If you caught Part 1 of “Where does Your Time Go?” you got access to the daily time log.  If you downloaded and used it to see where your time was going over period of a week, you’ve got some data that you can use now.

Look at each day’s log and note what you see.  Where is your time really going; are you spending it on what’s important to you?  Are you giving time to the tasks that will help you accomplish your goals? If not, what’s in the way?  Are there any patterns that you notice with regard to the things you’re doing? What kind of interruptions are you faced with and how are you dealing with them?  Do you always stop to accommodate people when they come into your office and if so, look to see how much time you spent during the week that you logged just dealing with interruptions.  That time adds up very quickly.

What happens at particular times of the day?  If you’re not getting the important things done, you need to ask yourself a couple of questions:  What’s keeping you from getting things done and is procrastination at play? Are you making time to plan or is your focus on rushing and putting out fires because of a lack of planning?  What habits are supporting you and which ones are hindering your productivity?  Be completely honest about what you see in the big picture.

You can also create a time map to see how much time you’re spending in each area of your life.  Perhaps you want to see how much of your week is spent on work and how much time you’re actually spending on yourself.  We all know that for the majority of people who don’t really know where their time is going, not much is allotted for “me time”.  So sad, but true.  This might not look so pretty on paper, but it’s so important to know and well worth the time it takes to do it.

What things do you see in your way?  Procrastination, interruptions; maybe it’s a lack of planning.  These are indicators that some new habits should be created.  Look at what you’re procrastinating on and learn why you’re procrastinating; learn how to handle and minimize the interruptions and get into the habit of planning.

Looking at how you’re spending your time will give you a clue as to how you’re relating to time.  Once you know that, you can set the stage for improving that relationship.  If you’re not spending time on the important things, then shift gears and your focus so that your time is spent working on the important things, because after all, if you’re not working on the important things, what’s the point?

Making time to discover where your time is going is an important step toward effective time management and it’s just the beginning.  Remove the unimportant things from your to-do items.  Doing so won’t happen over night, but it is possible.  Next, discover your time management personality and choose a time management tool that fits your personality and use it in your regular planning along with other tools and habits to complete a solid time management system.

 

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