“Ideally, there should be almost nothing during your work hours—whatever you choose those to be—that is not advancing you toward your goals for the career and life you want.”― Laura Vanderkam, 168 Hours
As we go through the pressures and obligations of modern life, it’s normal and natural for us to assume that we’re time-poor. However, compelling research has shown that we’re not as time-poor as we think we are. Besides our sleep hours and full-time employment schedule, we all have enough time for errands, childcare, fitness and hobbies. Yet somehow, most of us don’t feel we’re time-rich. The best solution to this is to take control over our time by changing the way you organize your life.
In order to become time-rich for real, it’s crucial that you take charge of your work calendar. You must be able to pinpoint what exactly you want to achieve in your career. With a definite outcome in mind, you’ll be in a better position to identify your priorities.
Visualize who and where you want to be in five years and then working back from that, set an annual goal, and then break it down further into monthly milestones. Each Sunday, sit down and write a list of goals for the coming week, and then evaluate how long each task will take you. Block out time in your calendar for those assignments and make sure you do all of them without fail.
Here’s the tricky part: You will come across numerous occasions where you’ll have to forego activities that fall beyond your core competencies in order to stick to your previously made commitments. This is incredibly important, because when you perform tasks that you’re not naturally good at, you basically waste time that you could have devoted to something else. Keep in mind, just because you’re capable doesn’t mean you have to do everything. If there’s someone who is better at doing a certain activity than you are, try to have them take care of it. And if a certain task is unavoidable, do your best to minimize the time it takes in your schedule.
The bottomline is that we have to take ownership of our time by constantly discerning whether or not a particular activity is a priority. And if it’s not, then we’re better off minimizing it or abandoning it altogether. This will free up precious time that we can use to advance our careers and focus on things that bring meaning and fulfillment to our lives.
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