As we approach the start of a new year, it’s not uncommon for most of us to consider doing things differently in the New Year. In order to be able to create new results, we must make better use of our time.
Time is our most precious resource as it is the one thing we can never get back. Every day, we’re exposed to more and more distractions which compete for our attention and our time. So how do we take back control of our time and use it in more productive ways?
Here are five things you can do to take back your time so that you can eliminate distractions, feel more motivated or empowered, and get things done that are most important to you. These will take discipline and commitment, however the rewards will be well worth the effort.
- Assess where you have been wasting time. In order to improve something, we must know how we are tracking first.
- Where were the areas that caused you to waste or spend more time than you would have liked?
- Was it watching too much television?
- Did you waste time surfing the internet or being on social media?
- Did you spend unnecessary time window shopping?
- Did you find yourself getting caught up in unproductive conversations regularly?
Once you have a sense of where some of the areas were where you wasted time, you’ll be more likely to make better choices on how you want to spend your time and what you are prepared to do differently in the New Year.
- Decide to put a high value on your time. Unless you are prepared to ferociously protect your time, you’re actually telling others that your time isn’t valuable. Taking back your time first starts with you. Then you can decide who or what is worthy of your time. Plus you can also determine what your priorities or goals are for the year. Making that decision first is critical.
- Determine when you are most likely to get things done. As an example, I am most productive before lunch, especially early in the morning. This is why I tend to get my most important work, which require a high level of focus, done before 9.00am. For others, it may be late at night. The period of time when you tend to do your best work should be dedicated to your high value work, such as creating products or creating marketing materials or campaigns or spending time with your loved ones. This will require daily discipline and a strong committed to your goals and priorities.
- Create new empowering habits. We all get a certain amount of willpower each day and once that willpower is depleted, our focus wanes and we are more likely to get distracted easily. This is why it is highly advantageous to be less dependant on doing things through sheer willpower and be more reliant on our habits. By developing habits that are productive and supportive of who we would like to be, completing tasks and projects will become much easier plus we won’t be easily fatigued while doing them.
- Do one thing at a time. The concept of multitasking is unproductive and can lead to overwhelm or frustration easily as I outlined in a previous post. Instead, it makes a lot more sense to focus on one thing at a time because your mind will be free from all other distractions and is able to concentrate on just that one thing. It should not come as a surprise that those who are able to just focus on one thing at a time generally get projects or tasks done quicker. Doing one thing at a time can also mean responding to emails during a certain time of the day or making phone calls together during a specific time in the day. That way, we reduce the need to switch tasks, which is one of the most common reasons for low productivity and efficiency.
Declaring yourself as someone who places a high value on time will go a long way towards taking control of your time, plus you will start to train others to be more respectful of your time. Make a commitment to yourself that starting right now, you are a person who has clear priorities and places a high price on time. These simple actions will ensure that you set yourself up to win in the New Year and create outstanding results.
Question: What is one thing you are prepared to do to take back your time in the New Year?
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