The Five Stages of Exceptional Time Management

The Stewardship Of Time 

We all want more time in the day to get things done right?

Here’s the truth……we don’t actually need more time. We just need to become better with the time we have. In fact, we need to become master stewards of our time. 

Here is a useful definition of stewardship: “someone’s stewardship of something is the way in which that person controls or organizes it.”

Start to see time as a resource that you can direct, allocate and maximise. YOU have the power to control and organise your time. You can do this in a way that will empower you to get more done and feel more accomplished.   

This blog post will break down 5 key steps that will lead you into time management success – let’s dive in! 

Step 1: Time Management Goals 

The first step is to define some goals for yourself. Think about how you feel at the end of your working week. Do you feel like you got everything done? Or do you feel overwhelmed about the amount you didn’t get done?  

Try not to beat yourself up here as work schedules and to do lists can be very crazy! 

Start to get a vision of positive change in the area of time management. See yourself on a Friday afternoon feeling accomplished and satisfied that you’ve completed 95% of your tasks. Get specific and write out 3 time management goals to achieve in the next 6 – 12 months. 

Here are a few examples: 

  • Complete 95% of all administration tasks by Friday afternoon 
  • Be ready to start work 15 minutes before my official start time 
  • Eliminate procrastination from my working day 

Step 2: Get Into A Good Headspace 

Before you start work it’s vital to remove all distracting thoughts about anything non-work related. This can include thoughts about family, weekend plans, finances, or relationships. 

If your mind is not 100% clear and focussed on work, this will affect how well you can concentrate and effectively steward your time. 

When you’re in the office or virtual office, make a point up be fully present. You can do this by removing thoughts about other aspects of your life. 

To help you further, here are some practical things you can do:

  • Turn your phone face down or put it away in a drawer during working hours 
  • Remove all rubbish and clutter from your desk
  • Avoid workplace social chatter

Step 3: Choose a Strategy 

A strategy is simply a plan you can follow every day that will ensure your time is being directed and managed most effectively.  

We’ll go through some strategies that you can consider implementing as part of your working week. 

  • Diary management: This involves having a paper diary that is only used for work purposes. The diary is used as a daily planner, for reminders, scheduling meetings, listing work tasks and scheduling annual leave.
  • Online calendar: You can use an online calendar such as Google calendar or Microsoft Outlook to schedule tasks and the time it takes you to do each task. You can colour code different sections of your day/activities and also share invitations for meetings which can be useful.
  • Time management apps: There are several apps you can use to manage projects or tasks. Some popular apps include Asana and Trello. The apps can be used as an electronic planner for specific projects at work or everyday to-do lists. The disadvantage is having the app open to track how you are doing against your tasks. This can be distracting as the apps are on your phone. 
  • Time blocking: This involves blocking out time in your diary or planner to focus solely on a specific task. During this time you are only focusing on that one task, for example, answering emails. 
  • Planning & prioritising: Every day should have a plan of action. Incorporate a planning method for your day which prioritises tasks in order of importance. Take care of the harder and more time-consuming tasks in the morning. Most people have a much higher level of concentration and energy in the morning so they have a larger capacity to work on more complex tasks. Do mundane boring tasks in the afternoon.

Step 4: Execute Your Strategy 

Executing your time management strategy is all about carrying out your plan and producing positive and noticeable change.

Your time management plan must be followed every day in order for it to be successful. 

Here are 6 quick tips to help you execute your strategy effectively: 

  • Commitment – In order for the plan to be successful, you must make a personal commitment to see it through. Firstly, commit to actually making a plan, then commit to sticking with it. 
  • Write it down – Record your goals and strategy to create a time management plan. Write down what you are trying to achieve and what you will do to get there. 
  • Honesty – Be honest about your area of weakness when it comes to time management. Are you easily distracted by chatting? Are you leaving the house in a rush causing you to be flustered? Do you have no daily or weekly planning? 
  • Accountability – The purpose of accountability is for you to track your progress against your goals. Share your plan with your manager and review it once a month. If you’re an entrepreneur, review your progress with yourself, your partner or a good friend. 
  • Reward: Reflect every month on how you’re doing and reward yourself once progress has been made. Bring on the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream! 

Step 5: Stay Consistent 

Staying consistent is a vital part of your time management success. Do the same thing every day and keep chipping away at your areas of weakness. 

I was that person: always late to everything, distracted by nonsense and chatting way too much at work. Now I’m super organised, timely productive and happier.

It has taken some time and lots of effort but If I can do it, so can you! 

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