Have you ever heard someone say, “I have all the time I need. I’m a master scheduler and I couldn’t possibly use my hours and minutes any more efficiently.”
I haven’t. I can’t even imagine it, and, if I heard someone say such a thing, I’d figure they were lying.
We all want to do more with our time. It’s as natural as breathing.
I’m so concerned with this issue I figure I must have been born late and I’ve been struggling to catch up all my life.
Now I’m not anywhere near where I want to be, but I have learned a few things about making the most of my time, which I figured I’d share. I can’t quite do them all, all the time, but they help me and they might help you:
Make the Most of Your Cycles – Just as some of us are night people and some unnatural fiends like to get up at the crack of dawn (that’s a joke) we also all have energy cycles throughout the days and weeks. Try to ride your energy cycles like a surfer. If you know you tend to lose steam on Friday afternoon, get your ducks in a row in the first half of the week.
Don’t Multi-Task, But Do Dovetail – You can’t read your e-mail and talk on the phone at the same time. It’s rude and you won’t do either well. But you can make the most of lulls, such as, when that report is awaiting approval, use your waiting period productively.
Divide Tasks Into Bits – If you’re facing a big project, with multiple components and deliverables, it can be hard to get started. Look at the key components of your big project as mini-projects and schedule them.
Use Deadlines – Nothing focuses the mind like a deadline, so make up your own. In fact, it’s better if you do. Set deadlines for the smaller components of larger responsibilities. That way you’ll meet other people’s deadlines.
Schedule Wisely – I tend to overload the front end of my project timelines. This is not a good idea. It’s like setting all your clocks ahead so you’re not late, but you know that never works.
Think Ahead and Work Backwards – The best way to make a timeline and get the most out of your days is to work backwards from the times and dates by which you want these items completed. And the most important thing to keep in mind is your long-term goals. You don’t have to have a weekly targeted schedule for what you want to do in 2016, but it might be time to start getting specific about 2012.
How long is your planning timeline?
by Danielle Dresden