Steven Conner Skeen
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Time management. It’s an issue that plagues us all and it’s never been easier to fall into one of the numerous time sucking habits available to us.
Netflix auto-plays the next upcoming episode of your favorite show.
Youtube auto-plays the next related video.
We scroll through our endless social media timelines, afraid that we’re going to miss that one post that’ll totally change our lives… Only to find out that Jessica’s latest crush turned out to be a douche and she’s done with men forever… at least until her date with her ex next week. Stay strong Jessica.
Everywhere we look, the things we use in our everyday lives are being designed to grab and hold our attention. How many times have you jumped on your phone to text someone back and find yourself 30 minutes later scrolling through facebook, instagram, or pinterest?
Yeah that shit you put in the oven or on the BBQ… it’s done.
We can make jokes all day but take a look at these numbers. If we only spend 10 minutes a day not effectively managing our time, or wasting our time doing something we don’t care about:
- In one week: we’d waste 1 hour and 10 minutes
- In one month: we’d waste 35 hours
- In a year: 420 hours
- In a lifetime: we’re talking close to 30,000 hours
Since these numbers are hard to process and don’t really hit that hard, let’s simplify: 30,000 hours is 1250 days… that’s the equivalent of almost 3 and half years time.
Time is invaluable. Take a moment and look at the headstones lining a cemetery next time you’re driving by. This ride doesn’t last forever and we ought to have the insight and the discipline to ensure we get the most out of it. Not only for ourselves, but for those around us we love.
Don’t get me wrong, not all of us are time wasters. Some of us are just busy as hell and need some new ideas to help us manage our time better.
Either way, our goal should always be to ensure that we get the most out of every moment that we’re given.
The best and maybe the only way to do that, is deploying effective and habitual time management strategies.
These strategies outlined below are effective whether you’re trying to find more time, or you simply need some guidance to get you back on track.
Time Management Tip #1 | Checklists:
People are always appalled at how productive others can be. They’re always saying things like, “You have a full time job, a wife, kids, and you go to school!? How!? There’s no way I could manage my time like that.”
Then you ask them if they want to sit down with you for coffee after work so you can show them exactly how and they say, “Oh sorry, season finale of Bachelor is on tonight! Maybe tomorrow?”
No no, it’s ok, we know it’s not going to happen tomorrow either Debra…
Chances are those power players out there that seem to be able to accomplish more than the next guy, are using checklists.
There have been a number of billionaires who swear by their use of checklists when it comes to getting things done. I’m no billionaire, but I can vouch.
I’ve used daily checklists for years now to help me stay focused and to help me get more done. The trick is making sure that your daily checklist aligns with your goals. Whether that be an annual goal, a life goal, career goal, whatever it might be.
Your daily checklist should consist of small stepping stones or actions for you to take every single day that will ultimately lead you to your final destination. Don’t drive yourself crazy and put 20 things on your list to get done in a single day. Start small. Only put 3 items on your list for the day to start with. If we start out trying to run before we can walk, we fall flat on our face.
What is it that you want or need to accomplish in the next year? How about the next 50 years? This is what your checklist should guide you to, and this takes us to Tip #2.
Time Management Tip #2 | Organize:
It’s hard to make a checklist of the things that we need to accomplish every day if we don’t know where it is that we want to end up. Put another way, we can’t map our way to anything when we don’t know where we’re going.
So get organized.
Get a day planner. Whether it’s an app, the calendar on your phone, or yes even the old hard copy day planner that you actually have to write in (this is totally me), just get yourself a day planner.
At the end of the day, just know what your goals are. You don’t need some huge and elaborate step by step plan of your life for the next 10 years. All you need to create a daily checklist is a game plan, an idea of where you’re heading, or where you’d like to be.
When we know what we want and we know how to get it, we don’t need a huge elaborate plan. We simply know what we need to do and the desire to get there guides us day by day.
