Effective Time Management

If you’re a goal-achiever, how many times have you had friends ask you the following question: “I don’t have time to do everything I want, how do you do it all?” What I personally hear all of the time is this: How can you lead an international company, travel extensively, train for Ironman triathlons, write books, read and learn from books every day (40-50 pages of something valuable every day – if you do this you will read on average one book per week), read blogs and articles, tutor foreign adults in English, etc.? I ask these people what a day looks like for them? What area did they waste the most time? What areas do you suppose people waste the most time? If you guessed TV and electronic media, you would be correct. No one wants to admit they wasted too much time watching TV or gazing at You Tube videos.

While most people won’t be honest about their TV and electronic media consumption, research paints another picture and cites TV and online media as the biggest time wasters. According to the Pew Research Center, on average an individual watches TV 153 hours per month or five hours per day, which means that since most people sleep eight hours a day that leaves 16 hours of awake time. TV watching on average is 31 percent of the day. According to A.C. Nielsen, the average American, who is age 65, will have spent nine years glued to the TV. Also, the average time kids watch TV is 1,680 minutes per week. A more valuable activity, reading often falls to the wayside. On average, most people spend less than 20 minutes per day reading something valuable.

I’m guilty too. I used to spend inordinate amounts of time watching TV every day, which added up to hours wasted per week. I now use each hour in my day the most efficiently possible. For example, I can find time gaps when I meet with individuals to accomplish other tasks while I wait. This requires I use my time efficiently every hour of every day and plan accordingly. So, if I’m in a waiting room, for example, I might bring my iPad to make notes for a project like this book. I just have to think ahead and make sure I bring the iPad.

Another time-management nightmare is unconsciously doing things that waste time: spending time with people who are negative or wasting time on non-productive areas that can be outsourced to someone else while you focus on something more productive. Yes, your time is worth something per hour. I promise professionals, who are paid $1,000 per hour or more, don’t waste it on unproductive activities that are cheaper to outsource. Successful people also don’t surround themselves with negative people who tell them they can’t do something. They rely on people who think in solutions not problems, and most importantly these people don’t create problems or needless drama.

The next big time waster is responding to endless, immediate emails with handheld smart phones, texting every minute, or surfing the Internet. It’s easy for it to happen. You get an interesting email from a company or message from a friend, and the email contains a link to a meaningless video. You text about nothing important. You surf the Internet just to look around. The next thing you know, you just wasted two hours on something that has nothing to do with accomplishing your life-long goals.

So, get time management complexity out of your mind. Just focus on the following six simple ideas, and you will be amazed how your life will change. Yes, these things will become habits after 30 days (not 21):

  1. Get up early
  2. Go to bed early
  3. Turn off the TV and eliminate at least 50 percent of TV watching in the first 30 days of your goal setting.
  4. Make a concise list of goal to-do lists every week, seven items – one task for each day of the week.
  5. Don’t respond to every email and text every minute of the day.
  6. Take out an index card and write down everything you do in one day and look for areas of wasted time.

By Wayne Kurtz

Wayne Kurtz is founder of RaceTwitch.com and Endurance Racing Report,  he has a lifelong passion for racing in various endurance sport races throughout the world. He is also the author of: ‘Beyond the Iron, a training guide for ultra-distance triathlons.’