Your time is incredibly valuable. Each hour, each moment is a resource that can never be recovered or replaced.
Treating time with the respect it deserves is one of the best things you can learn in life. Think of it as investing time rather than spending it.
Here are some good starting points:
1. Know your priorities. It seems like a simple thing, but it can be surprisingly difficult in practice: Focus your attention on what is truly important. Think of time as an investment, and make sure you're getting the return you want. Don't allow minor things to sidetrack you.
2. Learn the power of a schedule. A scheduling system that works for you gives you time that would otherwise be spent trying to remember when things are happening, backtracking, and making up missed dates and deadlines. At first it may seem restrictive to schedule your time outside of work, but it actually gives you freedom and control.
3. Give yourself a break. Even--especially--when days are hectic and too short, give yourself a break. Take some time every day to be present in the moment without having to think about your last meeting, your missed calls or how many e-mails you have to answer. A mental break improves your focus and attention.
4. Exercise to relieve stress. One significant but often overlooked reason to build exercise into your day: stress relief. Exercise can help dispel stress and relax your mind. As a result, you'll sleep better and have more energy.
5. Silence social media. It's easy to let Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media channels occupy us for hours. But if you really want to utilize your time, limit social media to specific times, then shut it all down so you can spend more time doing the things that are important to you.
6. Enjoy the people you love. Make time to spend in meaningful ways with your family, friends, and those who are important to you. Aside from creating the kind of memories that make life worthwhile, it's good for you. Communication with a spouse, children, siblings, parents, or friends leads to the release of endorphins and helps lower stress. Even talking to a loved one on the phone is good for your health.
7. Be thorough in preparation. Do you often find yourself flying by the seat of your pants through meetings and projects? When you fail to adequately prepare for what's in store, you let down yourself and your team--and you ultimately spend more time making up for it. Devote some time each day to preparing for the next day's success.
8. Learn to say no. It's rarely easy to say no. But remember that when you do, you're really saying yes to your own commitments and priorities.
9. Create a growth environment. Surround yourself with people and things you can learn from, and an environment that nurtures you instead of distracts, and you'll be more likely to grow.
10. Have some fun. More often than not, the things that are fun for you will also contribute to your learning and well-being. Recreation gives you the benefits of exercise; playing music builds your brain; travel and reading feed your spirit and intellect.
For most of us, there's a lot going on every day, and that's not likely to change. But if we're intentional about how we invest our time, we can get the most of every moment.