There is a popular Internet meme regarding time being a magic bank account. Apparently the famous coach, Bear Bryant, kept a card in his wallet which related time to money and treated time as a game.
Here are the rules:
1. Each morning you get 86,400 seconds as a gift of life.
2. What ever you don't use on that day is forever lost.
3. Each morning your account is refilled, but the game can dissolve all your remaining time anytime without warning
The meme, asks you to compare those seconds to dollars to understand the value of time. Now some people are no better at saving money then they are saving time, but certainly the meme helps give a different perspective.
This weekend the clock changed and shifted 3600 of those seconds an hour earlier with the change in Daylight Saving Time. All the more reason to take action so you make the most of your seconds, whenever they occur and whatever they are worth. Here are some ideas.
1. Do strategic planning.
Most people just take one day at a time and then they wonder where the time went. Living reactively may take less brainpower but it also puts the world mostly in control. Whether you are in charge of a growing company or just your own future, you owe it to those affected to put some structure to your destiny.
2. Monitor your time.
As business guru Tom Peters said: What gets measured gets done. If you measure the time you spend you can identify areas where you can adjust and improve. Try measuring your time just for a week, or even a day. You'll be surprised where you find pockets of poorly used time that you can reapportion.
3. Prioritize your day.
So often people get lost working on projects with little importance or impact. Take a few minutes each morning to confirm with yourself that the projects you took on will actually have positive impact on your life and the lives of others. Then you can rank them so the best projects get your valuable time.
4. Time your phone calls.
A good friend of mine taught me this. At first I was taken aback when he would tell me at the end of the call that time was up. But I recognized that his little trick of keeping to the clock on our calls actually made me more effective in our communication as well.
5. Make a daily to-do list.
Without a list, it's easy to get pulled different directions throughout the day leaving you unfocused and unproductive. A simple list if comprehensive lets you concentrate and schedule your time effectively. It feels good to check things off as well when they are complete.
6. Get a good night's sleep.
Lack of rest equals lack of focus. If your sleep time is solid then you'll be better equipped to make the most of your awake time. Then you'll get more done more effectively which will relax you at the end of the day so you can sleep better. Keep working the cycle.
7. Make your meals a social event.
Everyone has to eat. And most people need social time to give their work brain a rest and feel more human. You may think you are saving time by having the lunch of last resort from the vending machine. But in fact you add unnecessary stress, which makes you perform poorly. Make your meals social, breakfast with family or lunch with colleagues. You don't have to take a long time, but 20 minutes of positive, social interaction will help your brain recharge and is probably good for your digestion. That will save you bathroom time later.
8. Choose your companions carefully.
Everyone has had at least one time-sucker in his or her life. These people are stealing your seconds and minutes because you let them do it. Whether they are a friend or family member, you must take control. Limit their availability or cut them out completely. You can do more for them by ceasing to enable their behavior.
9. Give yourself 30 dedicated minutes each day.
Your day belongs to you. You may choose to give it to work, friends, TV or whatever but ultimately it is your time and you can choose how to use it. Instead of battling it, show time you are in control. Take 30 minutes each and every day to use on yourself in the best way possible so you can be your best for others. Give yourself the present of 1800 seconds.