Wouldn’t be great if you could get an extra hour or two of productive work done each day? Forget about cutting your sleep back to three hours a night (trust me, it’s not a good thing to try), you can do this by mastering Time Management.

There are probably hundreds of books and courses out there on Time Management, and someday I’ll probably offer one too. However, sometimes people spend so much time trying to manage their time, they become even less productive.

I’ve had my troubles managing my time through the years, but I’ve found a very simple three step process that helped me overcome it. And the good thing is that it’s not rocket science. Here it is:

  1. Figure out how you’re currently using your time.
  2. Identify areas where you’re not doing the things to help you achieve your goals.
  3. Fix those problem areas.

See, it’s not that painful after all. Let’s discuss each step in a little bit more detail.

Step 1: Determine how you’re using your time. For a week or so, write down what you do from the time you get until the time you go bed and how much time you spend doing it. You can round to the nearest 5 minute interval, but it’s important that you record everything you do.

Step 2: Look for inefficiencies. This is easier than it sounds. Look for things such as duplication of effort, mindless activities (surfing the web, reading People Magazine, etc…), and identify things that you spend time on that aren’t helping you reach your goals (stopping for coffee on the way into work).

Step 3: Eliminate the problem areas.  This is surprisingly much harder than it sounds so don’t beat yourself out if it takes you a while. The key here is to catch yourself doing something unproductive. When you’re about to do something, ask yourself “will this help me achieve my goals?” If the answer is “no”, then do something that will. Now there are things needed for basic survival like eating, sleeping, taking a shower, etc… that technically may not help you achieve your goals, but you’ll still want to do. If you find that you’re spending too much time on these activities (we’ve all had that roommate in college that took 45 minute showers), try using a kitchen timer to alert you when you’re taking too long.

So that’s the basics of Time Management. I’ll get into greater detail in a future post or article.

Painless Time Management

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