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“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life…”

written by MO.com Subject Matter Dana Williams

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”- Steve Jobs

Steps For Managing Time

Using your time effectively takes discipline and practice. Establishing a process can help you make the most of the hours you have available:

The Yogic concept of Asteya or Non-stealing

Before we begin, let’s first understand the yogic concept of Asteya, which is often translated as non-stealing. Upon first glance, you might wonder how this ties into time management. However, applied inward, it is important to be aware of actions (often unintentional) that steal from our self and others. Consider this, we give time and energy to careers, families, houses, and communities; but this comes at an intangible price. By doing this, we steal time away from ourselves every day.

Setting Your Intention: What really matters to you?

Establishing goals is the beginning point for efficient time management. When you set goals, you are setting an intention. This will guide you, highlighting the things that you should be focusing your energy on. Setting goals is a process that defines outcomes worth achieving. However, we need to strive for achievable and realistic goals. By being truthful to ourselves and to others, we circumvent stress by not placing unrealistic expectations on any given situation.

Identify goals and place them in the following buckets:

* Vital: Objectives that must be accomplished in order for you and your business to thrive. This includes tasks that directly drive revenue growth or customer retention.

* Enabling: Objectives that create a more advantageous business environment. This includes tasks that provide training to employees so you can delegate responsibilities or improve productivity.

* Nice to haves: Objectives that improve your business, by making tasks easier or more appealing, such as process improvement or implementing a point of sale system.

Your vital and enabling goals are most crucial and should guide the way you manage your time.

Next, review how you spend your time

Oftentimes, we think we are using our time to accomplish vital tasks. But in reality, we are spending time on activities that don’t enable us to achieve our real objectives. To use our time more effectively, you need to figure out how you’re actually spending your time-and contrast it to how you ought to be allocating it. This process will help you to identify ineffective practices and time wasters.

Journaling is an effective means for capturing time during a period of 2 days or 1 week. Yes it sounds exhausting, but listing every activity you engage in, how much time each activity takes, and what category the activity falls into is going to help you see in black & white where the day goes. Analyze the journal to see what types of actions are consuming most of your time, and whether you’re using time in ways that directly support your most important goals. Look for underlying causes of time wasters, such as attending unnecessary meetings, project scope creeps, or chatty employees and peers.

Now, schedule your time more effectively Once you know what your goals are, how you’re actually spending your time, and which ineffective tasks are monopolizing your day, you can change the way you schedule your time. That includes creating schedules that support your priorities. It also means allocating time for the unexpected curveballs you are bound to get thrown.

* Break your goals into manageable tasks.

* Sequence tasks in the order in which they must be accomplished to achieve the related goal.

* Estimate how much time each task requires to complete.

* Establish a deadline for completing each task.

The Power of No.

“Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.” -M. Scott Peck

Recognize and defeat common time-wasters, such as putting off unappealing tasks, overbooking your calendar, and unnecessary travel. For example, delegate unpleasant tasks to combat procrastination, learn to say no to peers and employees to fight schedule overloading, and consider alternatives to unnecessary travel.

Another important yogic principle that applies to time management involves surrendering the ego to a superior principle. The term, Ishvara Pranidhana, implies that doing work without getting attached to any expected outcome, allows us to develop a sense of relaxed detachment. By worrying about the outcome, we are actually depleting our energy which can otherwise be utilized to accomplish more tasks.

Consistently monitor and improve your time-management strategy Once you’ve developed a schedule, put it into action. Watch what happens, identify problems, and fine-tune your time management strategies so that you constantly improve the way you’re using your time. At least once a day, take note of how you’re doing relative to your schedule.

In what ways do you managed your time effectively? In what ways can you improve?

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