Ever seem like your days get shorter and shorter and your to-do list gets longer and longer? Sometimes it seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day to complete half of the tasks you’ve set out to do. Maybe you have 10 appointments you need to schedule, but the day got away from you between getting the kids to school, running errands and doing yard work. Your time seems to run low as your days are filled with minor, time-consuming tasks.
There comes a point when you have to prioritize what is important, what is urgent, what is unimportant and what is not urgent. There are some things that are important but not urgent, like getting lunch with a friend. It is important to maintain the relationship and allow it to grow, but lunch with a friend is less urgent than putting out a fire in the kitchen (urgent and important). There are other things that are urgent but not very important in the grand scheme of things, and there are also things that are simply just not urgent or important, like watching TV or playing video games.
While most of these things are fairly enjoyable, it’s important to prioritize and add value to your time. If your days are so consumed with answering insignificant emails, watching TV and goofing off with friends, you will not be able to grow at work. You have to organize your days so that you get the appointments scheduled first, and then you can use the rest of your time for other things.
If you want to accomplish more on a daily basis, you have to be dedicated to weeding out the unnecessary ways you spend your time. If you want to grow at work and earn a higher role and salary, you have to maximize your potential by spending your time on things that are important and will help you grow.
What’s the first step to maximizing your time? Evaluate your life as it stands. Draw the graph pictured and map out your regular activities, categorizing them within the quadrants (be honest). If you watch TV for five hours every night, consider the true value of TV – what does it add to your life and how do you benefit from spending your time that way? What could you be doing with that time instead?
After you have categorized your activities based on their urgency and importance, you will have a better idea of how and where you are wasting valuable time. Once you have your graph completed, choose certain activities to eliminate or spend less time on, and find more urgent and important activities to spend that time on. Set goals and work toward them, and you will see yourself growing and improving before you know it!