As we near the end of the year, this is typically the time people start thinking about what goals to set, how to be more productive (heck, even at 4 a.m.), and what needs to happen for better work-life balance.
Well, nothing you do in 2017 can lead you to the Promised Land faster than having a thorough and cognizant understanding of how to manage your life. Notice I didn't say "manage your time." No, because we can't manage time. There's no such thing.
Time management is dead. Stick a fork in it. Done. Finito
Wait, what Marcel??
Yeah, we all wake up in the morning with the same exact number of hours, minutes, and seconds in a day. We can't roll over unused time to be used tomorrow, and borrow a few unused minutes on Thursday for Monday. We can't control time. As it ticks away, it's gone -- in the past, never to be reclaimed again.
But here's what we can do, and is very much within our control: choose how to use that time by managing ourselves wisely.
Look, it's actually self-management that we all seek.
40 Self-Management Hacks to Kick Off the New Year
To make this more applicable to you, go down each item on this list and nod your head, is this "true" or "not true" for you? If "not true," well, you already have a head start on what you need to improve to manage yourself like a rock star.
1. I can concentrate on getting one thing done at a time, and avoid "task-hopping."
2. I start and end meetings on time, and don't get sidetracked or allow the meeting agenda to get hijacked.
3. I am prepared to be assertive, set boundaries, and say "no" to people when I need to, so my time is protected.
4. I set specific deadlines for everything, and I stick to them.
5. I schedule personal and low-priority business calls during windows of time when my energy level is at its lowest.
6. I am realistic about what I can get done, allowing myself the time I need for tasks.
7. I take breaks to refresh and recharge myself when I need them.
8. I identify the times of the day when I'm most productive and focus my energy on doing the most important things during those times.
9. I prioritize effectively, being clear about which tasks need to be done ahead of others.
10. I delegate to free up time and ensure that I do only what I should.
11. I focus on what I can control and don't waste time worrying or thinking about things I can't.
12. I don't procrastinate. I'm conscious about being a "do-it-now" person.
13. I keep my energy levels high through exercising, eating right, getting rest, and paying attention to those things that either give me energy or drain my energy.
14. I think positively. When I think of negative things, my energy and productivity drop, but maintaining a positive attitude does wonders for my productivity.
15. I am aware of time-wasters, so that when I'm fully conscious of wasting time or not maximizing the use of my time, I correct this.
16. I learn from others' management skills so that I can improve my own.
17. I am strict about allowing visitors to drop in, or distracting phone calls to interfere with my "in the zone" time.
18. I don't get overwhelmed easily because I break down larger goals into smaller goals and tasks that can be easily accomplished.
19. I am very aware of time efficiency -- where I spend my time and how much time I spend on specific tasks.
20. I avoid, as often as I can, meetings that are not a good use of my time.
21. I don't procrastinate by putting off tasks I find unpleasant or difficult in favor of easier things.
22. I am always on time for meetings and appointments.
23. I schedule specific blocks of time to return phone calls and emails, and avoid doing it sporadically throughout the day.
24. I am able to distinguish more urgent and important tasks from those I can delegate or put off.
25. I maintain a healthy work-life balance and rarely bring work home.
26. I focus on things that matter, both long and short term, that will advance my company's mission or my own purpose in life.
27. I finish a task before I move on to the next one.
28. I have supportive and responsible work friends and colleagues who help ease the pressure.
29. I create a clearly outlined action plan to clarify everything I need to do to achieve a specific goal, with measures in place so I know I'm on track.
30. I stay focused and on task by starting each day reviewing my goals.
31. I keep a prioritized daily to-do list, as it removes the guesswork from how to spend my time and with whom to spend it.
32. I do what requires the most discipline first.
33.I devote an hour on Sunday to plan and mentally prepare for the upcoming week.
34. I let other people know my schedule in advance so they can schedule their time accordingly in case I need their help to do something for me.
35.I keep a notepad or recorder handy to capture future to-do items and tasks when I think of them.
36. I only touch things once. When I read an email, I reply immediately. When I open a letter, I either shred it or act on it. At home, rather than cluttering dishes in the sink, I put them in the dishwasher. I make it a habit to never touch things more than once.
37. I turn off unnecessary notifications that become more disruptive than helpful. If it diverts my attention and interrupts me constantly, I turn it off.
38. I limit checking emails to two or three times a day (unless my business requires that I monitor it consistently). I've realized that constantly checking and returning emails is a time waster.
39. I limit the amount of time I spend on social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and will allocate the appropriate amount of time to use it during business hours.
40. I don't start side projects that I'm not committed to finishing. I always determine what's involved and identify the amount of time that it will take to do it with excellence. Otherwise, I won't take it on.
Now I ask you: Which of these will you practice moving forward?