Time Management in a Nutshell

Do you often feel like there isn't enough time in a day to accomplish everything you need to do? Between work, family, recreation, cleaning, commuting, can often feel like you're losing the battle when it comes to squeezing the hours to maximize production.

A few years ago I was fortunate enough to be part of a Leadership Boot Camp program, and have been able to access those resources repeatedly ever since. One of the time management exercises within the program I found incredibly beneficial to help prioritize your time and become more efficient.

STEP 1 - Write down all of the roles you play in your life both your professionally and personally.

STEP 2 - Once you have identified ALL the roles you play in your life, write down the goals you have for each role.

STEP 3 - Identify the high return on investment (ROI) activities for each role that will help you reach your specific goals. High ROI activities are defined as activities that will give you the most return for your effort.

STEP 4 - Take time each Sunday night to block out time in your schedule for the week ahead. First, you want to book in the high ROI activities you have they will be the best use of your limited time available. Secondly, add the things to your schedule that routinely come up, such as checking your e-mails for example ***Note - checking your e-mails on an "urgency" basis is not the best use of your time. Schedule intervals throughout the day to deal with these sorts of interruptions so that they don't interfere with your productivity.*** Thirdly, add the items that you know are bound to happen but that aren't formal, such as answering inquiries at work first thing Monday morning. Finally, leave some white space in there because nothing ever goes 100% as planned and you will need room to inevitably move things around a bit.

Remember - we only have 168 hours in a week. Of that, only 100 of those hours are usable once you factor in eating and sleeping.

The analogy Ian Hill, facilitator of the Leadership Boot Camp program, used to describe time management is... imagine I gave you $86,400 at 12:01 a.m., but you had to spend it by 11:59 p.m. or else you would lose it. How would you spend that money? Would you sit there letting the clock tick away while you contemplated what to do? Would you invest the money wisely towards your future?

We only have 86,400 seconds in a day, and 168 hours in a week. How are you going to choose to spend that time - flying by the seat of your pants, or working towards goals and aspirations that will take you where you want to go? The choice is yours, but I can tell you from experience that it's much more fulfilling knowing you're not wasting the life you have been given, finding meaning every step of the way.