Time Magazine predicted years ago that Americans would have lots of leisure time because of new technologies. For most Americans—particularly busy Farm Bureau leaders—this hasn’t proven to be true. So it’s still important to manage that limited resource—your time—to get the most of it.
It’s important to not confuse activity with productivity. We may be busy, but are we doing the things that are most important to us?
We all have time wasters in our lives: our phones, social media, crisis management, lack of priorities, distractions, ineffective or no delegation, doing too much, being disorganized, procrastinating, etc. If we let them, time wasters can control our lives.
Time management is really “self-management”. Ask yourself, “What is the best use of my time right now?” Often there is little problem answering the question, the difficulty comes in doing the thing we identified. Yet we know if the job is left undone, it will likely cause a problem or crisis down the road, like equipment whose maintenance has been neglected.
Keep a log of how you spend your time on a typical day. You may be surprised about how much time you spend on the phone, or that you could have saved a trip to town by consolidating errands.
Next, list your goals. Not just short-term goals and not just work goals. Set goals in all areas of your life: family, career, financial, spiritual, social, mental, physical.
Now make a daily “To Do” list. Look at the list and see if your “To Do” list is supporting your goals.
Prioritize your list. “A” for things that MUST be done today. “B” for things that SHOULD be done. “C” for things that COULD be done. You can’t do everything, so assign an “A” to the things of most value. Be aware that we can spend a lot of time on “Cs” because they are fun, or quick, but they’re not the things that really matter. But today’s “C” may become tomorrow’s “B”.
Writing things down in one place will help ensure that things don’t fall through the cracks.
Making a “To Do” list and setting priorities takes only minutes of your time, but it has a high pay-off. You have a 400 percent better chance of actually doing something if you write it down than if you don’t.