Time management is more about priorities and knowing what is really important to you. For example, let’s say you just received a sizable inheritance. One or two might go a throw a big party. More than likely most would invest it or pay down debt.
What about time. Do you invest your time or do you waste your time? If you don’t know what you want or where you want to go you will most likely waste time. So before we talk about time management decide where you want to go. Where do you want to go? What are your values? What do you believe and what are your priorities? Your answers will determine how you spend your day.
There is a difference between spending time and investing time. According to Webster to spend is to use up, exhaust, or consume. In other words, if you spend you have no return. On the other hand, when you invest you do so with the expectation of obtaining a result which could include a satisfaction, income, achievement, or the like.
Many of us spend far more than we invest. Most of us spend large amounts of time engaged in frivolous activities that are distractions to achieving our goals. We need to value time like we value money.
Without goals and purpose we can spend too much time doing things that seem urgent rather than those that are really important. As a result, many unimportant tasks get done in a timely manner while important activities get quickly done under crisis conditions. Understanding your priorities and values is the first step to time management.
Take a proactive approach to time management rather than a reactive approach. When you react to every interruption and every email as it dings on your computer you are not in control of events. Here is how to get control. Analyze incoming requests and put them into one of four quadrants according to the template below.
Notice that the horizontal axis is labeled important and not important and the vertical axis is labeled urgent and not urgent.
Quadrant 1 is high priority. Activities that are both important and urgent go here.
We can plan most effectively in Quadrant 2. Yet we underutilize this quadrant because we spend too much time in Quadrant 3 (urgent and not important) and in Quadrant 4 (not urgent and not important).
In general, you should complete activities and projects in Quadrants 1 and 2 first. Ask yourself whether this task is important and do I really need to do this task? The task is important if it helps you achieve one of your goals. Sometimes, however, the task may not be as important as other activities. Avoid those things that are urgent but not important. They are time wasters.
Allocate your time in a way that will contribute to the achievement of your goals and mirror your values in life. Invest your time wisely and you will reap significant rewards in your life.
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