To make the most of your time and to manage your life well means that you need to consider what you are doing with your time. That’s why a weekly planning appointment is so helpful. Use a calendar and schedule specific time for your important appointments, events and tasks, as well as for the implementation of your goals. A goal set and then never looked at again will never be achieved. It takes character, commitment and determination to turn good intentions into reality.
God is a great time manager. He not only had a vision for a new world to be created but he formulated a strategic plan for his week that enabled him to accomplish his goal one day at a time and one step at a time (see Gen.1). We should do the same.
Ensure that your priorities (the ‘big rocks‘) are put into your week first, lest your week fill up with urgent but unimportant things. Effective people KNOW and then DO what is most important.
Take your goals and schedule them in your weekly calendar. That way you will ensure that you are taking action towards fulfilling your life Mission.
"Planning your day, rather than allowing it to unfold at the whim of others, is the single most important piece of the time management puzzle. A daily plan, in writing, is the single most effective time management strategy, yet not one person in ten does it.”
"He is a wise man who wastes no energy on pursuits for which he is not fitted; and he is wiser still who from amongst the things he can do well, chooses and resolutely follows the best." [William Gladstone]
The enemy of the "best" is the "good".
Anything less than a conscious commitment to the important is an unconscious commitment to the unimportant.
What is the one activity that you know if you did superbly well and consistently would have significant positive results in your personal or work life? If you know this thing would make such a significant difference, why are you not doing it now?
"Seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness and all these other things will be added to you as well." [Matt.6:33]
"Life is like a coin; you can spend it any way you wish, but you can spend it only once. Life places before us hundreds of possibilities. Some are bad, many are good, a few are best. But each of us must decide … ‘What priority takes first place in my life?’" [Charles Swindoll]
There are two things that are most difficult to get people to do: to think and to do things in order of importance. Thinking ahead and prioritising responsibilities marks the major differences between an effective and ineffective person. The discipline to prioritise and the ability to work towards a stated goal are essential to a leader’s success. The ability to juggle three or four high priority projects successfully is a must for every successful person.
The reason most major goals are not achieved is that we spend our time doing second things first. Efficiency is doing things right. Effectiveness is doing the right things. Efficiency is the foundation for survival. Effectiveness is the foundation for success.
You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything. The art of being wise is the ‘art of knowing what to overlook’. The petty and the mundane steal much of our time. The good is often the enemy of the best. All effective people have learned to say "No" to the good in order to say "Yes" to the best.
The Pareto Principle states that the top 20% of your priorities will give 80% of your results IF you know them and utilise your resources on the top 20%.
Work Smart. It’s not how hard you work but how smart you work. A life in which anything goes will ultimately be a life in which nothing goes. The issue is priorities. Put first things first.
When considering the issue of priorities, John Maxwell suggest considering three things (from his book Developing the Leader Within You):
- Requirement. What is required of me? What do I "have to" do whether I like it or not? What do I have to do that no one else can do except me?
- Return. What gives the greatest return? What do I do well that significantly benefits others?
- Reward. What gives me the greatest joy? What do I do that keeps me motivated in my work? What do I look forward to doing?
Success in you work will be greatly increased if the three "R’s" are similar. In other words, if the requirements of my job are the same as the strengths that give me the highest return, and doing those bring me great pleasure – then I will be successful if I act upon my priorities.
Maxwell goes on to suggest three things to do every month to keep your priorities in place:
- Evaluate. "Where am I?" Review what is required of you (what do you have to do that no one else can do and what can be delegated?), what gives you the greatest return and what is most rewarding? Evaluate or Stalemate. Take regular times aside to evaluate your priorities, your use of time and your progress.
- Eliminate. What am I doing that should be done or could be done by somebody else? Delegate it if it must be done.
- Estimate. What are the top projects you are doing this month and how long will they take? What will it take to accomplish this?
For some more extensive tips on better time management, click here.
Various Quotes and Thoughts on Time Management …