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Be Purposeful About Your Time: How To Get The Most Out of It

Randi Rotwein-Pivnick, M.A., LMFT

Time Management

Do you often miss deadlines or can’t complete the day’s “TO DO” list?

Learning how to be more effective with your time can make a huge difference in your level of career success. Lack of good time management skills can ruin your career. However, if you utilize the following TIME MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES, you just may find yourself soaring to the top of the success ladder.

Time Management is the ability to organize and plan the time you spend on activities in a day. We all have 1440 minutes in a day; however, how you utilize those minutes will determine your level of effectiveness, productivity and success. Good Time Management equals increased productivity, which equals increased success.

Time is the number one most valuable and scarce resource we have; once it’s gone, it’s gone for good. You can lose money or possessions, and work to get them back, but once time is gone, there is no getting it back. The most successful people focus on time in minutes. Think of all you can accomplish in a minute.  As soon as you realize that, you may stop wasting time. Therefore, we need to be mindful and intentional of how we utilize our time.

One of the most well-known Time Management principles is the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80-20 rule. What this principle states (and has proven), is that 20% of your activities will account for 80% of your results. This principle suggests that two out of ten items on any given “TO DO” list will turn out to be worth more than the other eight items put together. If you want to utilize this principle, take a piece of paper and write down ten goals. Then pick one that would have the greatest impact. That is the one you start with. Then pick the second most important goal and so on, and so on. The most valuable tasks you can do each day are often the hardest but result in the biggest payoffs and rewards when completed. Be certain not to multi-task as all that does is interfere with you accomplishing the goal. Focus on one thing at a time. Always ask yourself if the task is in the top 20% of your activities or the bottom 80%. Start your day off with the most difficult tasks first thing in the morning when you are rested, energized, and motivated. If you start your day off working on the low value tasks you will develop the habit of always starting and working on low value tasks, which will prevent you from being as successful as you can be. Psychologists have proven that the first hour of the day is our most productive. So, schedule your most important task first thing in the morning when you are at your best. The first activities of the day should be of highest value. Remember the principal of quality, not quantity. When you spend your quality time on a set of high-value activities, you will better manage your time and be more productive.

Activities that should be on the bottom of the high value task list are checking emails, texts, personal phone calls and surfing the web, on an “as I want” basis. Shut off your notifications and schedule the time that you will check texts and emails throughout the day. Unscheduled checking wastes a lot of time and results in a decrease in productivity. Be intentional about when you check these and get rid of the distractions.

Another productivity killer is procrastination. Think about how you might procrastinate and make it harder for you to do so, and thereby easier to succeed. If, for example, you want to commit to getting up early in the morning and beginning your day with a run or a trip to the gym, put the alarm across the room so you will have to get up out of bed to turn it off. Have your clothes and running shoes near by so all you have to do is get up and get going. Think about anything that will make it easy for you to not get out of bed and to avoid exercising and come up with strategies that will make it difficult for you to procrastinate.

Lastly, but of no less importance, learn to say “NO” to things that don’t support your productivity. Saying “NO” is not being rude. Set healthy boundaries for yourself that support actions that lead to achieving your goals. Know your goals and set priorities. Every time you say “YES” to something that is not a priority, you are, in essence saying “NO” to something that is a priority.

We all have 24 hours in a day. It’s up to you how you want to use them and what will be the most productive for you. Take time to reflect on what’s working and what’s not working. Remember to be organized, have a game plan, use the 80/20 principle, block distractions (texts, emails, etc.) so you won’t waste time. Prioritize what you need/want to accomplish. Only when you know what is supposed to be done and when, and then manage your time appropriately, will you be successful.

TIME, once it’s gone, it’s gone. Don’t waste it!!!


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