Have you ever thought about how short life really is? When you’re in your teens and twenties it seems like you’ve got all the time on earth and the world is your personal oyster, but as you get a little older you begin to realize that time waits for no one and if you spend your time frivolously, you may actually end up regretting it. When your time is up, it’s up, no matter how much unfinished business you have or how many unrealized dreams you never got around to pursuing. This is why it’s essential that you make the most of each day by managing your time wisely.

I’ll bet that there have been times when you waited until the last minute to complete a task or an important project, only to feel rushed and pressured by having to do it all in a crunched amount of time. If you are like most people who procrastinate you probably even make excuses for your last minute antics by saying things like, I work better under pressure. But the truth is most people do not, because if you are trying to throw things together at the last minute worrying about whether or not you can pull it off, then you are not working at your optimum level.

I know what you’re thinking. You’ve got a lot on your plate and the last thing you need is another item to add to your already full to-do-list. Here’s the thing: managing your time makes your life easier. It enables you to become more productive in every way.

To become a better task master, determine your priorities and get yourself a planner that allows you to see the month at-a-glance and that organizes your time weekly and daily. Take fifteen minutes on Sunday evening or Monday morning to plan your week. Write down the important things that you need to do for the week. Once you’ve planned your schedule, you can adjust it each day as needed.

Be ruthless about eliminating self-imposed time wasters like: indecision, procrastination, laziness, not writing out your schedule, or allowing yourself to get sidetracked. At work, ask your boss to help you prioritize by letting you know which tasks need to be completed first and which ones can wait until later or be delegated. When you find yourself getting off track, ask yourself: Is what I’m doing right now the best use of my time?

Questions for You To Ponder

  • Are you managing your time effectively or do you have a tendency to let the day get away from you?
  • Are you an on-time task-master or a Johnny-Come-Lately? If you are usually late, how often are others inconvenienced by your poor planning and time management habits? What message do you think this sends about you?
  • Do you find yourself making excuses for your last minute antics by saying things like: I work better under pressure. Do you believe that you are operating at your optimum level when you have to wonder and worry about whether or not you can pull things off at the last minute? Do you really think that other people don’t notice when you’re trying to juggle it all because you did not manage your time well to begin with?
  • What steps can you take to better manage your time?

Action Steps

  • Set priorities. Priorities are about deciding which things are of the upmost importance to you. Then, determining which things will help you achieve your goals most quickly. To determine your priorities, think about your goals and organize them from A to C with A representing your most important goals, B representing the goals that are important but not as important as your A list and C representing goals that you want to accomplish at some point in your life, but are not an immediate priority for you right now. Review each of your A list goals. Rank them according to their order of importance with 1 being the most important, 2 being very important but less important than 1 and so on. Do the same for your B and C list goals. When you are finished you’ll have a system in place for determining your personal priorities. You’ll also know which things to work on first.
  • Don’t fall into the Someday I’ll Get Around To It Syndrome. Develop the discipline to do what you got to do when it needs to get done.

Posted by Cassandra Mack

Cassandra Mack, MSW is the Founder and CEO of Strategies for Empowered Living Inc. a company dedicated to helping others develop tools for personal empowerment and success through interactive workshops, consultation services and books that inspire growth. Affectionately dubbed “The First Lady of Urban Motivation” Cassandra has written and published over 10 personal growth books aimed at the urban market. With a master's degree in social work, Cassandra Mack blends her clinical training and expertise in human development with practical self-help techniques in order to design and fashion strategies for empowered living that help men and women breakthrough the roadblocks in their lives in order to build their best lives from the inside out. Cassandra has written and published several successful books that are widely utilized in churches, women's organizations, the health and human services, high schools and social service organizations accross America. Her published titles include: "The Busy Woman's Little Book of Motivation," "The Single Mom's Little Book of Wisdom," "The Black Man's Little Book of Encouragement," "Cool, Confident and Strong: 52 power Moves for Girls," and 'Young, Gifted and Doing It: 52 Power Moves for Teens." Cassandra is the voice of counsel to thousands around the world through her blogs, columns, radio broadcasts, books and Facebook notes. Cassandra has been on Good Day New York, What Women Want and Teen Talk." She's been featured in Black Enterprise, The Network Journal, AM New York. She's written articles for: The Harlem Parent, Proud Poppa, BELLE, The New York Beacon, Carib News and City Chick Magazine. Cassandra is on a mission to change lives, whether speaking, training or writing, she is a prominent influence in helping men, women and teens alike unlock their untapped potential, breakthrough the barriers that hold them back and achieve personal mastery over their lives. Cassandra’s straightforward, practical approach to personal growth and empowerment makes her one of the most sought after speakers in the country. If you'd like Cassandra Mack to speak at your upcoming event, present a workshop to your group or to learn more about her books and products go to her company website: www.strategiesforempoweredliving.com

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