Most of us complain about lack of time in our life. There is never enough time. And time is one thing that we cannot buy with money or anything else. Yesterday is gone. The weekend is over. We cannot get them back. We might wish if we could have more time, so that we could achieve all our deadlines with ease and still spend tons of time with people whom we love most and also get time to do fun stuff and do our hobbies. But despite of all the above wish list, the fact remains that we are always playing catch up game with time. And time is always winning, kicking our butts all the time, with ease and even with arrogance. What to do then. How can we beat time, in its own game. How to create more of it.
Personally, I used to struggle with time a lot. I used to be late for almost everything. I have reached late for my final examinations when I was in college. I used to get late for office and client meetings, almost all the time. Despite of my best intentions, time has beaten me all the time until recently when I started planning my day before it starts.
With simple planning after getting up in the morning, by spending just 15 minutes, I have been able to change the game completely. Here is what I do.
I identify 1 Key Activity for the day that I must complete no matter what. This one activity is directly related to my No.1 goal. And I know that if I get that one thing done today, it will surely move me closer to my goal. Then I go about identifying 3-5 Main Activities that I would do once my No.1 activity is done. These activities are important but usually not as important as the key activity. And lastly, I identify 1-3 Support Activities for the day. These are the activities that I need to do to make sure my days function smoothly and the basic things of life are taken care off.
For example, if I am a project manager working on a new project, my #1 key activity for the day could be to do a call with the client or meet him in person and understand client’s exact requirement. I know that once that activity is done, my day is already quite successful as it has made the ball rolling towards my goal of successfully finishing the project. Here is one simple way to identify your #1 Key Activity for the day. Ask yourself, what if I have a terrible day today, and I am not focused at work due to personal reasons or due to reasons that are not under my control, then what is that 1 thing that if I did today and I did nothing else, I would still be able to move closer to my goal. Key activity usually saves the day for us, even if we are having a bad day due to emotional reasons or health reasons or due to any other situation we might face unexpectedly during the day.
Now, 3-5 Main Activities, that are not critical for the day but are still very important could be – doing an internal meeting with your team, sending updates of the last project to your boss, reaching out to another team for some help, reply to pending emails and meeting the CEO of the company. This is just an example scenario.
And 1-3 Support Activities could be paying the personal internet bill over mobile phone, wishing a close friend happy b’day and putting clothes in washing machine on reaching home in the evening. Support activities are usually the activities from personal life, and doing them might NOT have a direct and immediate impact on our goals but if not done will surely choke us and slow us down in the journey towards our goals.
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