Do You Run Your Life
Or Does It Run You?

It’s Time to Take Control Of Your Life

If the last thing on your list is time for you and the things that are important to you, it’s time to make some changes.

How Do You Spend Your Time?

Are you constantly doing whatever shouts loudest? If time runs away from you it’s time to get it under control.

Everybody has 24 hours a day. You can’t create more time but you can make better choices about how you spend the time you have.

When you choose how to spend your time, you live life purposefully and spend more time and energy on what’s important to you.

Honouring your priorities and focusing on one thing at a time reduces stress and helps you to accomplish more with less effort.

Multi-Tasking Is Overrated

Do you tend to think about the things you didn’t get done or think about what you need to do instead of concentrating on what you’re doing now?

Are you trying to do too many things at once?

When you scatter your thoughts and attention you can end up being pulled in too many directions and feeling rushed.

When you multi–task you often end up with a number of things only partly done. This leaves you feeling dissatisfied and even anxious.

When you give your full attention to what you’re doing or to the people you’re speaking to, you’ll feel more satisfied.

Choosing to focus your thoughts and energy, doing one thing at a time and doing it well, helps you to do more, with increased peace and a greater sense of fulfillment.

How Do You Use Your Time?

Life is full of possibilities. You’re constantly faced with choices. Because there isn’t enough time to do everything you end up giving up one thing to do another.

The problem is that you tend to concentrate on things you think you should do that aren’t satisfying and aren’t always as important as you think they are.

When you know what’s important to you and have clear priorities, it’s easier to make wise choices about how to spend your time.

When you focus on things that are important to you, you’ll feel good because you’re spending time doing what you want to do and making more effective use of your time.

Set Priorities

Setting priorities helps you to make thoughtful, informed choices about how best to spend your time. When you set priorities you live your life on purpose and usually get more done.

Ask Yourself

  • Why am I doing this?
  • Is it something I feel I ought to do or is it something I really want to do?
  • Could someone else do it?
  • Do I really need to do it now or could it wait?
  • Does it support my goals?
  • Does it honour my values?
Once you’ve decided what’s important to you in each area of your life it’s much easier to prioritise. You’ll be free to choose the things that are important and leave the less important things for now.

Be honest with yourself about what you can do and what you want to do. Priorities change. Different things are important at different times in your life.

Schedule Your Time

Plan to do things that are important to you and set yourself a deadline. Build a buffer zone into each day. You could schedule an hour or more for dealing with the unexpected, for things that take longer than expected, or as ‘me time’.

Dealing with a backlog

If you’re behind with things, you’re probably being driven by deadlines and feeling under pressure. The good news is that you can get back on top.

I’d recommend putting the backlog in a tray with the most important things on top. This separates it from new stuff. Deal with new things as they come in and allocate half an hour each day to deal with the backlog.

It’s a simple but effective approach and enables you to gradually do what seemed impossible. You’ll feel heartened as you see the backlog gradually dwindle.

Things to consider

  • What energises you?
  • What drains you?
  • What do you want to have more of in your life?
  • What is the most important thing for you to have in your life right now?
  • What’s stopping you from having it?
  • What are you going to do about it?

How Do You Really Use Your Time?

Over the next week keep a detailed record of how you spend your time each day.

After a week, review and ask yourself:

  • What do I spend most of my time doing?
  • What am I missing out on because of my lifestyle?
  • How can I make time for what I want to do?
  • What can I do less of?
  • What can I get someone else to do?
  • What can I do differently to free up time?

Take Action

List ways you misuse your time.
  • Do you check your e-mails every hour?
  • Do you look through the post, put it on one side to deal with later, then find yourself reading through things a number of times before actually dealing with them?
  • Do you do things that other people could do?
  • Do you switch the TV on when you get home and watch whatever happens to be on?
  • Do you say yes to invitations because you feel obliged to?

List things you can do differently

What could you delegate or ask for help with? Make a list of things you will do to release time. Decide when you will do them. You could:
  • Decide to handle mail only once - either bin it, file it or take immediate action.
  • Get each family member to do one more household chore.
  • Have shopping delivered.
  • Only watch things on TV that you actually want to watch.
  • Say no to things that you don’t really want to spend time on.

Something To Think About

Why do you say yes when you mean no?

Saying yes to something always means saying no to something else. By saying yes, what are you saying no to?

Begin to make your needs a priority and say NO to someone today! A good rule is never to say yes immediately unless you really want to do it. Buy yourself time to think it through. You can always say yes later.

Take Action

Simply reading this article won’t make much difference to your life.

Setting time aside to work through the steps and answer the questions posed here will set you on the road to taking control of your life.

Decide when you will begin and allocate time in your diary.

You’ll be glad you did.

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