Time is your most precious resource, the most valuable thing that you have. It’s perishable, irreplaceable and it cannot be saved. When you look back at your last week, month or year, how are you spending your days? Time management is everything.
Being able to take full control of how you spend your time is going to make or break your overall success. It’s about identifying what’s important and allocating enough time each day working on those important things.
Time is limited, use it wisely
No matter how you slice it, there are only 24 hours in a day. While there are plenty of times I’ve wished for more hours so I could accomplish more, the fact of the matter is you just have to take control of the hours you have and how you’re spending them.
The time you give to sleep, yourself, your work, physical health, and time with others. All of this plays a role into your well being, quality of life, and success in your career. Frankly, we need to make ourselves a balanced pie chart of all the pieces. If I learned anything from playing the SIMs for endless hours of my adolescent days, it’s that.
Of the 5% who become hugely successful in life are those that make sure 95% of their waking hours are spent working on what’s most important to them. The rest of the 95% spend their hours scrolling on social media, binge watching tv, get involved with gossip, and get distracted by shiny objects.
Small steps lead to big goals
You know the phrase fail to plan, plan to fail? It doesn’t only apply to exercise routines and meal prep. Try planning ahead by setting your monthly and weekly goals and turning them into actionable items. This will help you succeed immensely in your long term goals.
The key is instead of writing a daily task list, write out tasks that need to be accomplished in the coming days or week and build a schedule based off of that. You simply can’t write “design a website”. You need to create realistic goals in a step by step process that’s necessary to achieve the result of a designed website.
This would entail researching sites in the same niche, hand sketching wireframes, and brain dumping possible domain names. Log a start time and end time to better understand where your time is going. This will help you focus on one single task at a time which in turn gets you closer to your end result. Meaning, don’t plan your day based on how much you will achieve, but how long you imagined you could spend achieving it. You can even log how much time you spend eating your lunch, to reading this article.
Identify your top priorities
At the top of your plan put the one or two things that you really want to accomplish that day. Then, focus all your time and attention on getting them done. This forces you to focus on the most important thing and get it done.
Whatever time you start your work day, the first four hours are your best working hours. Use your best brain power on the harder more conceptual tasks that are on your schedule. Without this, you’ll find yourself doing random endless items and sooner or later it’s lunchtime and you’re wondering how time escaped you. It escaped you because you didn’t plan ahead.
I always end each day with a plan for tomorrow so when I wake up in the morning I know exactly what I want to achieve from the moment I’m up. By creating your task list the day before, you’ll get to lunch with already completed the heaviest items on your to-do list and now you can spend the rest of your day getting on with the next important things and a great feeling of accomplishment.
Gain more by doing less
When you look at your weekly and monthly goals, what areas are you not the most confident or competent in? Time management is about focusing your resources in the right places. One word: outsource. You don’t have to do everything, and you shouldn’t. There’s a reason why we have specific skills and excel in certain areas. Focus your time on the things that are most important and in your expertise.
Don’t spend hours researching SEO best practices when you can hire help on UpWork. Chances are you’ll find someone niched and fit the bill perfectly. So close those shiny distracting tabs and get back to focusing on the big items that only you can do.
Upwork is like online shopping for the best talent in the world. If you’re an entrepreneur starting a business, please don’t do it all yourself. We know there are millions of courses on udemy and skillshare, but sometimes taking the 2 hours to watch a course, 4 hours to DIY, then 2 hours wondering if you did it right, could have been resolved 9 hours ago, and completed in half of that time.
The real question is, how much does your time cost to you?
Have a healthier mind
Your decision making ability will increase immensely. The thought of not having enough time and pressure to make a quick decision won’t happen again. You’ll feel more calm and in control and instead of rushing through the process, you’ll make the right decision accordingly.
This goes hand in hand with reduced stress. When you don’t feel like you have control over your time it’s easy for us to feel rushed and overwhelmed. If this happens it can be hard to figure out how long it’ll take to complete a task, potentially miss a deadline, and leave us feeling frantic.
Once you learn how to manage your time you’ll no longer subject yourself to that level of stress and have a clearer picture of how to estimate your time. You’ll never feel stressed over a deadline, cause you took the appropriate steps up front, evaluated how much time the task will take and scheduled yourself accordingly.
Make time to enjoy your time
Time management doesn’t mean dedicating every waking hour to your tasks for work. It simply means having control and not letting time escape you. If you enjoy watching tik tok videos, joining in on virtual ecstatic dance, and listening to audio books, then great, make time for it!
You just want to make sure these activities don’t take over your day and pull you away from succeeding in work. Frankly, you have to save time for the bittersweet playful activities of life; bubble baths, a run on the beach, catching up with loved ones, and nights out with friends.
These simpler things in life are just as important, and you’ll find you can appreciate it more when you’re managing your time wisely. As a remote worker or digital nomad, this is the key to success for a location independent lifestyle. Without it, we’d be broke backpackers or straight work-aholics…and what’s the fun in that?
Just remember to end each day with a plan for tomorrow.
Turn time management into habits
We’ve all signed up for the gym after NYE only to fall off the bandwagon two weeks later. It’s important we turn these rules of time management into habits we stick to. Soon, you won’t have to think about managing your time, and you’ll eventually be on autopilot.
Once you’ve been at it for a while you’ll start to see common patterns on when your best working hours are, how to schedule your day, the different styles of workflows that suit you best, and realize the circus you were dancing in before just needed a ring master, you.
Remember that there are always good days and bad days, changing of seasons, moods, workloads and deadlines. Besides the ability to become more successful in your career and overall well being– you’ll find that crafting monthly goals that turn into daily achievements are just part of your everyday life. You’ll wonder why you didn’t start sooner.