Saturday, 4 February 2012

LifeCircle 2012 - Managing your time

Life Circle

I have had very little time to digest the posts so far from Thursday but there seems to be a bit of support building for help with time management, so that's what I'm going to attempt. Actually, that might be impossible really as there are as many ways to manage your time effectively as there are people on this earth. What I will do is suggest a method for you to try that might work for you.

The first part is to have a to do list. It can be on paper, on your phone, online, however best you want to manage it. It really doesn't have to be fancy. You just need somewhere or something on which to record the things you have to do. Having some central place that you can refer to will help you focus on what needs to be done. Include as much as possible. If it's not on the list, it's not getting done! OK, maybe not your ablutions, but you know what I mean.

The only problem with that is it can be a bit daunting and in what order do you tackle your to do list? I'm going to suggest a way to manage this. Some people call it the "Urgent-Important Matrix" but it's just a grid really. Here it is.

You could just draw a grid and plot things according to whether they are urgent and whether they are important. Then you know you need to start with all the important, urgent things. If you have lots of those to tackle, then revert to starting with the ones with the shortest deadlines. How do you decide what's important? Well, that really is up to you, but things you just do every day that don't contribute towards you reaching your goals probably isn't. Things like that, falling into the bottom right box, are probably best dealt with by allocating some time to dealing with them every day - like an admin or housework half hour or a time at work each week when you deal with them. If you can, get someone else to do them! If you can't, and you find they are stopping you achieving urgent things, then consider if they really are of low importance.

The top left box is probably full of longer term things you want to do. Try to ensure you do work on them when you can - what you should find by being more focussed is that you will deal with the urgent and important things quicker and this should allow more time for this. Of course, anything in the bottom right corner should be ignored. It may be that they are tasks or things that other people want you to do. If this is the case, feel vindicated in saying a polite but firm "No" to them. And stand your ground. I suspect that might be a whole other post!

If I have a really long list of things to do, I sort them into a list by what I consider to be most urgent and I allocate times to work on them. So, if I'm starting work at 9.30 and I estimate it's going to take me an hour to complete the first task I'm planning to work on, I'll allocate 9.30-10.30 to and work down my list adding in the times. I find that this gives me something to aim for so there is less chance of becoming distracted, but also, it gives me the chance to recognise what I can realistically achieve in my day so that I don't overcommit or give myself too little to do. And if I get more things done than I plan to, I feel really good.

So, what's the task today then? I want you to put this into practice over the next few days. See how it works for you. Then blog about how it's gone. Did you find it time-consuming? Was that time worth it? Did you get more done? How did it make you feel about progressing towards your goals?

Then remember to come back here on Thursday to link up, although as ever, the linky will stay open for two weeks, which takes you all the way through to 23rd February and may give you time to try out the techniques for longer. And don't forget, I'll set a task next Saturday that you will have nearly two weeks to complete as I won't be publishing the linky until 23rd February so we can all take a step back from full-on self-improvement!

Good luck and I can't wait to see how you get on with this.
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