I sat down Monday with my list of Things-To-Do. I grabbed my cup of coffee, turned on my favorite music and began looking at this massive To-Do-List. It was daunting because I needed to follow-up with contacts from a gala the previous week, then there were miscellaneous money issues that I needed to resolve from online purchases that I returned, and just stuff such as scheduling a copier repair, etc. Once I looked over the list which tired me out, I placed a call to my sons. We laughed, joked and I felt great, but I hadn’t done anything to accomplish my weekly tasks list. So, I finished the conversations and started working on things that I felt needed more brain power. I contacted eBay, Lazada and other organizations that either owed me money or a product. That went well, everything was resolved. But, I realized that it was good to take care of that, but those things had nothing to do with my actual job. Again, I was doing what I wanted to do versus what I needed to do. So, I started pulling stuff from the To-Do-List to accomplish. After, checking off a few items and reviewing what was next, I began to clean up my office. I started putting things away that were sitting on the desk for no reason, and just doing exactly what I have told others not to do. I was spending invaluable energy on a time waster. I recommend to people that they should clean their office and off their desk the Friday before they leave for the weekend, so that they can come back to a clean space. I truly believe a cluttered desk creates or shows a cluttered mind. But, my desk wasn’t cluttered, but I must admit it was comforting to clean. I was keeping busy, yeah. What I realized was that I was stalling. Let me emphasize again, I was doing what I wanted to do versus what I needed to do. I appear to be a great business developer, but I hate it. And, making calls and emailing people are, in fact, business development.
How often have you convinced yourself that what you are doing is time well-spent, but if you were to be honest with yourself, you are stalling to avoid doing something that you are either uncomfortable with or you simply don’t like doing as part of your job? The truth of the matter is that you should start with what you don’t like to get it out of the way. Because through all my stall tactics I was looking at those line items such as emailing contacts and dreading it which created tension and unnecessary stress.
Today, I am sitting here wondering, what do people usually do with their time? In the past, I found that achieving measurable success required that all my time was accounted for and my energy was directed towards activities that moved me closer to attaining my goals. So, the real question or point is…what are your goals and how are you spending your time to achieve them? Far too often, people work a daily job or run a business with no end in sight. It is imperative that you know what you want so that you can apply yourself to that which will bring bliss, meaning or value to your life. I wasted hours doing things that had nothing to do with my purpose or passion. The business development was needed to introduce and share my coaching programme; not chasing refunds from online shopping. You’ll be amazed to find that you are expending a lot of energy and time on things that aren’t leading you in the right direction. Spend time this week looking at time wasters, and then work on eliminating them so that you can be more productive and efficient both personally and professionally. I swear, I could not do what I do if I didn’t pay attention to how, when and where I spend my time. Mastering my time has allowed me to master my career; thus, my life. Here are a few time habits that are helping me to keep it all together:
1. Set at least one major objective daily and achieve it. Remember, it’s not how much you do; it’s what you get done that counts.
2. Eliminate one time waster from your life each week. Develop a habit of looking for and eliminating time wasters such as phone calls that are meaningless, some social media stuff, etc. A guy friend kept texting me and then he wanted to video chat. I blew away valuable time that I can’t get back by chit chatting throughout the day. Don’t get me wrong relationships are important, but you have only 9 to 5 pm to truly impact decision-makers, while you have 5 to 9 am to have fun.
3. Focus… I kept sharing with my guy friend that I needed to focus. He insisted that we should just text and WhatsApp. I’m not good at multitasking like that. I know my strengths and weaknesses and mixing social and business when I have a To-Do-List screaming at me, is not the answer. The next day I was firm in sharing with him that I needed to focus and that I would call him after work. Based on being focused, I made a significant dent on that list to include writing this blog. Emails, WhatsApp and text popping up are distractions whether you will admit it or not.
4. Analyze everything you do in terms of your objectives. Find out what you do, when you do it, why you do it. Ask yourself what would happen if you didn’t do it. If the answer is nothing, then stop doing it.
5. Plan your time. Ask yourself what you hope to accomplish by the end of the week, and activities required to achieve those results. Write down a weekly action plan or To-Do-List. It keeps your focused and you can always add to it. But, I get a rush when I can cross out or check off tasks as I complete them.
6. Make sure the first hour of your day is productive. Many people who work in offices spend the first hour with coffee, conversation/social media. That could be a time waster of your brainpower. Use that time to do complicated things or make important decisions. You be the judge. If you’re up time (meaning filled with energy) is in the afternoon, then do your best thinking and complicate tasks then.
7. Finish what you start instead of jumping from one thing to another, leaving a string of unfinished tasks that seem to linger from week to week; such will catch up with you and appear unsurmountable at some point.