Hour by hour time departs ~ Italian Proverb
The first thing you need to understand about Time Management is that there is no such thing.
You can not ‘manage’ time. You can not give it feedback, make it stop or slow down, make it go faster or smoother, make it last longer or give you more of itself. Each day you have the same amount of time available to you as everyone else and each day time will pass at the same pace, unabated, forever.
Rather, if you want to use your time more effectively, you need to reframe the dialogue – it’s not about ‘Time Management’ it’s about ‘Self Control’.
Each one of us has a level of control over how we manage our day – what time we choose to get up, what activities and endeavours we choose to engage in and in what order of priority, who we choose to spend our time with and so forth.
Your ability to effectively ‘Control’ yourself is the decider.
The 5 SMART Steps is a contemporary process I developed a few years ago to help you track, rate and cost your time, and then set up a series of simple and sustainable strategies to ensure you maintain ‘Self Control’ and manage your time the SMART way.
So let’s talks SMART:
S = SELF-AWARE
The first step to Self Control around managing your time is self-awareness:
- what are your Key Time Management Challenges: what keeps tripping you up?
- what are your Core Values: where do you really want to be spending your time?
Why? Because you need a baseline against which to reflect on your current habits and to benchmark against the improved behaviours you implement.
M = MAP
Step 2 is to Map a typical week in detail – a personal time audit where you log exactly what you do each day.
Why? Because you can’t know what changes you can make to your time habits unless you know in detail where you currently spend your time.
A = ANALYSE
Step 3 is to Analyse your Mapped time across Four Task Categories: your Musts, Wants, Delegates and Rejects, and involves calculating what your time spend is costing you.
Why? Because categorising and costing your time will give you the clarity you need to better prioritise and focus on the right activities.
R = REFRAME
In Step 4 the data you have collected in the first three steps comes together and you identify the tasks you can do smarter, faster, or not at all.
Why? Because identifying everything you can Delegate or Reject, as well as business processes and daily practices which can be improved, will allow you to find hours of lost time.
T = TAKE ACTION
The last step is implementation. This one is often the kicker. Having identified the actions you need to take to regain Control over your time, you need to commit to making the changes.
Why? To ensure your success!
The act of maximising ‘Control’ over yourself – to find and then harness your lost time – takes commitment, discipline and personal accountability.
So, commit now. You have nothing to lose except your poor time habits. What you will gain back is hours of time to do what you love: more time to reconnect with family and friends, more time to spend on your own health and wellbeing, and more time to strategically build the next stage of your success.
What’s stopping you?