Time-Starved? Time to Optimize!

Jul 11, 2016

Time is one of the greatest complexities of life. It is the combination of accuracy, measurement and perspective. Time measures, it denotes accuracy but it is left to the individual perspective as to how quickly it moves, how accurate it is and where the time went.  In a time-starved society it is not about saving time, finding more time or wasting time as in past generations – it is all about optimizing time.

Even though time can’t be pinned down, life often demands that you live within a framework of schedules, timetables and deadlines. Sadly we are too busy to be organized – leaving room for optimization. TimeStarved

Here are five great tools to get you started:

1. The daily planner

A daily planner keeps your goals, schedule and vital information together in one place. By glancing at your daily planner each evening, you can plan the following day.

Your daily planner could be an app on a smart phone, lap top or tablet, or a printed appointment book—or a combination of these. Whatever you use, choose a planner that is

    • Provides a place to create a to-do list
    • A calendar and a place to record notes, reminders, thoughts, etc.
    • Small enough to carry with you

It’s also a good idea to review and record your goals in your daily planner at the beginning of each month. This will help you stay in touch with what’s most important to you.

2. The to-do list

Time management experts say that list-making is one of the most useful tools because it helps you visualize and prioritize your plans. The value of a to-do list cannot be under-emphasized. This will help you stay in touch with what’s urgent, prioritize organize your thoughts in your mind, reduce redundant thinking, worrying and feeling paralyzed and overwhelmed. Do keep in mind that a to-do list helps you manage time, understand what is required, it does not change what you are passionate about.  So be realistic – prioritize based on what is needed by time, not what is the most fun or most interesting to do.

3. The done list

This list, or what the to-do list can becomes, is an important motivator because it encourages you to acknowledge what your hard work achieves – pat on the back and a sense of what did I do!  It stands as a statement about what can be accomplished and usually more than you thought. Include all of the items on your to-do list that you’ve completed as well as other important things you did. If you tend to worry, your done list can show you how much you’ve actually accomplished.

4. A place for everything

This well-known saying creates a calmer environment by reducing clutter. Practise telling yourself: don’t put it down—put it away. This includes emails which are often left and clutter and in box as a reminder of something to do that never gets done.  It is not different from mail cluttering a counter or binders a desk.  This may take some effort at first, but returning things to their designated place can become a habit before you know it, and will save you hours of time in the long run.

5. Manage your phone and screen time.

This can be challenging but it can make a big difference in the amount of time available for more important things. Start by keeping track of the time you spend in one week in front of screens texting, social networking or browsing online, watching TV or playing video games—time that’s not directly related to school or work. The number of hours may surprise you. When you think of how much time in a month or even a year you spend watching a screen, you may decide to make some changes.

Sure answering a text will only take a moment out of your day but the onslaught of the distraction can equal not just time but efficiency. You can choose to answer phone calls or texts at the time that’s best for you. These are not tools to allow others to interrupt your day but to have the control to be connected or disconnected as needed.  You may choose to make some evenings screen-free.

Take some time to find out which time-saving tools are right for you. You can sometimes make very simple changes in your life and discover that you have much more time available when it is not cluttered by distraction, external noise and the urgency of others. Then, you can effectively use that time to accomplish what’s most important to you.