By Clare Kumar
Just like space, time is a limited resource. In fact, most of us would say this is a resource under constant pressure. With so many demands on our time, it is easy to feel pulled in several directions and be unsure of what to focus on. Here are three strategies to help you invest your time wisely.
1. Know your priorities
Goal and objectives, whether personal or professional, are often defined annually. These, in turn, must be broken down into specific implementable activities.
When a new opportunity or commitment presents itself, use your objectives as a measuring stick to help you determine what to say yes to and what to decline. Incorporate those that further your goals – these are your priorities. Defer or decline those that don’t.
If you’ve got competing priorities, sometimes you simply have to say no to something worthwhile.
Write down your priorities to create a visual reminder that you and others can refer to often. Use a whiteboard or jot them at the front of a paper planner. Remember, out of sight is out of mind.
2. Plan your time around your priorities
To ensure you achieve your goals you must devote time to working on them. Not doing so leaves you open to sabotage by daily incoming obligations which may be urgent but less important.
Since there will always be unexpected and pressing issues, plan gaps in your schedule to accommodate them.
A week is an ideal amount of time to consider and make time for each of your personal and professional goals. Colour-code your calendar – one for each type of activity for a quick visual check on how you are spending your time. You may, for example, choose one colour for lead generation, one for client meetings, one for administration and others for social or exercise time. If you see one colour dominate, you may need to make a shift.
3. Review priorities regularly
You’ve often heard “the only thing constant in life is change”. Stop and review your goals, objectives, priorities, and performance at least once per quarter to make sure you’re indeed working on the things that move you towards your personal and professional goals. If not, adjust.
Coming up next in the series: Time Management: Strategies – 5 Ways to Master Your To Do List
ACCO BRANDS CANADA is proud to sponsor this 10 week series on organizing your workspace leading up to ORGANIZE YOUR DESK DAY on October 21, 2010. Get the tools you need to get organized from world-class brands such as Swingline, Quartet, Day-Timer, GBC, Kensington, and Wilson Jones. Clare Kumar, founder and Chief Organizer at Streamlife, an organizing company, will take you on a practical and inspiring journey from chaos and clutter to productivity and peace of mind.