Take a bite out of time In the 1960s, the Rolling Stones musically touted that “time was on their side.” But for many of us, it’s an omnipresent beast, constantly breathing down our necks as we race through our days in a perpetual state of almost finished. Consider the idiotic buzz phrase “Time Management.” If I could manage time, I’d still be 23 years old. Even though we can’t manage time, we can minimize its management of us. And the relief starts with just two simple words: behavior modification.
Making changes and why Mickey Mouse has a high pitched voice First made famous by Harvard psychologist and researcher B.F. Skinner and his unfortunate mice, behavioral modification is what’s behind any change in habit. While Skinner used electric shock to help his mice make good choices, more sprightly witted mammals like us can usually think these things through, realize what’s best for us, and simply adjust our behavior for the best. That’s why dieting is so easy. At any rate, your first step should be commitment. Make an effort to be aware of your time and use it wisely. To get you in the mood, think about all the great reasons why you should better manage your activities. Then, be confident and go forward. Start looking for new habits to adopt and old habits to drop.
It Takes Time to Make Time Ironically, you will need to spend time on ways to better use your time. A good example of this is the unnatural act of organization. Spending five minutes looking for your pen, your keys, your watch, your spouse or your kids is a waste of time. Have a specific place for the inanimate things. And for the fleshy items, make sure you have their keys and wallets. They’ll come to you! Here are some more tips based on advice from the Mayo Clinic (not to be confused with the sandwich spread)
Plan each day Avoid last-minute rushes and minimize conflicts by creating and using daily to-do lists and schedules.
Prioritize your tasks If both your house is on fire and you’re out of milk at the same time, put the fire out first.
Delegate Take a look at your to-do list and consider what you can eliminate or pass on to someone else. If your toddler can walk, maybe he or she can run a vacuum or lawnmower.
Take the time you need to do a quality job Measure twice, cut once. Doing work right the first time may take more time upfront, but errors usually result in time spent making corrections (and a screaming boss).
Practice the 10-minute rule Work on something you hate for 10 minutes each day (like reading Achiever stories on time management). Once you get started, you may find you can finish it.
Evaluate how you’re spending your time. Keep a diary of everything you do for three days to determine how you’re spending your time. Look for time that can be used more wisely.
Get plenty of sleep and exercise Improved focus and concentration will help improve your efficiency so that you can complete your work in less time.
Educate yourself Take a class, read books and articles on the subject. And don’t forget to make all those great ideas a part of your life.
Take a break when needed Too much stress? When you need a break, take one. Take a walk. Take a day of vacation or a “sick day.”
Ask for help If you’re too frazzled to think about trying any of these tips, it’s time to ask for help. Does your life feel totally out of control? If so, discuss your situation with your doctor.