Author H. Jackson Brown, Jr. wisely stated:
Don’t say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.
Take a minute to let that sink in. Think about what those people accomplished with the time they had - imagine what they would do in today’s world with today’s resources, and within that same amount of time. Now, imagine what you could do. Imagine what you can do.
It’s easy to write off dreams, wishes, and even ordinary to-do items when you tell yourself that you don’t have enough time. However, you probably have more time than you think you have. How? It’s all about time management. If you learn to manage your time effectively by using the principles listed below, you’ll find that you can create more time into your schedule.
1. Make a to-do list
There’s nothing more helpful than a to-do list - that is, if you use it as you’re supposed to. It’s best to keep one large to-do list and then create a smaller to-do list for each individual day, choosing only the items that are most important for that day and leaving the other items on the larger list. This smaller daily to-do list can be made the night before or the morning of- just make sure you make it! The list will help you prioritize the things that need to get done. As you work on those items and other items pop into your head, add them to the notepad; when you take a break from your current task or are switching from task to task, look at the items on the notepad and decide which ones can be moved to the large to-do list and which items are important enough to be added to today’s list. Don’t forget to include items that allow you to be creative, such as playing the guitar for 30 minutes, or items that feed your soul, such as calling a friend. While these items may seem like ones you can skip over, they are incredibly important for your mental and emotional health.
2. Make a schedule, and stick to it
Sometimes looking at a list can be overwhelming and you don’t know where to start, which then impedes your ability to use your list. To combat this, when you’re creating your daily to-do list, try to organize the items from most important to least important. If it helps, number the items 1-10 and tell yourself that you can’t move onto #2 until you’ve accomplished #1. If the list looks daunting, don’t be embarrassed to add some easy items, such as “eat breakfast” or “take a 10 minute walk,” just so you can cross them off and feel accomplished. Everyone deserves small victories throughout the day!
3. Keep your focus on your current task
Reminders, inspirations, and distractions come to us in random moments and can easily take us away from our current tasks. Whether it be a thought popping into your mind, a notification appearing onto your screen, or a person asking you to do something else, it’s easy to allow our focus to shift from one thing to another and to another; this not only prevents us from giving our all to the task at hand but it also prevents us from fulling concentrating on the distraction task that took us away from the original task. In order to focus on your current task without ignoring the reminders and inspirations, always keep a notepad next to you so that you can write down the other tasks that demand attention. Once you write it down, you can forget about it until you have enough time to give it the amount of attention it needs - your full focus.
4. Beware of Social Media
One of the biggest time wasters is social media. How often do you pull up Instagram or Facebook for “just a minute,” only to get pulled in and realize later that you’ve just wasted 30 minutes looking at useless information? If you find this is a common problem, take steps to fix it. Maybe it’s turning off notifications for those apps so you aren’t tempted to look at them. Maybe it’s setting a timer when you are in the app to ensure you don’t waste too much precious time scrolling through things that are not important. If you’re not sure how much time you spend on social media, use your phone’s “screen time” setting to figure out how much time you spend on social media each day - you might be surprised at how the minutes add up.
5. Be inspired by others
Remember that list of influential people? Let their accomplishments inspire you to follow your dreams, never give up, and change the world! The world needs you and your ideas. You are the only person who thinks the way you think, knows the things you know, and can do the things you can do. Follow the example of others who have gone before you who have used their time wisely and changed the world in the process. Each minute you have is precious - don’t let any of them go to waste!
6. Don’t feel discouraged
If you’ve made a schedule but more important tasks keep popping up or one specific task took much longer than expected, don’t feel discouraged. If you didn’t accomplish what you planned on accomplishing that day or that week, don’t give up. That’s the thing about time - there’s always more of it tomorrow. Learning to manage and make the most of your time is an important skill that will improve your life. Life circumstances will grant you more or less time each day but if you are continually cognizant about your time and your schedule, you can continue striving to reach your potential.
It’s high time to start making the most of your time. By following the above principles, you can make the most of your minutes and have the time of your life!