How to manage your time bandits

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How do you manage your time?

Most of us waste time in one way or another. Time-bandits such as surfing the net, talking on the phone, emails and other inevitable interruptions can rob us of eventual success …unless we get it under control. How do you manage your time bandits?

Tools you can use

Tools such as “Rescue Time,” can help you be more effective as an entrepreneur by tracking the time you’re spending on certain projects, providing detailed reports about your online activity and much more.

Toggl is another free time-management tool that can help by tracking various people who are working on a project, keeping track of billable time and has many of the great features you’d expect in expensive time-management software. Have you tried any of these?

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What about those "other" tasks? You may be dreading a task you think is too difficult or boring and procrastinating about beginning it. Change the flow of procrastination by jotting down a list of tasks you’re avoiding. What tasks have you been putting off that you can start today?

Here's something to think about as you go about your day: These days, we all aspire to be the master of multitasking and one thing is clear. The more we try to multitask or think we can, the more we’re falling behind. As we continue this behavior, the hamster wheel you’re on keeps speeding up and to keep from falling you continue to constantly multi-task. Then you’re exhausted. 

Think about the idea of using a singlular focus to drive your day. When you get used to the idea of focusing on one thing at a time, you’ll notice that you think more clearly, get more done and it will even improve your relationships because you’ll be turning off your phone and be in the moment when you’re socializing.

Time wasters

The art of timely conversations isn’t always easy, but conversations between colleagues/customers, friends and family can be real time wasters that can muddle anyone’s perfectly prepared schedule (if your perfectly prepared schedule works for you, please let me know. If you could teach me how to do that I’d buy that class).

How do you have meaningful conversations as you pare down your conversation time? Are you being realistic in your assessment of how long a valuable conversation can and should take, and how you’ll manage interruptions? Build in time during your day to accommodate interruptions and reduce your stress.

Is being late your thing? If you’re the culprit who is always late for everything, it’s time to stop this annoying habit and take responsibility for yourself to be on time – always. Being late wastes your own time, and other peoples’ time. First, you must identify the cause of your lateness. Sometimes the answer is clear and other times you may not realize you’re setting yourself up for it. Have you been able to overcome the habit of being late? 

Clutter Counts

Clutter results in more time wasting than you can imagine. Professional organizers recommend that you set up three boxes for items you want to keep, toss out or give away. Put the clutter into one of these three boxes. Now that the clutter is gone, commit to only handle something once and then either throw away, delete, act on it or file it. 

Don’t waste your valuable time dealing with clutter around your home or office. Be brutal in clearing it out and you’ll feel much “lighter.”

Take care of business

It’s time for self-care. Commit to giving yourself scheduled time to relax, get enough sleep, exercise and meditate – can give you back a healthy body that will help you feel up to the tasks and projects you’ve set for yourself. 

Caring for yourself is an investment of time that’s important to both your mental and physical well-being. Balance it properly and you’ll have time for everything else.

Take a time out! Taking time out to enjoy a well-earned reward isn’t a waste of time, but should be considered an incentive that will help you work harder and succeed faster in meeting your goals. 

Treating yourself to something like a massage, a dinner out or vacation helps to deter burnout which may occur if you’re working too hard or for long hours at a time. 

Time Management Tip: Do you find yourself run ragged by errands each day or week? You can open your schedule considerably by choosing one day per week to run all of your errands and complete your admin tasks. This move will free up other days during the week so you can focus onyour marketing, on a project or specific activities freely and without interruption.

If you think of time as you would think about money, it creates a way of thinking that can help you better understand the concept of spending time wisely to become successful – just as you would spend money correctly and wisely to become rich. How would that affect your time management skills?

Sogyal Rinpoche, author of “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying” coined the term “active laziness” to describe how we attempt to live life to the fullest by filling the hours with too many unimportant activities. Have you caught yourself doing this? If so, take action today and make time management a priority!

Start your day

When you begin the day without setting targets or having a clear vision of your goals, you’re inviting chaos into your life. Chaos is a time waster, which will leave you in a wake of clutter and confusion. Are you starting your day by setting clear targets?

Time Management Tip: Don’t be afraid to stop answering the phone (let it go to voicemail and address it later), instant messaging, put out a “do not disturb” sign or stop getting “alert” messages online for a while. Schedule a time later in the day to return phone calls, emails and respond to FaceBook comments. 

Managing your time effectively so that you have more chance of success may mean you need to break some bad habits holding you back. Breaking bad habits won’t happen overnight, but you can work toward eliminating bad habits from your life little by little. Are you ready to change? What’s one bad habit you’re thinking about right now?

You can shave 15 to 20 minutes off your “wasted time” and increase your productivity by making sure each email, voicemail, snail mail or any paperwork crossing your path is dealt with immediately. You need to decide about this item. If you can do, it now, DON’T put it off!

Remember the five steps to completing your tasks: Do It (now), Schedule It (for a more appropriate time – then get it done), Delegate It (to someone best suited to complete it), File It (to keep your records up to date), or Delete It. (Seriously, do you really need to keep it?)

Keep track of how much time you’re spending on your time-wasting addictions per day or week. Set timers or alerts and jot down the amount of time spent on certain activities and at the end of the day you’ll have a good idea of how you’ve spent your time. 

What's your favourite time management tip, the one that keeps your time bandits at bay? Share in the comments!