Success Monday: Why You Need to Stop Killing Time, by Brian Tracy

Organizational skills and time management are essential to your success.

Time management is a choice, how you decide to spend your time is very much up to your own discretion.

We kill time by procrastinating and doing unproductive activities to ignore what is really at hand.

Killing time may work for a few minutes, but it adds up when things need to get done.

You can increase your productivity and move closer toward your goals just by managing what you are doing and when you are doing it.

The very act of taking a moment to think about your time before you spend it will begin to improve your personal time management and increase productivity immediately.

Want to Stop Killing Time?

The more productive you are, the more motivated you will be to get things done and you will manage your time better.

However, don’t confuse being productive with being busy.

Here are 3 helpful tips to stop wasting time and get your tasks accomplished effectively.

1. Get The Hard Stuff Done First

In my book, “Eat that Frog,” I talk about eating your “ugliest” frog first.

Tackle the hardest thing on your to-do-list, or the thing that is hanging over your head, and get it done.

It takes discipline to accomplish the hardest task first, but it is a habit that will increase your levels of performance and productivity.

Sometimes you have to ignore how you feel, and just get started.

Nobody wants to start a difficult task, but successful people put their heads down and do it.

2. Make A To-Do List

It is also helpful to get your hardest “to-do” out of the way first thing in the morning because this is often when you are most alert.

After lunch, midday, you’ll be less motivated to get started on a tough project.

Once that’s checked off the list, make a plan for the rest of your day.

I recommend listing items in order of urgency or importance.

Making a to-do list is an effective way to put your organizational skills to work and prioritize tasks to save time.

What should you complete today?

What things can you put off until later?

Even more specifically, what needs to be done before a certain time today?

Start with that item first, and move down the list until you reach the non-urgent list items.

Now that you’ve gotten the ugliest frog out of the way, your list does not seem as difficult to complete.

3. Take Short Breaks

Make sure to set aside time for short mental breaks. I’m talking 10 to 15-minute time blocks.

Scheduling a block of time to relax for a moment is not the same as aimlessly scrolling the internet when you could be getting something done.

Mental breaks are valuable and actually jumpstart your productivity.

Choose something that shifts your mind away from what you are working on for a brief moment.

I usually do this by stepping away from whatever I’m doing.

Close your eyes and be still for a moment.

If that’s not your style, recharge by being social for a couple minutes. Talk to your co-workers about something non-work related.

Just make sure not to interrupt their workflow.

Stop Killing Time!

When you kill time, you are killing your opportunities to do more and be more.

Successful people make the most of each hour of every day, using every moment to their advantage.

Learn to get a handle on what is distracting you from accomplishing your tasks each day.

Remember this:

  • Effective time management is a habit that can be learned.
  • It starts with your decision to invest your time into what is important.

—Brian Tracy is chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International, a company specializing in the training and motivation of individuals and businesses. To learn more about him or to read more columns like this on his blog, visit his website.