If we do not become a master of our time, our time will master us.

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same several hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”  ― H. Jackson Brown Jr.

We are given the same 24 hours in a day, but it is up to you how you tackle it. We have all heard this before, but it is a critical lesson to revisit again to develop a mastery attitude. If we do not become a master of our time, our time will master us. What does your schedule look like today? Tomorrow? Is it too overwhelming to even think about? You are not alone.

Here are some tips to help you manage your time:

  • Pick one day out of the week to forecast how the rest of your week will play out. Use your smartphone, desk/wall calendar, sticky notes–whatever it takes to plan out how each day should start and finish. Allow yourself some leeway in between your responsibilities to live life! Schedule yourself what needs to get done and allow the gaps of “nothingness” to stay open for when appointments gets shifted around.
  • For every project I start, I turn on my apps Stone Hill Time Card and Focus Bar. If you have not tried using these free apps, I highly recommend you try them! When I do similar projects for different clients on the same platforms, I notice my brain stays focused for the first hour and then starts to wonder. As soon as my mind starts to wonder off task, it is hard to get it back on track. Do you know what I mean? These apps gently remind you, what task you should be focusing on and shows you how long you have worked on it. Clocking my project time used to intimidate me, but overtime I have used the graphs SHTC generates as a guide on where I need to improve.
  • Set a bedtime for yourself. (I’m serious about this one.) How many of us count the number of hours of sleep we will get if we go to bed at this hour? I have a friend who turns off all her electronic devices about an hour before her bedtime, dims the lights about 30 minutes before, and falls into bed right when she is suppose to. I admire her discipline, but it does not always work out that way for me. It is enough to say, by 9pm slow down. Ween yourself off the computer and put your cell on airplane mode for the night to start focusing on rest for the night.
  • Mornings come early enough as it is without a good night’s sleep, but to get up the same time every day trains your body to listen. Start listening to your body from the night before. Did you stay up too late working on a project? Do you need more coffee to stay awake? Sleep tracking apps like Sleep On It and others can be quite helpful by taking the guess-work out of knowing how much sleep your body actually needs. By going to bed early enough to get up and start the day, I have had some of the most productive days imaginable!
  • Exercise. Schedule yourself some time to burn off the day by scorching calories. I’m not asking you to train for a marathon every time you work out, but an activity that gets your heart rate up for 15 minutes or more. Do it at least three times a week. I remember telling myself I was too tired and far too busy to work out, but squeezed in time anyway. I have been known to put dinner in the oven for 45 minutes, lace up my shoes, and head out to power walk around my neighborhood. After my workout, I would come back in time for dinner. Find time for exercise–there’s no good reason not to.
  • Meditate. Pray. Relax. Repeat. When we can find our center in the midst of a chaotic week, we have balance in knowing what we can and cannot do. By keeping your mind, body, spirit, and soul balanced overlays into your professional life in a subtle way to give you a competitive edge. The next time you feel overworked and exhausted, take a few deep breaths to regain your center. Keeping yourself in control of what you can and allow the rest to work itself out when you are back to 100%.
  • Did you finish your project earlier than expected? Did you make the deadline? Reward yourself! Small victories lead to bigger accomplishments. To be your own motivator is not always easy, but sometimes you are the only one who can motivate you exactly the way you need to be motivated.
  • Have a “me” day. On this day, I avoid looking at any electronic devices and enjoy the day for what it is–a “me” day. This is your chance to do the things you could not get to during the week that required your undivided attention. Is it cooking a home cooked meal? Is it exercising or spending time with a loved one? Whatever it may be, go out and do it without a second thought and allow yourself to recharge.

How are you managing your time?

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