How you use your time is just one of the variables to success. I’m not talking about the passage of time because time just is. It’s what you do with the time that you have that matters. One of the secrets to success is knowing how much time to spend on the right things at the right time in the right order to get the results you want in your life.
We have so many distractions these days that it’s so easy to be swayed off course. So how do you know when you’re using your time effectively and when you’re not?
1. Get the Balance Right
It’s all about balance. If you feel you’re working too slowly, how can you speed up such that you’re still fully present with the task at hand, you’re minimising errors and you’re in that alpha brainwave state (where you’re fully absorbed in what you’re doing)? If work is coming in at a faster pace than your working pace you know you need to reduce the time you’re spending on tasks or increase your pace.
If you’re rushing around in a state of unhealthy stress (yes there is healthy stress… it’s called moderate pressure!) what do you need to do to slow down and bring a sense of calmness and balance back into your being?
If you’re being drawn away from what you’re doing by social media and time is just passing you by, what strategies and stops do you need to put in place to ensure that you minimise those distractions? It’s all about finding that fine line between speed and pace, between stress and pressure, between distraction and taking a break.
How you view what you’re engaged in at any point in time is key to how successfully you do what you do. It’s about gaining that clarity in your mind. For example if you feel your pace is too slow or to fast on a particular day and you’ve got a long list of tasks to accomplish that day, get clear about why your pace is the way it is.
Look back at what you were doing yesterday. Did you have a full-on day yesterday, or was your day too easy? In which case should you have scheduled in a lighter day today or a more active one? How did you sleep last night? If you spent the night tossing and turning and hardly slept that might be a clue that maybe your body just needs rest today. If you slept soundly last night this is going to contribute to an extra boost of energy for you.
Look at what you’ve been eating over the last few days. If it’s empty calories that give you the feeling of fullness but lack nourishment, this is going to drain your energy levels. If, however, you’ve been taking in food and drink packed with E numbers you may find yourself bouncing off the walls. All of these aspects are going to have an impact on the time you spend, so planning your days effectively taking account of your energy levels is crucial.
2. Understand How You Respond
Another indicator as to whether your life is working for you time wise is how well you’re moving towards what you want in life. A measure of this is how you’re responding at the end of each day to what you’ve achieved… or not. If you feel disappointed because once again you’ve not accomplished what you wanted to achieve, perhaps it’s because once again you’ve unrealistically tried to fit too many tasks into one day.
By asking yourself certain questions about the activities you undertake will begin to give you an understanding of how well you’re using your time. Do you feel your task is too big, too small, too boring? Maybe you’re unclear on exactly what it is you need to do. Perhaps you lack clarity on how you’re going to do what it is you want to do.
3. Prioritize Your Activities
Maybe what’s needed is some time to clearly define your activity, why you’re doing it and to work out a simple strategy that will at least get you moving. Sometimes when you take a few moments to take just these simple steps, your energy levels begin to stabilise because confusion, frustration and uncertainty begin to wane.
Taking some time to simply prioritize your tasks according to their level of importance, timing each one and deciding when you are going to tackle each is an amazingly freeing activity on a mental level that will begin to move you forward. Adopting this more practical approach will also help you to learn more about how you naturally work, and to work in accordance with this.
4. Get Clear on Your Outcomes
The clearer you can be about your desired achievements, the more constructively you’ll find yourself using your time. How to do this is relatively simple:
- Get really clear on exactly what you want to achieve
- Map out your strategy for getting there
- Break your project down into prioritized and timed phases and tasks
- Get to work!
- Evaluate on an ongoing basis what’s working and what’s not
- Make the necessary adjustments along the way
- Stay open-minded to what success will look like
- Keep going until you get to where you want to go (or to the closest version of it)
- Rinse and repeat
It’s a simple system, but it’s not necessarily easy, and a key part of this is how you use the time at your disposal to get to your outcome. When you begin to use your time more effectively by following the strategies above, you can begin to achieve the exact outcomes you want to manifest, and from there start to carve out the exact life you want to live.