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If you are reading this book, you are undoubtedly trying to become more productive by managing your time better. That’s a great goal. But you can’t really manage time. An hour will always consist of 60 minutes, and a day will have 24 hours. That can’t be changed. So, if you are lamenting, “I never have enough time!” keep in mind you have the exact amount of time as everyone else.
You can’t manage time, but you can manage yourself by making better choices every day. With each choice you make, you can improve your life or make it more difficult. Proper goal setting is a major part of managing your time. However, it’s critical not to confuse your end goal (the final result) with the steps designed to get you there.
For example, let’s say your boss has placed you in charge of finding new office space. That’s the end goal. But the steps you take to go about achieving that goal will make a huge difference.
You can do research and prepare a list of all available commercial space to present to the boss. This will probably take a few days. And you’re not even close to the end goal, which is finding a new office for your particular company. You’ve started the project, but you’ve wasted time, as well.
If you were to handle the assignment with an eye on better time management, you would start with a list of needed information. What neighborhood would be best? What is the monthly rent and utility budget? This information can be gathered in minutes (hopefully, from the boss himself) and it will narrow down your project and save you days of needless searching.
Keeping the end goal in mind always saves you time. Have the necessary information at hand before you begin the actual work. It will eliminate a lot of steps along the way.
Chapter 1 – Get to Know Yourself
Everyone Has Strengths and Weaknesses
No one is equally good or bad at everything. But if you don’t know what your weaknesses and strengths are, you could be blindsiding yourself. Becoming more self-aware is the first step to being more productive.
For example, you may be very analytical, which means you are good at thinking through a problem to the end and seeing solutions. But that same strength could turn you into a perfectionist. If you are a decisive person, you are great at making decisions, but you may not think a problem through entirely before taking action.
When you get to know yourself better, you can amplify your talents and minimize weaknesses. This will help you work at maximum efficiency without wasting time.
They say that we have three selves: how the world sees us, how we see ourselves, and how we really are. To work with and enhance your strengths, make an honest list of what you consider your strengths and weaknesses. Keep an open mind and remain honest.
We are all familiar with the favorite interview question, “What are your weaknesses?” The beaming interviewee, of course, answers, “Oh, I always seem to take on too much. I feel like I want to do everything.” Can you identify the weakness? Our interviewee is, in effect, stating that she is disorganized and unable to focus on one thing. She cannot manage her time (or, perhaps, her life), properly.
After creating your list of strengths and weaknesses, ask yourself about your general mindset. A mindset is how we view the world. This usually involves pessimism vs. optimism. These attitudes eventually shape our goals and determine how much we get done.
Optimistic people are open to learning and trying new things. That’s a critical element to better self-management. You need to believe that being more productive is possible. Optimism, the attitude that things can get done, will help increase your productivity in many ways. Think of it as a secret weapon or a powerful tool in managing your time. It really is true that if you think you can, you will.