Personal Development

3 Simple Strategies to Get the Most Out of Your Time In 2015

3 Simple Strategies to Get the Most Out of Your Time In 2015

Do you struggle to make the most out the time you have? Maybe you feel like there isn't enough time in the day. Whatever your complaint, you recognize that time is your most important commodity and it needs to be maximized.
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Time management is, honestly, one of the biggest under construction areas in my life. I've struggled with it since high school. I think a lot of it has to do with my personality type being a high "i" (according to the DiSC personality test).

I get caught up with people and conversations and that will tend to make me run late or behind to meetings or on projects. At other times, I'll be working on a project and feel so close to a breakthrough or other significant accomplishment that I'll stay where I am later than I need and will be rushed to my next appointment. Could be why I've had so many speeding tickets in my life!

Recently I read and posted a link about Michael Hyatt's eBook "Set Yourself Up for Your Best Year Ever: 8 Strategies Super-Successful High Achievers Use To Prepare For The New Year". In my post I said that 3 of the 8 strategies stood out to me; numbers 4, 5, and 7. I want to focus and put my spin on numbers 4 and 7. These are newer ideas to me, but the last 1, strategy 8 from the eBook, is one that I have advocated for a long time.

1. Cut What Isn't Working.

Even before Michael Hyatt produced his eBook, I had heard author and career coach, Dan Miller, talk about the fact that he cuts the bottom, I believe, 20% of his products and services each year. He, like other high achievers, does this to gain valuable time to create new products and services and/or focus more time on those top producing opportunities.

For example, this Christmas my wife, Bekah, and I (along with our families) have purchased many gifts for our 3 beautiful kids. While this is a joyous occasion for the kids and especially for us as their parents (tis better to give than to receive, remember?), it creates a problem. We still have ALL of their other toys from birthdays and Christmas' past.

So, my wife, brilliant woman that she is, has taken to Facebook's "Swap and Shop" to sell the kids most underused or outdated toys. Even if the toy was the "mostest favoritest" toy in the whole world for a moment in time, she listed it. This did 2 things; 1. it freed up space in our home (a finite resource much like your calendar), 2. it generated income that could then be reinvested into the new toys. That's a win-win if I've ever seen one.

2. Schedule your time.

This is one that I've been actively working on this fall. Whenever I have a phone call or client meeting I try to immediately put it on my Microsoft Outlook or Google Calendar (both of which sync to the calendar app on my iPhone). One thing I have added has been to add invitees to these events when possible. It helps if the person you're meeting with is also there. Even if it's just for a lunch.

The goal would be to schedule your time further and further out. The more time you have to plan, the better your plan or project will go. I will say that I do not believe in over-scheduling. That's where task lists come in. Both Outlook and iOS have task functions and are great for reminding you to do something that doesn't need to have a specific time during the day. It just needs to get done.

3. Take a break.

This one may seem like I'm advocating being lazy, but I promise you that taking strategic breaks have nothing to do with laziness. During my last year of college and 3 graduate classes I've taken, strategic breaks from studying were immeasurably helpful. They kept me focused and the quality of my work high.

In an article from the New York Times, CEO of The Energy Project and author of “Be Excellent at Anything”, Tony Schwartz, reported that a study of elite performers, including musicians, athletes, actors and chess players from Florida State University found that work done in 90-minute intervals produced peak production.

Mr. Schwartz sums this up nicely at the end of the article when he is describing how this philosophy has affected the people at his company, "When we’re renewing, we’re truly renewing, so when we’re working, we can really work."

There is a lot to be said about time management and I didn't try to say it all here. However, I believe these 3 strategies will produce breakthrough in your production at work and the quality of your relationships in 2015. And, hey, I'll be working to carry out these strategies right along with you. So you won't be going at this alone.

[reminder]What strategies do you use to make the most of your time?[/reminder]

P.S. Being that this post is right before Christmas, I want to say Merry Christmas to all of you and your families! I pray that each of you is blessed beyond your wildest dreams and that you are filled with joy as you unwrap, unwind, and understand why you worked so hard this year. To quote the owner of the insurance agency I work for, Steve Capps, "we are blessed to be a blessing."

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