Time is our most valuable resource. Unlike other resources, once it is gone, we cannot get it back. Use it wisely.  Here are some tips to help you get the highest return on your time.  

1. TECHNOLOGY

In a report released by Samsung in December 2020, scientists found the average consumer attention span is now 8-seconds long. That discovery is 33% lower than a similar study from 2000 that claimed consumers had 12-second attention spans. What’s the main culprit behind the drop? Technology. With streaming services faster than ever before and social media at our fingertips, technology absorbs every spare second of our time. 

So, how do we flip the script and reclaim the highest return on our time?

  1. Use technology. Don’t let technology use you!  
  2. Utilize tools to make the best use of your time, such as time-tracking or automation apps (Harvest, Toggl Track, and Everhour are some of the best).
  3. Don’t waste your time on excessive social media or video games.  

2. GOAL SETTING

We’re all familiar with the phrase, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” As accurate as that is, it really should read as follows, “A goal without a written plan is just a wish.” Setting goals in writing will help keep us focused on where we should be spending our time, as the research indicates the likelihood of achieving a goal in writing is 42% greater than just thinking it in our heads. 

3. PLAN CREATION

Create written plans to keep you focused on how to spend your time. The steps you can take to make sure you’re creating an effective plan include brainstorming, identifying the obstacles, and creating an action list. Don’t skip the brainstorming step, as you will notice the number of ideas will increase as you start writing them down. Next, write down your obstacles, even if it’s just your lack of belief in achieving the goal. Moreover, create the actions that will overcome these obstacles. 

4. PRIORITIZATION

No doubt, you should list as many actions as possible. But be mindful, they are not all of equal importance! So, it’s essential to prioritize. Some goals and actions are time-sensitive, whereas others are not. The best way to prioritize is to focus on the most significant impact activities, using the “80/20 rule.”  Say “YES” to actions that provide a high return on your time and “NO” to those that give a low or no return on your time. Then execute on those that are the most critical first. 

5. SCHEDULING

Schedule in your high priority actions to be accountable for where you are spending your time.  If you don’t assign a time frame to your goals, they are of no use. You will still be standing at the start and won’t be able to move forward. So, assign a finishing date to the goal you make. For example, if the end-of-month presentation is just around the corner, divide it into smaller tasks. Make three spreadsheets per day, two days for the slides, two days for preparing the presentation, and a day for revision. That’s how deadlines work!

6. DELEGATION

Delegate what others can do to create more time for you to do higher priority actions. Delegating involves working with an employee to establish goals, granting them sufficient authority, and responsibility to achieve the goals. Often delegation:

  1. Gives them substantial freedom in deciding how to achieve the goals. 
  2. Keeps them available as a resource to help them achieve the goals.
  3. Allows assessing the quality of their effort and attainment of the goals.
  4. Addresses performance issues and/or rewards their performance. 

If you can’t delegate to someone, try delegating to technology to do your project management, automate workflows, proofread writing, etc. There are many A.I. tools available for delegating tasks. 

7. PROCRASTINATION

Schedule in your high priority actions to be accountable for where you are spending your time.  If you don’t assign a time frame to your goals, they are of no use. You will still be standing at the start and won’t be able to move forward. So, assign a finishing date to the goal you make. For example, if the end-of-month presentation is just around the corner, divide it into smaller tasks. Make three spreadsheets per day, two days for the slides, two days for preparing the presentation, and a day for revision. That’s how deadlines work!

8. ORGANIZATION

Disorganization wastes a lot of time. Looking for your things because you are disorganized decreases your productivity and gets you out of your flow. Decide that you will practice the universal philosophy learned as a child and adopt it as your mantra “A place for everything, and everything in its place.” This habit will protect you against two-time wasters: looking for lost items and having to reorganize what was once disorganized. 

9. N.E.T. TIME

No. Extra. Time. As human beings, we have many resources that can be replenished, recharged, and replaced. Time is not one of these – once it’s gone, there’s no getting it back. Use it on your highest-priority action items. Multitask only when one job doesn’t require your full attention. For example, you can listen to a podcast as you ride a stationary, but you shouldn’t listen to a podcast while attending a meeting. 

10. PERFECTIONISM

Two words: Avoid it. Perfectionism sets the bar too high so that no matter what you do, you’ll never reach it. That doesn’t instill inspiration; it creates depression. Pursue excellence in place of perfectionism. This sets the bar incredibly high, allowing you to eventually reach it and then put a new bar even higher. The time spent going from excellent to perfect is time you should allocate to another high priority action. 

Now that you have the most essential tips of time management, what are you most excited to incorporate in your life? To learn EVEN MORE tips and solutions to time management, attend our Time Management Webinar here!

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