Friday, July 6, 2012

Axiom 24: A Simple Guide to Time Management

"You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again." -Benjamin Franklin

"Don't be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One man gets only a week's value out of a year while another man gets a full year's value out of a week." -Charles Richards

I've read a few time management books over the last year. I always get really excited reading the introductions: "You'll finally have time to accomplish everything you ever dreamed of." Then by chapter two I'm knee-deep in some system of lists and priorities I know will never be practical for me. I would be spending more time everyday writing out to-do lists than actually doing anything. I need something simple.

So until this January I never did any type of personal scheduling. I'm sure most people don't use time management for accomplishing their goals either. But once I started using a simple time-management system my productivity skyrocketed. I'm about to share with you my methods for time management, but first I want to explain why time management is vital to success.

Dedicated Time + Good Ideas + Hard Work + Motivation
= Success

That's the formula for success (with dedicated time being the most important element). Time is our most valuable resource. It is the foundation for success and the reward that success brings us. With dedicated time good ideas can evolve into great ideas. With dedicated time our hard work produces tangible results. With dedicated time our motivation turns into a deep-undying passion. Time management allows you to schedule dedicated time to accomplish your goals.

So here are a few ways you can take control of your time and become more productive:
  • Create a system - Start using Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook, or another calendar program to keep track all of your appointments, tasks, and goals. I use Google Calender because it is free and allows me to access it from any computer as well as my phone. 
  • Implement all of your goals into your schedule - If you want to start a business, read a certain book, take a dream vacation, or accomplish any other goals make sure you write it down so you can implement a plan of action into your daily schedule.
  • Categorize everything - Divide everything in your life into categories and input it into your calender. Examples of categories are: Birthdays, Blog, Business Idea, Simple Tasks, Work, Social Functions, etc. Google Calendar is great at this because you can color code your categories. Make sure you input everything into your calendar from life goals all the way down to simple household chores. You want to take everything out of the clutter of your head and put it into a single outside source you grow accustom to checking regularly. 
  • Hold yourself accountable - Make sure you stick to your calendar and accomplish the things you list on it. Treat your calendar as the word of God. 
  • Treat your free time like you treat your work time - Time is money at work, yet in our personal life we often throw time away. Use scheduling to cut down on wasted time just as you would at a job.
  • Make specific and realistic goals - "Work on my book for one hour today", or "Write chapter one of my book today" are examples of specific and realistic goals. "Work on my book", or "Finish chapters 1-28 on my book today" are not specific or realistic goals. Don't defeat yourself by scheduling too much or leaving too much room for laziness.
  • Make free time - Don't schedule too much. Make sure you schedule free time for yourself to relax.
  • Keep a routine - Get into a routine so you can manage your time and your expectations more easily.
  • Work with your body clock - If you're a morning person or a night person make sure you schedule your tasks to fit your body clock.