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Time Management begins with Inspired Actions



“Don’t count every hour in the day, make every hour in the day count.”

Throughout the course of history mankind has sought to develop new ways to record, track and make better use of time. From the invention of the sundial to the introduction of the modern calendar, the need to responsibly understand and manage time has been a concern to individuals, both in their professional and personal lives, for thousands of years.

Modern methods of time management incorporate various ways of recording time, to help an individual identify barriers to the effective use of time. Long and short term goal setting is encouraged. The term time management also applies to any number of methods which may be employed to help an individual organize and prioritize the goals to be accomplished.

I often wonder if I manage time or if it is managing me.  I am not sure how you would really know.  I have said in the past… “time un-management” time is really passing us by regardless of what we are doing….

 

3 Simple Tools

There are no hard and fast rules about what tools you must own, if you are going to embark on a mission to improve your time management skills. The following simple tools, however, are inexpensive, and can help make the process of tracking, planning and organizing your time easier and less burdensome.

Time Monitor Journal: This resource comes in both the digital and traditional varieties. It is useful in helping you to monitor and record your own use of time, in order to identify key areas for change. I like to recommend a person use this process for a week or two consistently; I believe that most people don’t really have a clue as to what they are spending their time on.

Sure you know that you spend time getting the kids ready for bed and then watching TV, but how much?

Planner– Available in digital and traditional formats, planners are wonderful for recording goals, making notes, keeping track of appointments and more. A planner is a must have to help you stay organized and on target, when working toward your goals.

There are many different kinds of planner, from spreadsheets to simple post it notes, you need to experiment to discover what works for you.  You might have to try several different to find the perfect one for you, but it is worth the effort when you it works well for you.

Organizer– These can be useful for planning a specific project, or managing a number of projects all at the same time. Digital and traditional versions of project organizers are available that can help you stay on top of the job.

I actually like using an online tool for my organization, this allows me to access it from any place that has an internet connection, allows me to access from my computer, iPhone or iPad with ease.

 

Identifying Obstacles

When you first begin to undertake a time management program it is beneficial to record your daily activities for one week or two as I mentioned above. One option for doing this is to keep a journal or notebook with you throughout the day, for the period during which you will be doing the recording.

You can create a simple Time Monitor Journal by using both the front and back of a plain sheet of paper in your journal draw 12 rectangles, several inches wide. (You will have 6 on each side.) Each rectangle will represent an hour of time, in a typical 12 hour day. Label each rectangle with hour increments, such as 700 to 800 am for the first, 900 to 1000 am for the second, and so on. You will do this everyday for one week.

Each block is reserved for you to record the activities that you perform during that specific time period. An example of a block of time could be;

“7:00 to 8:00 am, Monday- Showered. Brushed hair, teeth. Made and ate breakfast. Dressed for work. Applied Make-up. Balanced check book. Drove to the office.”

Make notes as often as you can, and be specific in the details that you record.

At the end of the week look back through your journal and make note of any blocks of time that you could have made better use of.

Some amount of fun and quiet personal time is important to your overall health and well-being, most people forget or are too busy for this.  You need to ensure balance with your personal time with your busyness.  Many forget that it is just as important as dinner time.

Be on the look out for continuous blocks of time that are not being managed wisely, this is a good place to start to make some changes in your daily time management habits.

 

Goal Setting

Time Management methods most often incorporate some element of the goal setting process, as a key ingredient for overall effective use of time. Whether in the personal or professional realm, goal setting is an important aspect in becoming a productive individual, who effectively manages time. Effective time management skills include setting deadlines for when you will meet your entire goals, as well as thinking through all of the small steps that you will need to take along the way.

When speaking of “goals” this term will include any number of specific tasks which need to be completed, from household chores to major business proposals. Tasks to be performed are referred to as either short, medium, or long term goals, depending on the available time the individual has to complete them.

Short term goals may be thought of as daily goals. These often include everyday chores, as well as projects which need to be completed immediately. In effective time management a list of short terms goals is formulated, and each goal on that list is completed, on a daily basis.

Medium term goals are often goals that need to be completed within one week to one month of time. Depending on the amount of time required to complete the goal, a medium term may be broken up into smaller pieces, to be accomplished daily. For instance, a project which will take 6 to 7 hours to complete can be broken into pieces, requiring only 1 hour per day.

Long term goals can reflect major undertakings, such as obtaining a college degree, building a new home, or any number of other such goals. These goals are broken down into daily, weekly, monthly and even yearly goals.

When evaluating the number of goals to be completed, planning when, exactly how you will meet your specific goals is one of the most important steps in the process.

This is when you want to pull out your Planner from above. Create you long term goals and create your short term steps to reach your big goal.  Write everything in your planner.   Make sure you are thinking about all your short and long term goals with an eye on the SMART methodology.

 

Non-Renewable Resource

When time is viewed as a non-renewable resource it often becomes easier to understand the importance of managing it wisely. As with any resource, there is a direct relationship between the supply of, and the demand for, that resource.

