Time management is something that a lot of us struggle with. We have big goals, ambitions, and desires, but when the time comes to pursue these things, we struggle to actively make them a priority in our daily lives. Oftentimes, we find ourselves using the same old excuse of not having enough time.
The reality of it is that we all have the same twenty-four hours in a day. No human has more time or less time than you or I do. It’s how they use that time that will either lead to their success or to their failures.
Time is one of the few things in life that we will never get back. Surely we can make back the money we spend or replace belongings that we lost or misplaced, but every moment of our lives that passes us by is time that we are never going to get back – time from our internal clock that is constantly ticking down.
This is why time management is so important. We can achieve anything and everything that we set out to achieve, but we need to start now. Every moment that passes is time that we are NEVER going to get back.
Now, I am not the most productive person on the face of the planet, but I am also pretty proud of the strides that I have made. I went from accomplishing very little in college and into my early twenties, to taking on more tasks and accomplishing much more. Of course there are some things that I had to sacrifice along the way, but it’s all about prioritizing what’s most important to you.
Here is what my days used to look like:
- Wake up at 7 a.m. for work.
- Get to work at 8 a.m. and leave at 4 p.m.
- Drive to the gym and workout from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
- Grab dinner after the gym and bring it home.
- Get home at 6 p.m. to eat dinner and watch television until 10:30 p.m.
- In bed by 11 p.m. to do it all over again.
Here are what my days look like now:
- Wake up at 5:30 a.m. and immediately get dressed for the gym.
- Get to the gym by 5:45 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. and workout for 45 minutes to an hour.
- Get home at 7:00 a.m., plan my day, and write my daily blog.
- Leave for work around 8:00 a.m. and go to my bus stop.
- Get on the bus at 8:30 a.m. and read until I get to work at 9:00 a.m.
- Work from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m (over my lunch I will either read or write).
- Head home at 6:00 p.m. and get home close to 7:00 p.m.
- Eat dinner when I get home, do some more computer work, spend time with my niece, and am back in bed by 10:00 p.m. to do it all over again.
The two might not seem drastically different, but with my schedule now, I use every possible moment that I can to pursue my goals. Whether it’s reading, writing, being a better son, brother, and uncle, there is room for all of it.
Now as far as friendships and relationships go, I guess it helps that I am an introvert, but I still go out on the weekends with friends and hang out.
I’m not saying that this lifestyle is suitable for everybody. We all have different things going on in life, different priorities and obligations, and different circumstances in which we live by. I am simply saying that when you prioritize your time instead of spending it watching television or doing other meaningless tasks, you can achieve a lot more of the things that you want to achieve. The choice is entirely up to you to make.
Whatever you do with your life, just make sure that you are happy. If watching television makes you happy, by all means, watch it. Just accept the consequences of doing so and don’t complain when you struggle to achieve something else.
This is something that I find myself struggling with from time to time, but it is something that I am trying to improve on. One of the keys to living both a happy and successful life is to find a good balance for all of the things that matter to you.
One way to help create balance is to practice time-blocking. Block off different times of your days and focus solely on one task. Maybe you respond to email from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., play with your kids from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., and then fill the day with other priorities.
The point is to assign tasks to a certain timeframe within your day and give them your full attention during that timeframe. This will help to increase your focus while decreasing the chance of becoming distracted.
Prioritize what is most important.
This is your life. Ultimately, you have to do with it what you want to do. There is no one right or wrong way to live your life. There is just your way. As long as you don’t harm others with your actions, do whatever makes you happy.
Whatever makes you happy, prioritize what is most important and do it first thing in the morning. This is why I am an advocate for waking up early. There are no distractions in the early morning. I am able to complete the tasks that are most important and meaningful to me before getting sucked into the chaos that is everyday life.
Tip: if you can, wake up an hour earlier. Schedule that time to start pursuing the one most important goal that you have for yourself.
There are some mornings where I would much rather stay in bed under the warm covers and go back to sleep, but this is where we have to be disciplined. We weren’t put on this earth to do what “feels good.” We were put on this earth to do what is meaningful and what is going to provide value to our lives, and to the lives of those around us.
You are not going to achieve the things that you desire to achieve if you are not disciplined. Look within, ask yourself how bad you truly want it, and let that internal fire spark you to go out there and achieve each and every one of your desires.
Create a plan and follow it.
Don’t know how to be disciplined? Start by creating a plan and following it. Every morning before you get on with your day, write down your daily schedule and the tasks that you want to achieve. Even by doing something as simple as writing them down, you are 42 percent more likely to achieve these tasks.
Write down all of your meetings, the places you have to be and the times that you have to be there by, and all of the goals that you are going to accomplish throughout the day. Next, keep that plan in a place that is close to you so that it is easily accessible. When you complete one task, put a big checkmark right next to it. It then almost becomes a game of how many checkmarks you can get compared to the day before.
Accept the consequences of your choices.
Regardless of if something is benefiting you or not, there are going to be consequences. Every time that you say yes to one thing, you are saying no to a million other possibilities. The opposite stands true as well. Every time you say no to one thing, you are saying yes to a million other possibilities.
This is why you have to look from within and find what truly matters to you the most. Do you need to work an extra hour? Do you need to go out with friends on the weekends? Do you need to take the time to plan out your day? While there are suggested answers to these questions, only you can answer it as this is your life. Whatever you decide, accept the consequences of your choices whether they are good or bad.
Whatever you want to achieve, just know that you have the power to do so. You are the only person who can achieve the success that you envision for yourself. In order to do so, it is going to require all of the tips and strategies mentioned above.
These are the strategies that I have implemented into my daily life that have helped me to become far more productive and to manage my time better, which is why I have all the confidence in the world that they will do the same for you as well.