How To Maximize Your Time

More than money, the one thing most of us never seem to have enough of is time. And that’s one commodity we’ll never replace. Learn how to make the most of it.

Given today’s ideology of fast service, fast responses and even fast food, it is surprising that everyday errands aren’t almost obsolete. Instead, however, all our modem conveniences only seem to generate a reliance on constant access and an expectation for speediness. Through email, cell phones and blackberries, we are almost always connected to work, family, and friends – the demands on our time are ever-increasing.

The key, however, to achieving some semblance of peace in our lives is to prioritize, manage our time, delegate and relax. Easier said than done of course, but definitely worth considering. Not only will you save time but you will also be able to maximize your efficiency – it’s all about balance.

First and foremost, it’s important to re-evaluate your lifestyle periodically. Take thirty minutes, grab a coffee and find somewhere quiet to reflect on the direction your life is taking and the decisions you’ve made. Isolate what you are satisfied with, what your goals are, and what you are dissatisfied with. Then consider how/if you are achieving your goals.

Have your goals changed recently? Are you stuck in a rut that leaves you feeling strained and unproductive? If your lifestyle isn’t progressing toward your goals and you don’t see that changing in the near future, it may be time to re-assess your life and elements including work and family.

Maybe it’s time to look for a new job or maybe you should set goals for yourself that include growth and development in your current job. Wherever you stand, make sure that you have clearly identified what it is that you want out of life and that your lifestyle is reflecting that. Otherwise, you’ll soon find yourself burned out, irritable and depressed.

Start by making an ordered list of the most important things to you right now. Then make a list of how you would like to see those goals developed in the next five years. Comparing these elements should help you to realize where your life needs more focus.

Manage Your Time
Next, consider how you spend your time day-to-day. Are you constantly rushing around feeling like you need ten more hours to get things done? Look for ways in which you can consolidate your daily demands; a routine can help you maximize the time you spend on a specific task because you are able to devote your full attention to it.
For example, experiment with a weekly schedule where you have certain days for laundry, grocery shopping, paying the bills, etc. By devoting a little time to each task on the same day each week, your errands and simple tasks won’t build up and spill onto your daily tasks.

Also consider how you spend your “free” time – is it possible to use one or two lunch breaks per week for errands? The more simple tasks you can accomplish during the day, the easier it will be for you to set specific time for leisure activities or relaxing in the evening. These are the activities, which will help you rejuvenate and perform better.

Once you have examined where the demands for your time lie, examine which tasks could be accomplished by someone else or as a group. For example, examine whether or not you and your partner are sharing household tasks and chores equally. Could you redistribute some of these tasks? Be sure to include family and friends in the equation. Just be prepared to help out when they need a hand in the future!

Whatever task it is that you are struggling to get done, don’t be afraid to ask for help or delegate some other tasks to those around you. Perhaps you could hire a cleaning service once in a while or send your laundry out. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you feel balanced and relaxed in order for you to perform at your highest.

Finally! Once you have considered the elements in your life that you are having a hard time staying in control of, schedule some time for you to enjoy activities which you have outlined as being of importance to you.

Step away from the computer and turn off your cell phone. Being unreachable, even for thirty minutes a day, can heip you relax, focus and re-evaluate what you’re looking for. While it’s important to spend some peaceful time alone, consider organizing a vacation with some old friends or throwing a dinner party for extended family. Even if the best you can do is schedule a simultaneous grocery day with a friend, remember the importance of balancing your schedule to suit your needs.

You’ll never get time back
The bottom line is nobody else is going to look out for your time. Whether you want to get more done in your personal life or professional life, time is your most valuable resource. Take good care of it and watch how efficiently the days go by.