Twelve billion, two hundred and sixty million (12,260,000,000) - that's how many instances of the word "time" show up on a Google search (as of the writing of this article). There must be something important about this little word to make it so widely used and in so many ways.
One thing is for sure though: we only have so much of it and once it's gone, it's never to be seen again. Since time is so precious and fleeting, I've made up my mind that I'm going to make every minute count...here are three tips on how you can too:
Tip #1: STOP using meaningless excuses
Have you ever caught yourself saying, "I didn't have time to..."? It's a wonderful excuse because everyone uses it! This excuse is based on the assumption that people will automatically understand and sympathize with you in the fact that really, no one can control time and since everyone is always so "busy" sometimes things just don't get done.
You: "Gee, Mr. Customer, I'm sorry you didn't get that order this morning. I just didn't have time to get it out before the end of the day yesterday."
What you really mean is you didn't make time because it wasn't enough of a priority, or didn't plan, or weren't ready, or just plain forgot. If you messed up, just admit it, apologize, and move on! If you truly did run out of time, that's ok. All you need to do is communicate to whomever you need to about the situation, but for goodness sake, don't use excuses.
Tip #2: Be REALISTIC about what you can handle and learn to say ‘No’
Are you one of those people who just can't say 'no'' I know lot's of people like that and one thing I've noticed in common is that they are constantly frustrated about not having enough time. Hmmm, no wonder. I understand the desire to please everyone and to try to make people happy. I also understand that there is a risk of missing out on an opportunity if you say 'no'.
But there's a bigger risk that if you take on more projects or favors than you can handle, either they don't get done in time, or they get done with less quality than you’re capable of. Ultimately, you wind up playing the firefighter running from fire to fire and then you experience burnout (no pun intended...well, maybe a little). Even firefighters only put out one fire at a time.
Tip #3: Get ORGANIZED
"But I’m not very organized!" ,you say. Oops, did you forget Tip #1 already? That's another one of those great excuses that often means "I don't want to get organized", "I don't know how to get organized", "I'm avoiding getting organized because it's too painful to try it because I’ve failed so many times", or here's a good one: "I don't have time to get organized".
Different people have different pictures in mind when thinking about what being or getting organized means. The key is this: There is no single "right" way to be organized. My wife and I are both exact opposites when it comes to how we structure our daily tasks into some sort of a system to help us get things done. I use a PDA, Outlook, my phone calendar, and anything else that I think might remind me of a job I have to do. My wife, however, pretty much has it all in her head and on sticky notes and miscellaneous pieces of paper. To me, it doesn't LOOK organized, but it works for her. Quit beating yourself over the head about the fact that you can't use a certain method or system that seems to work for others. Use the system that WORKS FOR YOU!
"There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important thing." - Brian Tracy