The amount of time you have each week to accomplish tasks and get results is limited. Which means you have a finite budget of hours -- just like you have a finite budget of dollars. After reading this article, my hope is that you give your time budget the same discipline and respect (or more) that you give (or should give) to your financial budget.
Staying Within Your Time Budget
As an example, let's say you and your spouse have a personal budget of $400 per month for groceries. It's the last week of the month and you're at the grocery store with a cart full of items. The items will cost you the amount that will make your total money spent on groceries this month $400.
Then, right as you're approaching checkout, you see something in the store that catches your eye. Maybe it's on sale. Maybe it tastes really good. Or maybe it's something you've been meaning to get for a while.
What do you do?
The correct answer is don't buy it; and rather stay within your set budget. Unless of course you can put an item in your cart of equal value back on the shelf.
Your time budget is the same way. When it's 4:55 and you've committed to stop working and go home at 5:00 but there's some nagging task you really want to knock out but would take 30 minutes -- DON'T BUY IT. Don't do it today. Do it tomorrow or some other day.
Go home and enjoy your life. Do something fun or relaxing and stay within your time budget. It can probably wait until later, just like that last-minute item at the store.
Is it Ever Done? Yes and No!
Now I know that if you practice this, there will be painful days where you fail to do something important because you ran out of time and would not work later. But so what? Even on days I've worked 12 hours there are things I failed to get done. Is it ever all done? Not in general.
But, each day has a beginning and an end, so it's really a matter of "Did I achieve today's priorities?" versus "Is there anything left to do?"
Your tasks will never all be done, just like you will never not need to buy groceries anymore. What's important is how you manage however many hours you DO have in your time budget.
Try this today -- track your time, then look back afterward and note what you did. I bet there were some things you did that took 30 minutes that weren't as important as other things. The key (whether time, money, or any other valuable resource) is to budget, budget, budget...and then watch it like a HAWK.
My Favorite Solution
My favorite time management solution is to budget my time with my calendar. For example, I have a set amount of time to finish this article. Because in a few more minutes, I have to get to my next appointment (which is to complete another important task). If I hadn't scheduled that next task on my calendar, I most likely would spend more and more time on this article. Yes, possibly, this article would end up a little better, but I wouldn't have also been able to complete the other task.
I urge you to try scheduling your time on your calendar. And sticking to it; meaning that when it's time for your next appointment, you go to it and complete that task.
Suggested Resource: Follow the tips above and you'll start maximizing the productivity of your team. And check out "Productivity Secrets for Entrepreneurs: How to Get More Done, Make More Money and Take More Time Off" if you'd like to access my complete program for maximizing your productivity and results.