We’re all familiar with the daily struggle of effectively managing our time and as H. Jackson Brown Jr said “Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”
While this quote surely gets in everyone’s back pocket in some way. We’re completely aware that not everyone has the same capacity, and that each person has a unique set of circumstances contributing to the use of their time.
Awareness of the following time management practices is the first step.
1. Track your time
“If you want to spend your time better, the first step is figuring out exactly how you spend it now. While recording a day or two is helpful, I recommend keeping track of your time for a week to get the best picture of life,” suggests Laura Vanderkam, author of “I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make The Most of Their Time”
“A week is the cycle of life as people actually live it (what’s a normal day for you? Tuesday or Saturday? They both occur just as often and have the same number of hours, but looking at each of them individually would give a very different picture of life).”
2. Set attainable goals
Managing your use of time is a skill to be developed, in the same way one would learn how to effectively handle a leash, or deliver a reward to a dog.
Focus on the actions you can take to help you achieve your goals. Ask yourself “Is this getting me closer to or further away from what I want for my future?”
Your use of time is ideally guided by effective goal-setting. This can be achieved through breaking goals down into manageable pieces and organising your schedule accordingly.
Take note, some clients you work with, may not be “neurotypical” and will require different forms of motivation, accountability and support in using their time wisely.
3. First things first
Ending your night, or starting your day, by identifying two or three tasks which are the most crucial to complete first over the next day, allows your focus to be channelled towards the tasks which are most important, while reducing the likelihood of getting sidetracked.
Using the momentum gained by completing the most important tasks first you can then get to work on finishing the less important tasks on your to do list.
4. Organise your time (Schedule tasks)
By organising your time, and scheduling tasks throughout the day to complete, you’ll reduce stress over when to complete tasks.
“The very act of using your organizational skills to plan your day, week, and month gives you a greater feeling of control and will help increase productivity throughout your day. You’ll feel in charge of your life. It actually increases your self-esteem and improves your sense of personal power.” Says motivational speaker and author Brian Tracy.
In order to focus on productivity, you need to be able to effectively prioritize. Take a look at your training plan and your day to day schedule. What needs to be done today, in order to make progress towards your next milestone? What are the exercises and tasks which require your attention first?
By not allowing yourself to become sidetracked with less important tasks (tasks which aren’t getting you closer to achieving your goals – i.e scrolling through facebook, comparing your journey with someone else’s) you’ll find yourself making consistent and sustainable progress.
“Pay attention to the priorities and stay focused on those items as you move forward. Also, let your employees know what the priorities are, and reward them for sticking to the priorities. That way, you are more likely to succeed in the long run with overall productivity.” Due’s Miranda Marquit suggests.
We’re all guilty of failing to say “No” to a commitment we aren’t all that prepared to take on at some point in our lives.
Be careful about spreading your time too thin. Your goals and the commitment you’ve made to achieve them should be one of the most important things for you to focus on. Eventually, saying “No” to new commitments is going to be necessary in order for you to be able to achieve those goals on the timeline you’ve set for yourself.
Remember. It’s not a bad thing to take on new commitments when you are certain you have the time and capacity to do so.
7. Resting is productive too
According to some studies, we each have approximately 90 minute attention spans. Our brains can concentrate on anything if it knows a rest is coming soon. Choose the most important task to complete first, scheduling a break after 30 / 45 or 90 minutes. This will help you stay focused and on task.
Rest periods are often suggested to be best set at 5 / 10 or 20 minutes long depending on the intensity of the task you’ve completed.
While developing your time management skills, take the time to learn how to identify and manage your emotions. Developing the ability defined as “Emotional intelligence” increases your problem solving and self regulation skills. On top of the ability to help others do the same.
Emotional intelligence leads to knowing how to create balance, avoid perfectionism, and can also help to increase focus.
In other words. Developing emotional intelligence can give you a major productivity boost and assists you in achieving your goals and completing tasks.
Support your clients through their training journey with The Pocket Dog Trainer. Help them improve their goal setting, time management and accountability, all in one web app.
Want to learn how The Pocket Dog Trainer can help you, help more clients? Get in touch to find out more.