Time tips

A few weeks ago I was interviewed by Annette Marner on ABC local radio Drive Time, and on ABC Brokenhill radio on the topic of ‘Time Tips for the New Year’. Here is the gist of our discussion.

The most important thing about saving time and making time to build the life you want (and to build in plenty of study time!) is to know what’s important to you. When you know that, you know what to concentrate your energy and efforts on.

At work, the most important parts of your job to concentrate on are your key result areas (aka KPIs — key performance indicators). To find out what’s most important to you in your personal life, think about what you value most–time with your partner, helping your children learn and grow into valuable members of the community, your own personal health and well-being …

Now you know what to spend your time and efforts on. You can fit in all those other things clamouring for your attention in between working on what’s really important so that you don’t fritter away your time and energy on trivial tasks and meaningless, value-less chores.

Now you can think about two things:

  1. Are you actually spending enough time in these important areas? That isn’t necessarily measured in actual minutes and hours; you often need to measure the quality of the time you’re spending. You can sit and stare at a text book or your computer screen for hours on end and achieve nothing, or put in a concentrated sixty minutes studying or drafting an essay.
  2. Are you getting the results you want in each of the important areas of your job and your life? Remember: it isn’t ‘busy-ness‘, but results, that count.

When any of your answers to those two questions is ‘No’, figure out what’s stopping you. Do you need more job knowledge or to improve your computer or keyboarding skills? Do you need to schedule in time for exercise or to get up an hour earlier to go for a walk or to study? Do you need to practice saying ‘No’ nicely because you’re spending so much time working on other peoples’ priorities that you don’t have enough time to work on what’s important to you? Do you need to stop procrastinating?

Once you know what the problem is, what’s stopping you from spending time on what’s important to you or what’s stopping you from getting the results you’re after, the solution is often staring you right in the face. That’s when you grit your teeth and do what you need to do to take charge of the way you’re spending your time.

Then you can look in the mirror at the end of the day and say ‘Yup, I added value today; I achieved something I wanted to; I’m in charge of my time and my life, not merely responding to other peoples’ demands.’ And that makes you feel good about yourself!

Discussion questions

Are you consciously shaping your life to be more like the life you want? What else might you need to do to make the most of your time? What’s preventing you from getting the results you want at work or in your personal life?