Many waste their time setting goals and running after them just to find out after years of hard work that this is not what they really wanted. This is because they where thinking of goals instead of thinking how they want to live their life. The key to good time management is to look at the present moment: What do I value, and where am I spending my time?
Let us do this ten minute time management exercise together. Ready?
- Get a pencil and paper: yes; a pen would do
- What do you value most in life? Before you say “money,” there are things more important to you than money. While money can be a factor, it is not the only factor and definitely not the most important factor. So please do not rush to the money part too quickly. Your list might be one point: Happiness. Or it might have multiple points like: happiness, family, peace of mind, fulfillment, security, good health, spiritual connection, etc. Do not be political in what you write. No one is looking. Just write down what comes to mind. Add more. Remove some. Make it your own list, using your own words.
- Prioritize the list: There are a lot of things we value. All of them are important, but which is the most?This is why we need now to prioritize them. I hope by now you have brought the pencil and paper and started jotting down your thoughts and prioritizing. Prioritize. Here is an example:
- List your daily routine: What do you do (with whom and where) on an average day from the moment you wake up in the morning to that same moment the next day. Here is an example:
- 6 -6:30 am Wake up and prayer
- 6:30 – 8 sleep
- 8 – 8:30 get ready for work
- 8:30 -9 Drive to work
- 9 – 1 Work at the office
- 1-2 Lunch
- 2-5 Work at the office
- 5-5:30 drive home
- 5:30-6 dinner
- 6-7 spend time with kids
- 7-10 visit…
- 10-12 watch TV with family
- Compare your daily routing to the values list you made and answer the following questions:
- What are you doing in your daily routine that serves your top priorities. For example, let us say you value having good health. What are you doing in your daily routine to support this value?
- Is there a better alternative? Are there activities that can serve multiple purposes that you can introduce to your daily routine. For example, I like to learn a new language, and I can have an audio CD to learn the language while driving to work.
- What activities are not serving your top priorities? Why are you doing them? can you replace them with things that you like and serve your values?
- Do not do sudden or major changes. Instead choose one small improvement at a time. For example, if you like to have peace of mind, and feel that 20 minute meditation would help, but you do not have time. Introduce mediation for 5 minutes first, by waking up 5 minutes earlier. As it becomes a routine you can build on it further.
Did you try the exercise? How was it? Please share with us your thoughts so we can learn from your experience.