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Managing your time and priorities

“Time is the coin of your life.   It is the only coin you have and only you can determine how it will be sent.  Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you”.

Effective Time Management really begins with planning based on your priorities.   Getting clear on your priorities will help you achieve them.    Time is a limited resource, so we have to make choices.   When the time is gone, it’s gone.   You can always get more money.     But you can never get time.

There are three (3) keywords that will achieve better Time Management:

1)   KNOWLEDGE –   You need to know clearly what you need or want to do.

2)   CHOICE   –   You need to make choices among the actions that demand your time.

3)   TIME –   You need to schedule time to act on your choices.

Time Management is about prioritizing objectives in order of importance, rather than urgency.   Setting objectives is about planning.    Planning is about control.   Being in control is being self-empowered.

The Purpose of Planning

Planning is the process by which you determine whether you should attempt the task, work out the most effective way of reaching your target, and prepare to overcome unexpected difficulties with adequate resources.    It is the start of the process by which you turn empty dreams into achievements.   It helps you to avoid the trap of working extremely hard but achieving little.

Planning is an up-front investment in success.    The planning process helps you:

  • Take stock of your current position
  • Identify precisely what is to be achieved
  • Detail precisely the who, what, when and why and how of achieving your target goal
  • Assess the impact of your plan on your organization, the people within it, and the outside world
  • Evaluate whether the effort, costs, and implications of achieving your goal are worth the achievement
  • Evaluate how much time you have available
  • Determine which actions or tasks need to be done
  • Prioritize the tasks or actions in order of importance.

After you have completed your planning, the next objective is to prioritize what it will take to achieve your goal or task.

Determining Priorities

You have only 24 hours of day or (86,400 seconds).    You can’t get any more time, but the possible demands of your time are infinite.   If you are to spend your time doing what’s important to you, and not simply reacting to demands, you must make a conscious decision in how to allocate your time.   A good way to start is to identify your priorities.

One key reason why prioritizing works and works well, is the Pareto Principle, or 80/20 rule.   The 80/20 rule states that 80 percent of our typical activities contribute less than 20 percent to the value of our work.

So, if you do only the most important 20 percent of your tasks, you still get most of the value.   Then, if you focus most of your efforts on those top value activities, you achieve much more than before, and you will have more discretionary time to spend how you want.

Prioritizing is making choices of what to do and what not to do.   To prioritize effectively, you need to be able to recognize what is important, as well as to see the difference between urgent and important.

The important or high priority tasks are the tasks that help us achieve our long-term goals or can have other meaningful and significant long-term consequences.

What if you cup up your challenge into 10 equal pieces, what first obvious chunk would you or could you consider facing right away?

What could be the smallest step in the right direction?

What can you control in the situation?
What can’t you control in the situation?
What might you control that you haven’t been?

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