Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of. ~Benjamin Franklin
Time mastery is different from time management. Time management is simply managing the time you have to work with each day and sometimes involves getting more done in less time. Time mastery on the other hand has first and foremost to do with being proactive and deciding in advance what you want (goals), how you will set up your days (your life really), and then choosing the best ways to execute that.
Below are 40 TIME MASTERY TIPS that may help you on your new journey. All of them are proven to help you visualize what you really want, focus on what’s most important to you now, say “no” to the things that get in the way of that, help free up time, create more efficiency, bring a sense of order and peace to a daily routine, and offer a sense of control. They work!
This is a list, not a plan. The list includes 40 strategies that will allow you to create the life you want in terms of how you use your time. They may or may not all be fitting for your life. Simply choose the ones that make sense to you-perhaps all of them will. Factor them into your routine, and implement them without hesitation. They will make your life and business more meaningful, easier and more enjoyable.
1. Establish a list of your important long-term, mid-term, and short-term goals. Select the MOST important one from each category-the one that you want to focus on AT THIS TIME IN YOUR LIFE. You will have 3 to focus on at a time (one from each category).
2. Write your goals down: Written goals help the subconscious mind to work towards goal accomplishment and GREATLY increase the likelihood of achieving them. Written goals can be changed or adjusted at any time.
3. Create a list of tasks or activities that would cause you to accomplish EACH goal.
4. Prioritize your tasks and activities. The 80-20 Rule of economist Vilfredo Pareto notes that 80 percent of the reward comes from 20 percent of the effort. Prioritize tasks in order of value and importance. Concentrate on those items with the greatest reward-getting you to your goal.
5. Assign a DEADLINE to projects and tasks, particularly the ones that will take multiple activities to complete. Don’t fret-deadlines can be changed. Just do your best.
6. Think about tasks as being made up of “Time Molecules”. Some are small and some are bigger molecules. These “molecules” are “chunks” of time you can spend on a task throughout a day or on different days. Work on projects and tasks in “time molecule” chunks to finish at the deadline.
7. Revisit and declare your long-term and mid-term goals periodically, such as once a year on New Years day or your birthday: your desires may change, so your goals may dramatically change at any point in your life. For short-term goals, you should have a planning session at least every 3 months.
8. Two or more goals can be of the same importance even though you spend different amounts of time on each. You may have to set one goal temporarily aside while you work towards another, but acknowledge that they are both still goals and both still important.
9. Use only one calendar and look at it often. Use a day planner. Choose a simple one. Complicated systems can cause you to waste time while planning. Keep your planner with you at all times.
10. Before scheduling activities, block out family and personal time first. Block out time for vacation, spa days, exercise, personal time, church, and family. Block out events and trade shows that involve your career. Find the info from magazines and online.
11. Review your GOALS daily. Spend evenings (or early mornings) planning and organizing your approaching day. 15 minutes is enough time. Try to find solitude. Select and schedule some of the activities that will help to propel you towards your most important priority goals. these activities will be your high priority tasks.
12. Have a running to-do list, a single page or two in your day planner to jot down tasks that you suddenly remember have to be done. Try to schedule a few of these tasks into your daily activities. Delegate as many as possible.
13. Use a daily to-do list for what you want to accomplish each day. This will be the list you make during your daily planning session. Each day, schedule some of the priority tasks needed to achieve your goals and some from your “Running-To-Do-List”. Keep your daily tasks reasonable in number and achievable. Keep in mind you will experience interruptions.
14. Prioritize your daily to-do list items in terms of value and importance; #1 is the most important and valuable to accomplish, #2 the second most, etc. Keep your goals in mind. If you can’t do a task in order of priority because of time or other constraints, move to the next number and come back to the highest priority task later. Again, delegate where you can.
15. Commit to DO the items on your list, CROSS OUT tasks that have been accomplished.
16. Start the day with a high-priority task and continue with it until it is complete whenever you can. Focus on your most valuable task or activity in relation to your goals. You feel happier, more productive, and more in control of your life.
17. Block out a chunk of UNINTERRUPTED time in the same time slot each day to work on high priority tasks. Focus your attention and work on several similar or related tasks during this time (called batching). 1-3 hours is ideal.
18. Remember the concept of MOMENTUM if you are tempted to procrastinate. Just say you will work on a task for 2 minutes with no guilt if you stop. You will likely continue.
19. Schedule your most important tasks during your naturally productive time of the day. Do not use up your “Best Time” to do low priority or mundane tasks that can be done anytime of day (or by someone else).
20. Schedule in at least a few small tasks that you will COMPLETE in a day. This will empower and motivate you as you check them off your list!
21. Delegate tasks that are low priority or those others can easily do. Spend money to save time. Tasks that require little specialized training can be delegated out to office assistants. Tasks that require expertise can be sent out to a professional company. You can also hire out for personal chores such as dog walking, or things you do not like to do such as laundry. This will free you up. Look at it as a financial investment-Comparative Advantage- spend YOUR time on the things that make you the most profit and delegate the rest. Make the most money with your time!
22. Invest time in training others. Give up time in the short-term to train others for long-term benefits.
23. DO NOT let email overtake you. Check your mail once a day, or if you must once in the morning and once in the evening only. Set up a direct reply auto-responder letting people know you will get back to them within”blank number” of hours.
24. Totally eliminate time wasters like tasks that don’t propel you towards your goals, don’t relax you, and don’t make you feel good about your life.
25. Refuse to be caught in the trap of PERFECTIONISM. Perfectionism gets in the way of productivity. It means you are paying unnecessary attention to detail. You likely are the only one who knows the difference. This form of procrastination can keep you from accomplishing your true goals.
26. Leave a little bit of “free” time in your day for unexpected interruptions and time intrusions, and for opportunities that may come up. This is real life, be flexible when scheduling (but also be responsible).
27. Minimize interruptions by isolating yourself. Find a place to “hide away” for a few hours.
28. Focus on one task or activity at a time. Have out ONLY what you are CURRENTLY working on.
29. Avoid big lunches that can make you sluggish for the rest of the day.
30. Schedule time with your customers for when it is most convenient for THEM (it can really improve your sales results).
31. Literally “Throw Away” life’s clutter. Minimize the amount of “things” you have in your office (or home). This will save you time on maintenance. This is the first step in organizing your ideal environment.
32. Organize your office (and home) so that every item has a designated “HOME”. Make sure it is parked in its home when not in use. You can delegate the task of organizing to someone who is skilled at this.
33. Keep your desk clean. Clutter saps your energy and hinders creativity.
34. Reduce paper flow. Get in the habit of throwing papers away. For sketches and written notes, use a service that allows you to send a fax to your email so you’ll have a permanent.tif file you can print when needed. Toss junk mail out immediately. Do not set it on a table or desk. Throw away catalogs you plan to “read later” but know you never will. Feel the amazing freedom that comes from tossing them away!
35. Reduce T.V. time.
36. Quit attending organizations if they don’t bring you to your goals and you don’t enjoy them.
37. Let your children reduce time in planned activities. They’ll feel refreshed. Spend one on one time with them instead, or just let them decompress!
38. Take care of yourself. Sleep well and… (you know the rest)!
39. Allow some time to do nothing but relax and unwind, even if you think you don’t need it. Be balanced: too much scheduling and structure will discourage you over time. A little time daily to just unwind will clear your thinking.
40. Know this, and DO NOT feel guilty about it: There will never be enough time to do everything you want to or have to do.