My Sharing Part 1: Time Management

This post is regarding the materials of my Personal Management I shared during last Saturday's Ignite-Youth Service.

If I would to share all the materials in a single post, it'll be a very long post. So I've decided to split them into 2 parts - Part 1: Time Management and Part 2: Goal Setting.

In order for you to become successful, firstly you will have to know how to manage your time properly and set your goals. Without managing your time properly and setting your goals, do you think you can be successful? Maybe you might, but mostly not. Even if you happened to be successful, you will not be as successful as others or as successful as you want to be.

With these two aspects (Time Management & Goal Setting) also doesn’t guarantee that you will become successful, but it brings you closer to becoming more successful. Why do I say so? It’s because some people they don’t know how to stick to their goals or they fail to manage their time to work their plans. And for some people, half way through the journey, they get distracted and they get side-tracked from their goals and plans. Do you get what I mean? Great!!

Have you ever wondered why some people they can finish or accomplish so many things in a day? Do you think they have more then 24 hours a day? No, they don’t. Their biggest secret and skill from you is that they understand the importance of time and they know how to manage their time wisely.

So, do you think you really have 24 hours a day to do your work or study? If you were to minus away the time you spend one sleeping, eating, bathing, talking, traveling and lazing around from your 24 hours, how much time are you left with? Not much right? So how are you going to finish up the things you want to do if you don’t organized you time properly? You just think and see.

I'm sure you like stories. So I'll be telling you a story of a farmer. You might have heard it before from somewhere else but why not listen to it again.

Here The Story Goes:

Once upon a time, there was this farmer who got up from breakfast one day and said to his wife, "Honey, I am going down to plow the back 40 acres of land."

So he went out the back door and headed for the tractor parked out by the barn. On the way there, he noticed that the chickens had not been fed. So he went inside the barn to get some chicken feed.

Inside the barn he noticed that there was still some corn left out to be put away then he took the corn and went outside to put it in the silo. On the way he discovered that the door to the chicken house needed mending.

So he set the corn down and went to the garage up by the house to get his tool box. As he approached the house his wife called out and asked him what he wanted for lunch. He went inside to talk with her and she had just made a fresh pot of coffee. So he sat down to have a cup.

It just goes on and on, doesn't it? And you know the chickens never got fed that day. And the back 40 acres of land never got plowed.

I don't suppose that you have ever experienced anything like the farmer did in your life. Because I just know that you are completely organized in your daily routine and that you accomplish everything you set out to do each and every day. RIGHT!!!

See - if that were true, you won't be here reading this post. =)

Everyone in their live no matter how well you can manage your time, surely you will be in the same situation from the farmer’s story. It’s just that you noticed it or not and how do you keep back on track.

So, after you have heard the farmer’s story, some of you might be thinking “How Can I Not be Like the Farmer?”

Now I’ll share with you a method that I personally have been using for myself quite often and I find it to be very effective. It’s called – having “A To-Do List”. I believe you've heard of this before, but have you been using it? If you have been using it, was it effective?

For me I personally learned this from some readings and I know a lot of successful people they themselves are also using this same method but they have made some changes to suite them as long as they are kept on track and not wasting time on some other things.

Even schools they provide teachers and students with a timetable to follow. Why must they do that? If they don’t, the class lessons will not go according to schedule and it will be havoc.

This method I’m going to share with you does not only apply to working people, but it’s also very effective for students as well.

Let’s look at the proven method to organize your daily routine so that you are not like the farmer from the story:

1) Before you go to bed every night, find yourself a quiet place. Get a pen and a piece of paper.

2) Write down the things you have to do for the next day. (ex: clear your room, change your bed sheet, or anything) Just list them down.

3) From the list of things you listed on the piece of paper, prioritize them into A, B, C & D.
A = Very Important & Very Urgent.
B = Important But Not Urgent.
C = Urgent But Not Important.
D = neither Urgent nor Important.

4) You can also prioritize your list in such: A1, A2, A3 or B1, B2, B3 etc for those that have their prioritization in the same category. In this way, A1 will be the first and most important thing that you have to do on the list followed by A2 and so on.

Ok… please take not. DO NOT proceed to the 2nd task on your list until you have completed the number 1st task. If you do not finish the 1st task before you go on to the 2nd task, than you become the farmer. And you will continue to wonder why you never feel like you accomplish anything. At the end you will also be frustrated each day and you will never realize your dreams and have the life style that you desire.

So after finishing a task, just put a tick beside the task or you can also put an “X” beside it.

5) After listing your “To-Do List”, don‘t forget about the fun stuff. Be a little careful when you think about what is important. For example: That trip to somewhere that might not save you time or make you any money, but it will give you a fun time to relax. And it might not seem urgent, but if you only do the urgent stuff you never get a chance to live. Remember to give yourself a deadline and a high priority for some of the fun things on your list too.

You might even make a different list for your leisure activities, so you have something to look forward to on your days off. Sometimes the weekends slip by without our noticing because we just space out. Resting is good, but some more active fun can actually give you more energy.

There is also one technique that can work wonders for your motivation, which is to connect rewards with getting work done. For example, you can take your work list and match up each project or major step with something fun to do. When you complete that step, take your reward.

This technique gives you a good reason to complete your tasks, and reminds you that life is more than just work or studying. Make the work and the reward relate to each other if you can. With that, you can make the work more fun. If the task is something you really hate doing but it is important to get done, make sure the reward is something you really enjoy. Just give it a try. You may even find yourself looking forward to previously dreaded tasks because of the reward attached.

6) So what if you don’t complete the tasks for the day? It’s vey simple. Just take those tasks that were not finished and put it into the next day’s “To-Do List”. But make sure you set a dateline to finish up those things eventually. =)

7) What I can say is - the best thing to do is to always finish up your task for that day! And after you have finish writing your “To-Do List” pray over it before going to bed.

The advantages of maintaining a “To-Do List”

A to-do list helps us know the different things that have do be done so that we do not miss anything.

A to-do list is more dependable than our memory.

Once we have a written list of the things that we have to do, we can prioritize and decide which task should be done first.

Sometimes one or more jobs may require that we go to another office or section. With a to-do list, it helps us to avoid repetition of labor. For example, if we have to deliver a document at an office and collect a document from another office which is on the same block as the first office, both these tasks can be done together. It saves us the time energy and effort of going to the same place twice. But only if we have a to-do list can we know in advance that there are two jobs at the same place. This is the way post men operate when they deliver mails.

A to do list enables us to cross out the tasks which have finished doing and towards the end of the day when we see the list of things that we have crossed out, it certainly will give us a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. It also has the effect of shocking us if nothing at all has been done and crossed out.

If anything remains on today’s list, it can be carried over to tomorrows list and that is excellent way of preparing a to-do list for the day, by examining the ‘to-do’ list of yesterday and carrying out any task that has been left out without completion.

Time Wasters Steal Precious Hours

Another important step is to understand what your time wasters are. Time wasters are all of the things we do that may seem important, but really rob us of the ability to concentrate on the critical stuff.

Some of the top time wasters are:
1. Shifting priorities.
2. Telephone interruptions.
3. Lack of direction/objectives.
4. Attempting too much.
5. Drop-in visitors.
6. Ineffective delegation.
7. Cluttered desk/losing things.
8. Procrastination/lack of self-discipline.
9. Inability to say "no."
10. Meetings.

That's all for the Time Management sharing. Stay tune for My Sharing Part 2: Goal Setting.

Part two is now available: My Sharing Part 2: Goal Setting

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