4 Surprising Tips To Manage Your Time

Adriana Girdler

Do you manage time or does time manage you? Time…something we all wish we had more of and, if we could, we would love to …

Do you manage time or does time manage you?

Surprising Tips to Manage Your TimeTime…something we all wish we had more of and, if we could, we would love to control it. That is why I find the phrase ‘time management’ an oxymoron. We can’t control time so why do we think we can manage it? Time management is not about managing time, it’s about managing yourself within time. This is an important distinction because time is precious. We can never get it back. Time continuously runs, whether we want it to or not. What we do have control over is our actions within a given period of time. This is what we need to learn to manage.

Here are 4 tips for managing activities and actions to ensure ‘time’ is spent wisely, doing the things that you love, that has meaning and purpose. They are worth trying out.

Tip 1: Have a plan 

“Create a definite plan for carrying out your desire and begin at once, whether you are ready or not, to put this plan into action.” – Napoleon Hill 

Whether this is a plan for a project at work, or a plan for the weekend or even more importantly a plan for your life, understanding the bigger picture is critical to managing your time. Ask yourself the question, “What do I want to do?” Knowing this ensures you focus your attention on what’s important to you and not just needless busy work.

Tip 2: Work the plan 

“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” – Yogi Berra

Once you know your plan, you just can’t leave it at that! Working your plan means using it as a guide to ensure you’re working on the right things that bring value to your plan. Ask yourself, “is what I’m doing getting me closer to my plan?” If not, stop doing it. Use your plan as a guide to say yes and no to activities so every action you take has purpose and as a result, you are not wasting your time.

Tip 3: Separate the Plan

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln 

Look at everything in your plan. You probably dumped lots of stuff in it but not all of it shares the same importance. As per the Franklin Covey method, separate your tasks into 3 categories:

  • A => Items that are central to achieving your vision and are time sensitive. Due to the importance of your plan, they need to get done now or within a day or two.
  • B => High-value item that are less time sensitive. These are items that are important but don’t have to be completed for a few weeks.
  • C => Everything else. These are items that are really nice to have and from a timing perspective can be completed months from now.

Once your tasks are separated, you only work on ‘A’ items. Get these out of the way, not because they are easy, but because they are important to your plan. At the end of each day review what you got done and re-priorities accordingly. Here’s the good news: if you have ‘C’ tasks that keep getting pushed out with each re-prioritization, simply get rid of them, they weren’t important to the plan. 

Tip 4: Review the Plan 

“Failed plans should not be interpreted as a failed vision. Visions don’t change, they are only refined. Plans rarely stay the same, and are scrapped or adjusted as needed. Be stubborn about the vision, but flexible with your plan.” – John C. Maxwell

Having a plan is great but as time progresses situations pop up that can impact our plan. Review your plan every so often to ensure you are still on track with your vision and objectives. This may mean adding new task, switching an ‘A’ priority to a ‘B’ etc… Just because you have a plan doesn’t mean you follow it blindly. You need to check in with it every so often to ensure you’re still on track and using your time wisely.

Time is too precious to waste on things that don’t bring us closer to our vision and goals. Start looking at how YOU spend YOUR time. Are you managing your time or is your time managing you?

What is your favourite time management tip? Thanks for reading don’t forget to share/tweet/like our blog just underneath this paragraph. And don’t forget, we’re always here to help with your business efficiency needs.

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Adriana Girdler is a project manager, productivity specialist, entrepreneur, professional speaker, facilitator, visioning wizard, and author. As President of CornerStone Dynamics, Adriana is one of Canada’s prominent business productivity and project management specialists—helping both individuals and businesses do what they do, only better. She is a certified master black belt lean six sigma with over 20 years’ experience improving how companies work.

She also holds both PMP (project management professional) and CET (certified engineering technologist) designations. She’s a Tedx speaker, as well as a HuffPost and Thrive Global contributor. She has been interviewed on Global, CBC, CTV, CHCH, 680News Radio, Newstalk 1010, Sirius XM and published in the Globe and Mail and numerous industry magazines. WANT ADRIANA'S FREE ONLINE TRAINING? In 45 min, learn Adriana's 5 project management secrets she use on EVERY project. Sign up for the Free Webinar here: THE FAB FIVE FUNDAMENTALS OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT

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