As many of you know, I am in the process of publishing my second book on Time Management. Now, it’s not intended to be your normal time management book, as it is designed to be a complement to my Goal Setting book “Success with Goals – Designing Your Life with Purpose”. However, it will have several of the tried and true concepts for effective time management. The same principles and concepts I personally use and coach to with my clients and students.
I get asked often, “how do I get so much done”, and if you asked my wife, she would most certainly say because I work, a lot, and although that is somewhat true, that doesn’t truly sum it up. Ironically, since leaving the corporate world and becoming self-employed, I work more that’s true, but because I control my time even more. I get even more done with less time. Regardless, there are a few very specific things I do that have always helped me to have an edge over my peers and keep in front of my competition. Today, I will share my three most important success habits that have helped me leap frog my peers in virtually every endeavor I have embarked on.
First, I plan religiously. Now, despite all my planning, I still have occasional fail-ups where I over-book or under estimate time for meetings, projects, etc. However, this incessant review of my time makes me super conscious of the time I have available, where I am spending it, and ultimately how to most effectively invest it. In my goal setting, I specifically encourage people to follow my lead and spend a weekend a year, strategically planning and scheduling for the upcoming year. That is followed by a half a day per month, reviewing my month, then a few hours one day per week reviewing the forthcoming weeks’ schedule. This allows me to spend 15 to 30 minutes a day reviewing my daily schedule to ensure I maximize my time.
If you asked the super successful people in our world, I will guarantee that many, if not most, will share some similar review processes for their goals and time. If time is the world’s most valuable commodity, then why wouldn’t you ensure that you maximize how you invest that time? Whether it is investing it building a business, following some passion project, or just ensuring you are spending that time with those that are most important in your life. No matter how you assess it, you must constantly measure and monitor your time to ensure you get the most out of this life.
The second habit I would share with you that has led to my success has been to know and realize when you are your most productive and use that time wisely. This is one that I have learned over the last 20 years. I was never much of an early riser, I did in the military, but it didn’t stick. I was much more of a night owl when working on projects. Then, in my early thirties, after having kids, I had to find another time of the day to get things done. That was when I found the early morning hours to be very effective for my most productive work. It was a newsletter that I read touting how valuable it was for their writing, so I tried getting up early to work and it was a huge game changer. I was up and getting things done long before everyone else and the value was amazing. Not to mention, I seemed to have a head start on everyone else each day and as the old Army quote used to say, “I got more done before 9am, than most people did all day”. I now wake up between 4am and 5 am every day and this is when I do my best writing as well as any elaborate planning or project management.
Lastly, I would share that the third best way to get a jump start on your day to ensure you have the most success and get the most out of each day would be to start tomorrow TODAY. I know that might sound odd, but what I mean here is, don’t wait till the morning to plan your day, start the night before. There are a few reasons why this is effective and valuable, so let me start with the most obvious. If your most productive time is early in the morning, before everyone else gets up, wouldn’t it be most valuable to already know what to do as soon as you get up? If you are up at 4am and know you have 2 hours of uninterrupted work time, how ideal would it be to know already what you are going to work on and start immediately to maximize that 2-hour block?
Now, if you add the value of using your subconscious mind to help with problem solving, this accelerates the return. For instance, if you are working on a project and you are stuck on something, you might consider some options as you review your schedule for tomorrow. Then while your conscious mind is sleeping, your subconscious mind will still be working on a solution. This might allow you to awake with a fresh solution. What a great way to start the day, right?
Additionally, most people who have not trained themselves this way may have not experienced this, but your subconscious mind is a phenomenal alarm clock. So, by planning the day the night before, you can pre-program yourself as to what time to awake and when you have appointments, including, important reminders. Case in point, have you ever had to wake up for an early flight, then found yourself having a tough time sleeping, because your mind kept reminding you that you needed to get up early? Well, this is your super computer mind at work, but it isn’t completely trained, so by training it effectively, it works in your favor and helps you remember key things and helps you to be on time.
So, in summary, here are my 3 success tips for most effective time management and goal achievement:
1. Plan everything you can, especially things like quality time with family. Trust me, this may not sound super original or romantic, but it’s far better than the alternative. The busier you are, the more you must control and manage your time each day.
2. Know your most productive time of the day, utilize it and protect it as one of your most important resources, because it is.
3. Start tomorrow’s day, today. Review your plan and schedule the night before to ensure you get the most of each new day.
Thanks for reading!
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