As the Tim McGraw songs says “live like you are dying” we need to be more aware that life is short and can end at any time.  When there is an overabundance of time, it is more easily wasted. Likewise, when there is a shortage of the resource – in this case, of time – it becomes necessary to more effectively manage even the smallest amount of it.

Beginning to effectively manage time often begins with a change in perspective regarding time.  How much time to you really have?  I have 12140 days left!  wow, get me thinking about how I am using that time.  You can check it out for yourself here.

Each day provides only a specific number of hours, minutes and seconds, in which to accomplish goals, and complete tasks. We all have the same 24 hours, it is all about how we use that time.

Are you (and I) selecting the best use of that time resource?  From you Time Monitoring Journal were you able to see areas that you can change to allow for greater personal freedom and fun? or maybe you would like to start a new project or hobby that you need more time for?

So many thought provoking questions for you today 🙂 so what can you do to become better at time management?

 

Inspired Actions

Step 1 – Complete you Time Monitor Journal for 1-2 weeks

Step 2 – Plan your long term and short term goals

Step 3 – Eliminate those time wasters that are not productive or are not a priority for you

Step 4 – Organization yourself to take advantage of the time that you have.

 

I love to hear what methods you use to management, plan or organize your time!  Leave a comment below.

Related articles by my Diva Sisters!

My 40 Time Mastery Tips by Margo Degange

Zap the Procrastination Bug! by Chantal Beaupre

Time: How to Stop Hating the Clock and Find Inner Peace by Blaze Lazarony 

 

Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Βethan via Compfight

25 thoughts on “Time Management begins with Inspired Actions

  1. I love your idea of a Time Monitor Journal. I once did a similar exercise to create a heat map of my effective times of the day and I’ll bet the Journal will help me get clear about where I’m wasting time … I suspect TV is part of it. It’s so easy to fall into those time sucking activities. Wonderful suggestions to get the most of each day.

    1. haha that is true. The first time I did it, it was shocking. Now 5 years later, it is much more inline with my vision.

  2. Great tips Lori, I agree the first step to knowing how to spend your time is figuring out how you are currently spending it. I would also recommend using Evernote to manage your tasks it’s an amazing tool

    1. I have had other people say they like Evernote. I have been using ActionMethod, I really like it. I mostly use it on my computer, but I can easily access it on my iPad or iPhone.

      Not everyone likes the techy side of things – a piece of paper and pencil will work just as well 🙂

  3. I have a variety of time management tools that help to a certain extent. But the most important thing I think is this idea of tracking where those little snippets of time disappear to. Since I’ve read about this twice tonight I think I’m getting the message that it’s time to get that time management journal going!

    I like the song that goes: “Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think….” Reminds me that while it’s important to be productive and work toward goals, it’s equally key to take time to just enjoy life!

    1. Definitely there is a balance there. Sometimes it on a day to day basis and sometimes it is on a week to week basis. A week of pushing hard to finish a project and then a week of vacation. Different times, different strategies. Being aware is half the battle.

  4. You’re so right, Lori Lynn.

    In any growth process – whether personal and/or professional – systematic observation for at least a week or two is crucial because that’s what allows us to “take the pulse” of where of we are so that we can next decide where we want to be.

    That’s exactly what your recommendation for a Time Monitor Journal is all about, and I fully endorse it!

    In happiness and joy,
    Chantal

  5. I have often done this, and still do from time to time, and it is always useful. Time management and time monitoring is also just a part of my natural journaling process, so now, because I’ve been doing it for a while, it’s easy to become conscious of unproductive period without having to monitor every second.

    Off to check out the morbid Death Calendar now :p

    1. I agree, once you have done it a few times, the awareness is really there!

      haha oh I am sure you have 20000 days left!

  6. I’ll be honest, Lori – I don’t wanna do this exercise. Why? 1 – I’m lazy. 2 – I know I waste a TON of time, seeing it on paper might be a bit much for me! Ha ha, but really.. It sounds like a super helpful time management tool, one that would really help me be more mindful of how my time is spent. I’m all about mindfulness… so I think I’ll give it a shot! Thanks for the great idea and set of actions.

    1. haha Kaylee you are so funny!

      it definitely opens your eyes and even just doing it a couple of times like now and in 6 months. You will just become more aware. The other thing really is your person priorities, to me reading and exercise BIG things and never considered a waste of time…. many others will think differently.

  7. OK, I’ve REALLY got to work more on eliminating those time wasters! In my business I know there are things I do that aren’t as productive as I’d like. I’m inspired to put those under the microscope and improve my efficiency.

    1. true, delegating or hiring out some tasks are helpful if they are really getting in the way. Like we hired out the yard maintenance today 🙂 the neighbour boys did a great job and we worked on my important tasks.

      just don’t forget making time for fun, family and relaxing – definitely schedule it in so you have no excuse to miss it.

  8. This is the most inspiring quote I have been able to come across lately. Actually it is very true that some people just sit and count the hours as the day goes by, but I am one kind of person who will never be at peace with such an act. I always try to make sure that I utilize every second of time properly, so that I can look back to it later and be proud of myself instead of being sorry.

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