Personal Development By Virtually Nomadic / August 7, 2014 My main philosophy these days is freedom, not just financial freedom but also the Freedom owning my own businesses provide. I invest my time in my passions and shape workloads to be on tasks that I enjoy and get fulfilment from. This tight ship didn’t arrive during the night though. Through years of practice and realization, I have now made sure that my time is always spent efficiently as possible. Less time wasted and more systems in place quickly equates to more freedom. “He who gains time gains everything.” – Benjamin Disraeli I’m sure there are plenty of times that you find yourself a bit overburdened during periods of work. These simple 10 steps will lead you to up your game and get hold of your time (and your life) once and for all. One of the most widely heard complaints in any industry is that there seems to be “a lot of work, but too little time to complete it”. Give more “time” to time-management and thought to these solutions in order to hone this seemingly elusive skill. By being efficient with your working hours, you get to fight off stress for the following reasons: You will have that feeling of being in control and capture productivity and security in your job. You will be happier and contented on what you do. You will be able to manage your time to give room for relaxation, enjoyment and passions. Even if you stress out on your schedule, notice that the number of hours that you will use never changes. It is therefore up to you to manage what little time you have so that you will be able to maximize it. Create a strategic plan of activities. Make it a daily habit to outline everything that you needed to do. This list will serve as your guide in keeping you within your schedule. I’ve found that it’s best to use a planner for this so you can review everything at a glance. Learn to prioritize. From your list of things to do, decide on which of them will require most of your efforts. It helps to identify which of them will most effectively generate success. Prioritize key goals rather than do the little things that are not essential. You do not have to do everything at once – follow your priority list and everything will fall into order. Know that you have the option to delegate. And if you effectively can, DO IT. Do not do everything on your own. If you have some tasks at work that can be done by a subordinate, make him do it or alternately use a virtual assistant. This principle also works at home. You can also gain extra time by allowing your children to help with the chores and if it makes financial sense, hire another person to do time-consuming jobs like lawn mowing, gardening, etc. Set deadlines especially on big tasks. After you have set your priorities, set deadlines as these will serve as one of your motivating factors. Just remember to set it realistically, do not rush into doing big tasks. You can break it down into smaller projects and diligently work on each so that you will have a quality output. Remember: smashing through small tasks creates momentum, rather than missing out on big deadlines which generates negativity and stress. Place a Concentration Time on your schedule. A concentration time is when you are not to be disturbed when doing your most important tasks. Except during an emergency, don’t feel like being obliged to do anything else other than what your biggest priority is. Politely decline any interruption by saying that your attention cannot be divided at the moment. I use RescueTime to get focused, close mail clients or sometimes disconnect from wifi completely. Stay Organized. As soon as you get a memo, a mail, or any kind of tasks, make sure to label it straight away. If it is important, add it to your list of pending priorities, if it is something that can be worked on by others, delegate it to the right person. If you think that it is not important or has nothing to do with your line of work, trash it. This also applies to personal mails. Mastering this rule will let you have more time to do the important stuff. Make a schedule for phone calls. Making a phone call is time-consuming. You have the option to set aside some time just to make or return phone calls. You can also use this time as your official phone time where people can reach you best. By setting and keeping this schedule, you will train most people to know when to call you or when to expect a call from you and they will not disturb you at other times of the day. Build relationships. With just simple chitchat, you can create connections that will help you from time to time. Learning a particular person’s interests and skill sets creates an expert contact in times of need. Be friendly and open to discussions and soon enough, learning about crucial business activities will be as simple as sharing a joke or a story while you are waiting for a meeting or taking a break. Sharing skill sets and tasks is also very productive. Allow and realise flexibility is sometimes necessary. Even if you are being strict with following your schedules, make it a point to consider some incidents that will require you to veer from your timetable. Do not force yourself into doing something that stresses you out in the moment. You can always tell yourself to take a breath by doing other simple tasks or by taking a rest. By putting off some tasks, you can be more effective as you get to recharge your energy to do them next time. Plan ahead of time. It is best to map out your next day’s activities as soon as you have finished for the day. Your mind is still fresh with jobs in hand and you won’t have to recap in the morning. Also pre-plan the menial tasks that come with a new day like preparing meals, things that you need to take to the office, choose the clothes you will have to wear, or other small stuff that can be done in advance. The amount of time you get from this strategy may be little but alleviates stress and allows you to get started first thing with a clear mind and no disruptions.