How to Own Your Time and Dramatically Boost Your Productivity

Time is the raw material of getting anything worthwhile done.

Time is precious and valuable. More valuable than money. Time is the only element in the world that is irretrievable when it’s lost. Lose money and you can make more. Lose a job and you can find another. But lose time and it’s gone forever.

There are 168 hours every week. And you have an average of 2,400 minutes to yourself each week.

That is a monumental amount of time. Where could it possibly go? Or better still, where are you spending all those hours?

A lot can be achieved day if you know what you are doing at any point in time.

When you stop trying to manage your time and instead take ownership of it, it’s a whole lot easier to be productive and let go of everything you don’t want to do.

There are four real ways to spend your time: thought, conversation, actions and distractions. Choose wisely!

You alone can take ownership of your time and decide how much time to spend on your thoughts, conversations, actions and even purposefuldistractions that will lead to your success.

“You can’t let other people set your agenda in life” says Warren Buffett.

If 80% of your results will come from 20% of your time, imagine if you got it so right, that you only needed to work that 20%.

Protect your time like a valuable investment.

What you do today is important, because you are exchanging a day of your lifefor it.” ~Unknown

Ultra productive people focus on getting a lot done with every minute they have at their disposal.

Allocate time to your tasks at all times.

Each task of the day should be attainable, realistic, and time-bound. And most importantly every task should advance your goals for the day, week or month.The time constraint will push you to focus and be more efficient.

Whatever they are, get clear on them, so that you know what to focus on, and actually have something to do when you generate free time!

Owning your time is not just about having more free time; it’s about knowing what you want and using the time you’re given productively to get there.

“Remember that if you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will” says Greg McKeown.

Reclaim your time and suddenly you’ll have a whole bunch of extra time to work on your life goals, to relax and de-stress yourself, to spend time with family and friends, to read, to improve yourself, to work on a passion project, to exercise. It’ll be one of the most important things you do.

Set time boxes

Take those time boxes you set for yourself and now shrink them! Can you do the same task 10% faster? Maybe 20%? A little more, perhaps?

You’ll find yourself becoming more productive during the time you actually work, because you have to get your stuff done faster.

Give yourself 30 minutes to complete something, or an hour. If the task is too large to complete in an hour, break it into smaller tasks, and time box those smaller tasks.

To help you stick with your new work hours, set appointments for 30 minutes after you’re supposed to get off work. So if you tell yourself you’re absolutely going to leave work at 5 p.m. (or even better, at 3 p.m.), set an appointment for 5:30 p.m. and stick to it.

Set a hard deadline. Set a specific goal for the end of that length of time, and set it in stone.

If you set a tighter deadline for each of your tasks today, you’ll be inspired to find the most productive way to meet those deadlines and get your work done.

Use the Pomodoro technique

The Pomodoro technique teaches us to work with time, instead of struggling against it. It can help you power through distractions and get things done in short bursts.

The Pomodoro Technique, strictly about time-management was developed by Italian entrepreneur Francesco Cirillo. He created this simple study habit (when he was still a college student in the late 1980s) to maximize his productivity and reduce a feeling of burnout.

It focuses on working in short, intensely focused bursts, and then giving yourself a brief break to recover and start over.

The technique requires a timer, and it allows you to break down your large complex task into manageable intervals. Once you break your work into focused time blocks, you can manage it for the rest of time allocated for it.

Separate your urgent tasks from the important ones

What is important today may be urgent tomorrow. It’s your job to know what is urgent and needs immediate attention and what is important that can be put off until tomorrow. Set clear rules and boundaries so you don’t end up taking on too much from others.

When your tasks are separated into important and urgent, you are more likely to give attention to them and get them done as soon as possible. Don’t be afraid to have someone take a message, or to answer that e-mail tomorrow, so you can concentrate on your tasks.

In 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done, Peter Bregman writes, “To get the right things done, choosing what to ignore is as important as choosing where to focus.”

Reduce your commitments. You probably have too much on your plate. If you edit your commitments, you can reduce your workload and the amount of time you need to work.

Practice saying this all-important word: “No.”

Life’s too short to say yes to things, activities, events, and tasks you hate.

Saying YES is driving many people insane. Stop telling yourself you can’t help it. Yes, you can. Stop wasting your time and energy. Especially if you work for yourself.

You always have a choice. Choose your work and projects cautiously. Of course, It’s not always easy to know if the activity or task in question is worthy of a yes.

In the words of Cole Harmonson, “It takes heart to say no when our heart and brains and guts and most important, pride are yearning to say yes, Practice.”

If what you are accepting to do won’t improve, enhance or make you a better person, just say NO and focus on projects that are mutually beneficial to you and the other party.

Find tasks that energize you and light you up, and say yes to those instead.You will be a happy and better person in the end.

You’d find complete focus and do one thing well.

Start figuring out what the most important things in your life are, and cut out the rest. Be ruthless. Call or email or meet with them now, and tell them that you really want to help, but your plate is too full. Make the most of your precious time.

To thrive in a world with distractions, notice where time leaks, then declutter your routine.

Before you go…

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