About a week ago I read a wonderful piece of advice about time management. I’m the first to admit that I focus on time management, goal setting and productivity a lot. Perhaps more than most.
You see, I’ve been in that situation where I really did not like where I was, and fully thought it was never going to get better.
But then I discovered that what Zig Ziglar said is right.
You can make huge changes if you take small incremental steps.
The key is to take things one step at a time. I did that and my life changed dramatically.
So last week I came across this idea and want to share it.
The idea is this …
Make a list of the six most important things to do tomorrow and then assign HOW MUCH TIME each will take to the list.
What an eye opener!
I was seriously overestimating how much I could get done in a day. I was great at making the list. But really lousy at estimating how much time each item deserved.
Here is an example.
On Tuesday I made my “top” list and then estimated how much time was needed. Result – 10.75 hours!
Here is a screenshot from my little notebook showing the day planned out.
Sure, I could be at the office 10.75 hours but my list called for full-out effort during each minute of those 10.75 hours.
Was simply not going to happen.
Here are a few other (very embarrassing) days …
- Wednesday – 10 hours
- Thursday – 10.5 hours
- Friday – 10.45 hours
- Saturday – 9 hours
You’d think I would learn!
Here is what I am doing now that is working.
I am choosing how many hours I will work in a day and then making the list fit that number.
This has been hugely empowering.
Now, I can truly prioritize the six things that matter most, not kid myself about how much will get done.
I can focus in with total clarity knowing that I have considered the variables and chosen six high value tasks, and assigned the appropriate amount of time to each.
Best of all, I can work hard and feel like I have accomplished something important. Instead of focusing on what is left on the list unfinished, I find my focus going to the part of the list that IS finished.
I’m not there yet when it comes to life balance and being productive, but counting hours in this way (in advance of the next day) has been an eye opener I thought worth sharing.