1. Recognize that YOU ARE in control.
You already have chosen, to a certain extent, how you will “spend” your time by virtue of your choice of vocation, location and relationships. There are consequences and requirements as a result of these choices. You have to decide if this is a choice you want to continue to live with or if it is time to make a change for which there also will be consequences and requirements.
2. Track your actions.
Keep a time log in a calendar or a notebook to see exactly what you are doing and for how long. Track everything you do in 15-30 minute increments. Most of us neglect to include preparation time and travel time in our schedule and so constantly feel as though we are running behind. By increasing awareness of what you are doing each quarter of an hour, you quickly will recognize wasted activity.
3. Start eliminating tasks and activities.
It’s easy to think that you need to do things yourself in order to have them done right, but if you can delegate some unwanted tasks or chores and eliminate others, you will be able to focus on your priorities. This sometimes means saying “no” to worthwhile things, as well as superfluous duties. And when a task is delegated, you need to accept another’s technique or method, rather than insisting on the job being done exactly as you would do it.
4. Create a plan.
Although it is not wise or necessary to schedule every minute of your day in order to be productive, it is important to block out sections of time dedicated to work on your projects and tasks, as well as the time spent getting ready for the day — and even “down time” to relax and regroup. This enables you to let others know that you are not available and makes it more apparent that you really don’t have time for additional appointments or tasks. In addition, it gives you a more realistic perspective of the time you truly have available, instead of wondering how and when you will get everything done.
5. Focus on one thing at a time.
People think they “save” time by multitasking; rather, they are doing multiple tasks ineffectively. Mistakes are more readily made, which will require more time to correct.Learning to control our activity in order to be our most productive also teaches us to value time itself, which is so very fleeting.
Brenda Spandrio, The Declutter Lady, is an organizing and productivity consultant. If you need help starting your declutter project, she can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 360-504-2520.