Take Control of Your Time!

Time ControlIt’s amazing to me how many people are up in arms because Time Warner Cable removed CBS from its programing (not the first time they’ve made this move, btw). The part that really gets me though, is that people are upset that they can’t watch their show. Never mind that they are paying for a service that they aren’t getting, how will life go on if insert specific show here is missed?

I don’t have cable. I haven’t had it pretty much since I went to college except for brief periods where my roommates had it. Personally I find that having access to TV around the clock is like living with a time vortex – it’s so easy to get sucked into the void. Remember the original hulu commercials? Don’t get me wrong; I still watch certain shows that I like (Criminal Minds, Big Bang, HIMYM, Suits, etc), but I watch them on my schedule (most major shows are streamed on the network websites). Of course, that’s the idea behind DVR, yet most people I know that have this are tied to the approximate times their shows are released. Have to keep the box empty after all!

This blog entry isn’t actually about the benefits of not having a TV connection in your house though. It’s about really taking control of your schedule and making the most of it. Think for a second, what do Entrepreneurs, C-suite Execs, Soccer Moms, Taxi Drivers, You, etc all have in common? They live days with 24 hours in them. Honestly, people tend to have a lot more time than they think. The key is to take a few minutes to analyze and prioritize what has to get done.

 

DSC_00901. KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO

My family teases me about living by my planner. I get a lot done though, and tend to not let the little things slip through the cracks. I write everything down in it that isn’t a daily task (so I exclude things like brushing my teeth, eating, checking my email). Some examples I do keep are:

  • Follow Up Calls with Customers
  • Chores like Groceries or Laundery
  • Phone Calls
  • Plan Confirmations
  • Projects
  • Plans
  • Bills to be Paid

2. PRIORITIZE EFFECTIVELY

Just knowing what you have to do can be overwhelming though. There are days where the entire list is full of tasks. Some of them have to get done on specific days, and some can be pushed off. Others don’t actually have to get done, they are just extra things I either thought I’d like to try or are even someone else’s problem. I keep track via A, B, and C priorities. Obviously, what qualifies as Important depends on the person and individual goals, but here’s how I break it down.

A Priorities – Things that are Important and Time Sensitive.  For me, this includes bills, customer follow-up, etc. along with that moves me toward a goal.

B Priorities – Things that are important but don’t necessarily have to get done today. It’s better if they are, but not a big deal either way. For me, this includes things like Confirmations, Personal Calls, and so on.

C Priorities – Things that aren’t actually important or have any time sensitivity. This is usually something like seeing a movie or shopping.

serenah-pet-photography-relax_03. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF

Most people forget to take care of themselves when they first start trying to manage their time effectively. But it’s just as important to set aside time to make sure you are rejuvenated as it is to get all your work done. If you get the most enjoyment out of watching TV or a movie, mark off time for that. If you get it out of reading a book or taking a bath, do that. Or, even if you just want to go out with friends. Just don’t forget to include that in your planning.

Two guy friends of mine run their own businesses (separately), and almost without fail they will get customer calls while we are out. One of these guys will let calls go to VM and get back to them when he’s done with whatever he’s been focused on, or at a reasonable hour if it’s later. The other has lamented a few times that he doesn’t get enough sleep, or have time to do anything fun because his customers have no respect for his time. The fact is, no one else will have respect for your time if you don’t enforce it. The customer came to you for a reason, and will understand if you don’t get back to them until business hours. So will your friends. And if they don’t, well, that’s a different subject entirely.

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