Have you ever wondered why nearly all successful people have habits, routines, or rituals that they cling to? It’s because they know that routines make it easier to navigate their way through the friction that life sometimes brings. Less friction often leads to better focus; and better focus saves us time - the most valuable commodity there is.
Unfortunately, effective time management is something that a lot of people struggle with. So many of us waste time on things that don’t matter, and can’t seem to make time for things that do. Left unnoticed this behavior eventually becomes (a bad) habit, one that leaves us feeling mostly unproductive, discouraged, even lacking confidence in our ability to get better.
To master time you must first understand how to maximize your productivity. This begins with creating and adhering to habits and routines that allow you to focus on things that matter.
To help you get started, here are several important questions to ask yourself. Your answers should be honest, personal and meaningful.
- What are 1-2 activities that you would like to do every day that you aren’t currently doing?
- How will these activities make you or your day better?
- What time of day do you feel most energized?
- What obstacles seem to get in the way of the work or other activities?
- Do you allow yourself to be interrupted often? How can you avoid this?
- Do you allow yourself to become distracted or get taken off task easily?What can you do to minimize or avoid this?
- What type of work or activities make you feel most confident?
- What work or activities will move you closer to your personal and professional goals?
- Do you make a habit of writing down what you need to do every day?
- Is there work or easy tasks that you can do today, to free up your time tomorrow?
Once you can answer these questions, the next thing you'll need to do is map out your day. Some ideas to consider include doing your most enjoyable or important work at the top of the day, or when you feel most energized, in an environment where you can work uninterrupted and with minimal distractions. As well, you should leave non-important, non-urgent work for a low cost low, low opportunity time of day, such as after business hours or once your kids go to sleep. Finally, make it a habit to end each day preparing for the following day, so that you can wake up and hit the ground running.