There is one thing that every person has in common, one great equalizer that no one can purchase more of or be robbed of. This resource is time. Everyone is given the same twenty four hours every day of their life until death comes and we enter into eternity. The question you have to ask yourself every day when you wake up and look in the mirror is, “What am I going to do with my time today?”
I want to share with you three things I have recently done to maximize the 24 hours in each of my days. My hope is that they will help you get more out of your time in order to maximize your potential and bring the vision for your life into reality.
I am still amazed that many of the people I coach and meet with do not keep an effective, written calendar. Especially in the day of smartphones and apps I would think this is a no brainer and it should be. Having a written calendar is essential for your to not only stay on track with the tasks that are most important but it is an essential tool to help you look back and review what you have done to see if you can make changes for greater productivity.
Just like keeping a written budget allows you to track progress or failure, a written calendar allows you to do the same. I’ve been using Outlook for years, primarily because it is the default email and calendar system for my employer. While a bit clunky and not as beautiful to look at as other products, I find it is fairly easy to use. Whatever calendar system you use, make sure it is easy to access and has options for reminder alerts so you stay on track and intentional with your day.
Your calendar should work for you, not against you. Fill it out according to what you need to be doing to make the most progress towards conquering your goals. At the end of the day update your calendar as to what really happened. This will help when you look back and reflect at the end of the week in order to make an honest assessment and make changes for the week to come.
How do you choose what you will say yes to or no to? Most people say yes to too many things, over-committing themselves, and then delivering subpar performances. Before you make a decision regarding a commitment you need to first evaluate yourself. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What do you enjoy doing? What depletes your energy and makes you want to crawl into a cave until Spring time? Knowing yourself, knowing your role and responsibilities, and knowing your calendar will allow you to make better decisions on what you should commit to.
Learn to say no and you will be able to start delivering superior performances on the few things you enjoy doing and are able to do well.
Not only should you have a written calendar and be intentional about what you put on your calendar, you should also be mindful of when you schedule tasks throughout your day. Many people have written on this and while it is good to get insight from others, sometimes we forget that every person is wired a bit different. The key for you is to know exactly how you specifically function.
Your schedule should help you know how to maximize the hours in your day to their fullest potential. In my current job as a lead pastor, my specific role has me spending a large portion of my work week on writing and speaking prep. As I have been evaluating my calendar and my work I have found that I usually write the quickest and best in the morning and in the later part of the evening. This is not the case in the afternoon where my mind wanders too much and I end up writing novels of meaninglessness. I use this knowledge to inform and make changes to my schedule. I also know that while I enjoy meeting and talking with people this task usually leaves me pretty drained for the rest of the day. Scheduling these tasks in the morning kills my productivity for the rest of the day so now, the majority of my meetings take place in the afternoon after I have done tasks that energize and motivate me.
Being mindful of my schedule makes it easier to place specific tasks throughout my day. What may drain me may motivate and inspire you. The key is to be observe how and when you best function and to take advantage of those specific times during the day.
Do you have a written calendar that you follow and update? How do you make decisions regarding what you will say yes to or no to? Do you take time to assess and make changes to your schedule to maximize the most out of the 24 hours of your day?