just deal with it and move on.
6. Reward Yourself.
After you get an important "To Do" scratched off your list, reward yourself with a mini-break. Go for a walk, get a coffee, check the sports scores – whatever helps to clear your head and energize you. Take a moment to savor your accomplishment before you attack that next item on your list.
Most Important of All
If an activity doesn't help move you closer to achieving one of your top life goals, stop and spend your time on things that will. Try to live each day so that when you're lying in bed at night reflecting on the day just passed, you feel that your time was spent on the things that will generate the success and happiness you dream of.
Your time is your life and the greatest gift of all. Treat it like the prized possession it truly is. Spend yours wisely.