Date: 04/03/2015 | By: Liz Painter

Mike Gardner, AKA The Time Doctor and one of the UK’s leading time management specialists, shares his time management tips…

You know that a day consists of 24 hours: sleeping should take up at least eight hours of that time, then there are the hours you spend working and studying to be taken into account. Once you add all this up, it quickly becomes apparent that there’s not much time left over.

In today’s fast and complex world, it would appear that there is very little time to spare for activities such as hobbies, entertaining and relaxing, or achieving those goals and dreams we all have.  But if you want to live a complete and fulfilling life you need to make time for these things. To claim back some time for yourself, you need to learn to make the most of the 24 hours that you get each day.

Ask questions before you agree to anything

Time problems arise when you can’t make the right choice. You often stretch yourself and end up completing tasks which aren’t really necessary.

You start working on something just because it caught your eye or somebody asked you for a favour. Your indecision and failure to refuse are the reasons you are not master of your own time. You can change the situation by asking yourself three simple questions before you agree to do something:

  • Is it really necessary?
  • Do I have to do it right now?
  • Can someone else handle this task?

Ask yourself these questions and you will undoubtedly save yourself time and energy every day.

Free your mind to find solutions to long term issues

The above questions may not appear to be helpful when trying to decide what you would like to achieve in the future.  However, it’s usually the day to day stuff that gets in the way of thinking clearly about how to reach long term goals or solve longstanding problems.

Take time to allow your subconsciousness the freedom to make decisions (it’s never wrong) and resist the temptation to beat yourself up with constant negative reflection.

The following method is simple and effective:

Before bed, summarise the problem in simple and positive language.  You might say “I have written a new eBook for my website” or “I have found a way to pay the children’s school fees”.  Let this phrase be your last thought for the day, and you will find that your subconscious mind will give you an answer to routine problems within a day or two.  A serious matter may take longer, but you won’t need to put in as much effort as when you’re “thinking” as usual.

Create a plan

You have now determined how you are going to achieve your goals or solve that pressing problem, and now you must find the time for implementation. You definitely need a plan, but don’t let it become all consuming. Sit down with a notepad and pen and make up a timetable for next week.

Keep in mind the following points when creating your timetable: Allocate enough time for sleeping, recreation, entertaining and relaxing and mark in all your work or study hours. Review your plan and ask yourself if it reflects all the daily activities you have to do (shopping, getting to college, work, cooking, etc).  Think of the interests that you want to keep, no matter what, and assign two hours for them. Once you’ve completed this part look at how much time is left.

These are the hours that you have available to spend on reaching your goals! How will you spend them?

Till Next Time

Mike Gardner – The Time Doctor

Would you like some more tips on managing your time – Click here

The original version of this blog post appeared on Mike’s website The Time Doctor. Mike offers public workshops and in-house training in Time Management to a wide range of organisations.  You can give Mike a call on 0800 852 7512.