Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What is the Most Valuable Use of Your Time Right Now?

By Joshua Rodriguez

One of the most important skills you must develop in order to achieve your goals is the ability to properly manage your time. You may have been disorganized your entire life, and procrastination may be your middle name, but this can and must change if you are to achieve everything you can. Time management is a skill, just like any other skill that you can learn, practice, and eventually master.

The first key to time management is to begin with a clear vision and understanding of your long-range goals. You must first decide what you would like to accomplish in the long-term for each area of your life, including family relationships, health and fitness, and career and finances. This is an entire exercise in itself, and we won't go too deeply into it for now. However, the basic idea is really to determine what your eventual goals are for each part of your life, and then to break down these goals into smaller, more easily achievable goals that will be accomplished over the next few months and years.

If you're just getting started with goal setting, you should probably start with some more short-term goals that are easier to achieve and don't take as much faith or confidence over the long-term.

Once you know what you wish to accomplish in these areas, both in the short term and long term, you need to develop lists so you can begin to accomplish milestones each month along the way.

The real trick to time management, if you want to think of it this way, is to learn to manage yourself and not time. After all, you can't do anything about the number of hours you have today, and you don't have any more or less time than anyone else in the world. We all have 24 hours per day, and you must learn to use these as efficiently as possible.

Learn to identify the tasks that are unimportant and seem to interrupt your day. You may feel like you are staying busy in accomplishing much during your workday, but you might be spending most of your time on low value tasks that do nothing as far as your long-term goals. Instead, focus on the 80/20 rule, which simply says that you must spend 80% of your time on the 20% of tasks that have the most benefit in your work and personal lives.

Ultimately, you must answer the question we posed at the beginning of this article. What is the most valuable use of your time at this moment? What could you be doing each day in order to move yourself one step closer towards achieving your goals. If you can answer this honestly and, more importantly, if you take action immediately, you can become much more productive than you have ever been. You can even become one of the most productive members of your field and can ultimately reach all of your your goals much more quickly than you ever thought possible.