Another great way to stay organized is to compartmentalize your day. Do this in a way however that feeds off of your different strengths as they rise and fall throughout the day. For example, if your creativity flows well in the morning you might set your morning aside for the more creative aspects of your day. If you always find yourself killing your workouts at noon, but slack off when you hit the gym at 7pm, go at noon!
Time Management Tip #3 | Automate:
In today’s world we have the incredible ability to automate almost anything.
Investments, laundry, commuting, posting on social media, email lists, it can all be automated. So why not automate your life to help with your time management?
Here’s a short list of the things you can and should automate in your life to help you carve out more time for the things you actually love:
Automate all of the monthly expenses/payments that you have. Having expenses automatically deducted from your checking account saves you a ton of time writing checks or jumping online to make a payment.
This doesn’t mean though that you shouldn’t hop on your accounts every now and then to make sure everything is where it’s supposed to be and the correct payments are being made.
Also, make sure all of your investments are automatically deducted as well. There’s a book called ‘I Will Teach You To Be Rich’, written by Ramit Sethi, that outlines various strategies that show you exactly how to automate your investments and your finances as a whole. The name may be a bit on the guru side of things, but hey give him a break… he’s indian.
Though I don’t agree with his insight on real estate investing, everything else about the book in my opinion is phenomenal.
I’ll post a link to the book below this article in case you want to check it out.
No this doesn’t mean eat fast food every day. What I mean by automating your food is what the “fit fam” calls meal-prep.
Who said you have to have a spray tan and abs to do meal prep? No one. So set aside an evening, an afternoon, whatever you need to do and cook your food for the entire week. Yes it takes time and a little planning, but the time you save throughout the week is huge.
Instead of opening and closing the refrigerator 27 times expecting to see something new, you’ll already have a dinner made and ready to eat. Same goes for lunch, snacks, and so on.
I do however make a smoothie every day for breakfast with 14 different ingredients… which takes more time than I’d like. Someone please create ready to blend smoothies!!
Again, with the technology we have at our disposal now days we can automate almost anything, and one of the easiest things to automate (if you have one), is your business.
Using any one of the numerous solutions out there for business owners, you have a huge potential to simultaneously cut costs and generate more revenue.
Instead of holding inventory or having to deal with shipping all on your own, you might consider using a dropshipper or a processing/fulfillment solution for your products. The margins will be smaller, but the ability to scale and sell more of your product is drastically increased. Most importantly… it saves you time.
Something else you should definitely automate when it comes to business is your business’s domain name renewal. Don’t automate this and you risk losing your website completely or paying someone thousands of dollars to to get it back.
The last and final thing we’ll include in this short list is shopping and grocery shopping.
By a show of hands who here enjoys grocery shopping? That’s right, no one. Weird, no one wants to wander around a grocery store fighting crowds of people for hours on what was supposed to be a relaxing Sunday.
I might sound like Morpheus from the Matrix when I say this, but what if I told you that you could get all the groceries you wanted without setting foot in a grocery store? Thankfully, big box stores have caught on to the fact that people really don’t enjoy grocery shopping.
Online order and curbside pick up. For the stores and locations that offer it, all we have to do is jump online, place our grocery order, and pull up curbside at the store to let an employee toss it in our vehicle. So now, while you’re drinking your Sunday morning coffee trying to figure out why your weekend is already over, someone is wandering around the store, doing your grocery shopping for you. How sweet is that?
Groceries aside, we should all utilize the power of online shopping in general.
How does it make any sense to drive to 4 different stores trying to find little Tommy a birthday gift, when you could again… be sitting at home, relaxing, and shopping through 10X the gift options with 50X less effort? Sorry, it doesn’t. The time we spend running around from store to store trying to find something, or even taking the time to drive to one store, is absolutely pointless and it’s a huge waste of our time.
There are numerous strategies that you can implement in your life to help you manage your time, but hopefully these 3 time management tips get you thinking and give you a great place to start.