The time we have, every day, is precious. Your time should be a positive force in your life, but for far too many of us, time and how we use it becomes a source of stress, the cause of excuses, frustration and leads to procrastination and anger. Some tell-tell signs include constantly putting things off, rushing at the very last minute to get things done, and becoming exhausted in the process. The problem is that we allow the “NOISE” of life to get in the way. We allow low priority “noise” to take precedent over high priority “noise”. The key to personal success is to learn to manage the noise that steals our time.
You can take charge of your life today. You’ll need to commit to change and more importantly to adapt a powerful discipline. My favorite definition of a discipline is; “Doing what you have to do, When you have to do it….whether you want to or not!” It’s that kind of discipline that is required on a daily, minute by minute basis to once again control your time and manage the noise. David Allen, the author of Getting Things Done says “the problem is that everybody is getting distracted by the latest and loudest. They fail because they haven’t captured, clarified, organized, or built in a regular review system they trust.”
To get your system started let’s keep it simple. There are four initial disciplines to master;
- HONEST ANALYSIS: Ok, it’s time to be brutally honest with yourself. Are you fed up with the way things are going? If you are, quit making excuses and do something about it. Sit down and focus on analyzing the way you spend a typical day or a typical week. What are the things you need to do more of, sooner, in order to improve the quality and quantity of your output and results!
- PLANNING: Plan your next day, every night before going to bed. In 1929 Napoleon Hill wrote in Think and Grow Rich, the importance of this step. Every evening make time to sit down in silence and list everything that you need to do, tomorrow.
- PRIORITIZATION: Once the list is complete then ask yourself which one of your tasks has the highest consequence if you didn’t do it. Be honest. Not everything has the same consequence. Whichever task has the highest consequence, that’s the one you do first. Followed by number two and so on. You may be surprised at the things that have very little consequence are getting in the way of things that have a huge consequence. A simple Law of Time Management is “never allow the least important tasks replace the most important tasks. When you get up in the morning you are ready to do the most important task of the day when you are the most rested and least distracted.
- PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY: Ask yourself throughout the day the one primary question that will keep you on track. Every thirty minutes ask yourself, “Is what I’m doing right now the number one thing I should be doing to move my goals ahead?” if it isn’t… STOP doing it and get back on track.
You can improve the quality of your life TODAY by committing to control of your time and managing the noise!