Time is the fibre our life is made up of. It is the only great leveller in the world. All the people on this planet have been equally blessed with this resource. While multiple how-to manuals manuals exist on how to manage your money, mastery of time is a subject often ignored in life.
In the age of materialism, we humans have mastered the art of wasting what is obvious just because it is something intangible. I know so many people who tell me that they do not know where their time goes. They get up, get ready for work, go to work, come back from work, watch television in zombie mode, go to sleep and then repeat the same cycle five days a week, 52 weeks a year and, maybe, for decades of their life.
If you are happy with the way you utilise your time, I suggest you to stop reading any further. You have already mastered the art of time management and this article might add no value to your life. But if you feel like the majority of people who suffer from the “I do not know where my time goes” issue, then this could be the best advice you will ever get in your life. Do not let the simplicity behind these ideas fool you because truth was always meant to be simple.
Here are five tips worth trying if you are looking to take charge of time in your life. Do not just believe me, but I hope you give them a try for certain number of days before you choose to discard them.
1. Document your time: The fastest way to change a bad habit is to observe it for long period of time. Your mind automatically begins to get into action mode. Every morning when I get up I just take 5 minutes to write what I plan to do today in my personal life and professional life. Every evening when I retire to sleep, I spend 5 minutes again on the list and tick what I did or missed. Repeat this act for hundred days you can change any habit your wish you change. Lazy people say to-do lists do not work, but do this for hundred days and see how much time you can generate for yourself and your loved ones. What gets measured gets monitored and what gets monitored gets accomplished.
2. Set goals: Goals are the emotional reasons that provide direction to your life and meaning to your mundane tasks. Always set weekly, monthly and yearly work goals. What do you plan to achieve over the next one year at your workplace? Do you have clarity on the kind of employee your organisation wants you to be? Committed employees who are problem solvers are a rare breed. Every organisation values them because they knows that if they do not value the talent, some competitor will. Track your progress, take regular feedback and partner with your employer in your career goals.
3. Create a ritual: What are the rituals you follow? Everything you are in the habit of doing, you are also in the habit of not doing. What are your work rituals? Do you believe in upgrading your work skills regularly? When was the last time you did something to become a better and more efficient worker? Are you always looking for better, faster and more effective ways to solve your work-related tasks or do you apply the same solution to every problem.
4. Stop doing what does not fulfil you: All the success stories in this world fall in two categories — do what you love or love everything that you do. You will achieve more within your limited time if you belong to one of these two categories. If you hate your work, every second will be like slow death. Learn to master your emotions and develop the skills that are needed to succeed in your profession. Remember bosses respect and notice smart people. It is the inefficient who get slaughtered first. A productive worker will always have multiple job offers to choose from. Become the most valuable talent in the industry.
5. Live in a state of flow: Avoid overthinking and take action. You are not supposed to know everything about the future. It is good to have a plan but then come back to the present moment and start executing the plan. People live in their own mental imagery and then get disappointed if life does not turn out to be their way. Always handle your work problems with a smile and curiosity. Action is better than inaction and little thinking is better than overthinking. Thinking has a purpose but do not make it the only purpose of your life.
I feel ashamed to admit that after monitoring my daily routine, I realised that I was spending more than 30 per cent of my productive time on things that did not matter to me. What are your returns on the asset called time? The good news is that your future depends on your present not your past.
As I wrote in one of my books ‘60 keys to Success’, information does not change people, realisation does. Observe, realise and change what you wish to change.