Let's face it. You don't have time to do anything. You don't have time to exercise. You don't have time to read. You don't have time to cook. You don't have time to manage the social media for your business. Guess what? You don't have time to do anything, you MAKE time.
The activities you make time for each day should be a direct reflection of your goals and values, but so often they are not even close! Once you realize that you do not have time, but rather you make it, you can start to play a more active role in how you spend your time.
As a productivity coach, I think time management is a myth. The key to improved productivity is to focus on self management not time management. Here are 3 tips to get you started down the path of self management and greater productivity:
#1: Do some quick math.
There are 24 hours in a day. Quickly jot down how many hours you usually sleeping, working, commuting and eating. What's left? For example:
-8 for sleep
-8 for work
-1 for commuting
-2 for eating
5 hours left
This example leaves you with 5 hours every day to make time for the other activities that are important to you. Run your own numbers. This exercise can be very enlightening. Some people discover they have more time than they thought and it can inspire them to take charge of those hours and how they spend them.
#2: Schedule 3 times during the day to check your email, smartphone and social media channels.
Give this a try for one week and see if it magically puts time back into your day and increases your brain power! Use your favorite reminder app or scheduling tool to set 3 times during the day when you are going to consciously make the decision to check your email, smartphone messages and respond on social channels. Set an alarm and give yourself 15-20 minutes each session. That would be 45 minutes to an hour out of your day dedicated to staying connected.
I know this suggestion may sound crazy in our world of instant responses, but I want to challenge you to reconsider the need to respond immediately. If you check your electronic communication channels at 9 am, noon and 5 pm, you are still responding in a timely manner. You have the power to train your co-workers, family and clients as to your response style. Feeling the need to be constantly connected and responsive may be draining you of your ability to focus and may be setting you up for a life of being constantly interrupted. A constantly interrupted life is rarely a productive one.
#3: Write down your weekly goals and look at them every morning.
This tip is certainly not new, but it is powerful. One of the biggest reasons people don't make time to do the things that are important to them, is that they've forgotten what those things are. I'm a big fan of writing your goals on a piece of paper, in your own handwriting and keeping that piece of paper either on your nightstand or in the bathroom where you know you will look at it every morning. When you remind yourself on a daily basis of what you want to accomplish, you are more likely to make time for those activities even when your day gets crazy.
I hope you will give this concept of self management over time management a try. As Francis Bacon said, "He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils; for time is the greatest innovator."