Have you heard the saying — If you want to be good at everything, you’ll end up being good at nothing? This concept applies to time management as well. The truth is, we really are just not good at multitasking. If you want to focus on everything, you will end up focusing on nothing.
Instead of asking yourself — How can I better manage my time? The better question should be — What are my priorities right now?
If you’d rather listen instead of read, here’s the podcast episode that goes along with this post: 4 Steps to Managing Your Time
4 Steps to Setting Your Priorities
Because we’re living in a high paced digital era, we feel like we should keep up to date about everything, be a part of everything, and do everything.
1.Identify Your 3 Top Priorities
We cannot focus and excel in these areas all at once. You’re not a superhuman, you’re human. If you truly want to excel, you can only focus on 2 – 3 areas in your life each time. Your priorities may slowly change over time, and they come in phases depending on what stage you are in your life right now.
Some of these areas may be: family, career, health & fitness, self care, traveling, personal learning, education, leisure, friendship, relationship with your partner, etc.
2. Rank and Weigh Your Priorities by Importance
Once you have your priorities, rank them in the order of importance to you right now. For my priorities, I even went a step further and gave each categories a percentage by importance. All together, I want my priorities to add up to 100%. Again, you’re not focusing on EVERYTHING, you’re ONLY focusing on your priorities.
You need to be super clear about what your priorities are and how much importance each area is in your life. Remember that you need to be very honest with yourself at this point and actually figure out what you want to work on.
3. Create a List of Events/ Tasks for Each Priority Each Week
What are the events and tasks for each priority? If my priority is on fitness —should I start going to the gym or take a dance class? If I want to improve my relationship with my family — should I visit my parents every Sunday? Should I eat dinner with my family more than once a week? If I want to focus on personal learning — should I make time to read or learn a skill each week?
4. Add Those Tasks/ Events Into Your Calendar
Identifying your priorities in one thing, but you need to ACTUALLY follow through with them and implement that into your calendar. One trick I use is to color code every event on my calendar by categories/ priorities. I will add all of my tasks onto my calendar for that week, and make sure that each week, the color proportion is similar to the weigh of importance I gave myself.
For example, if I choose to focus on personal learning (30%), career (50%), and self care (20%), then the colors on my calendar every week should be reflective of that. Only when I finished adding all of my tasks in these categories, can I start adding in “other non-priority” events.
How important are your priorities ACTUALLY? If you are truly honest about how much they mean to you, you need to follow through with them and actually act on them. Swear by your calendar. Live by your calendar. Use it as a compass and guide for you to live your days throughout the week.
This is how you can keep yourself not only accountable, but also ALIGNED when making decisions because you are very clear about your priorities and what they are.
Remember that everyone’s priorities are different depending on where we are, therefore do not compare your schedule with your peers’ or your siblings’. We’re all on our own path. You just need to do what feels right for you and stay committed to that no matter what.
Hope that these 4 steps have helped you!