Time management strategies to make life more effective
Time management strategies often focus on time itself. How long is it taking you to complete something? Are you getting enough done in the time you have? This results in a focus on the activity, or the action, rather than the result, or the outcome. This distracts you from what really matters, which is the outcome or what you’re getting for your time, and leads you towards a path of frustration and the feeling that you’re overwhelmed. The most effective time management strategies involve a way of thinking that focuses on what matters most to you.
Tony Robbins' Rapid Planning Method (RPM)
The Rapid Planning Method is the ultimate in strategies for time management. It is a way to transform your entire mindset by honing your focus on the outcomes that have the highest value to you.
RPM stands for:
- Results-oriented: What you truly care about are results. What is the outcome that you’re after? Be specific, define your goal in terms of something concrete that you can measure. For example, if you want to lose weight, will you feel satisfied and successful if you lose a pound over the next year? Probably not. The true outcome is to lose 10, 20 – or how many pounds you want to lose. Making your outcomes clear is vital if you want to meet them – Clarity is power.
- Purpose-driven: Why do you want to accomplish the outcomes that you do? Why is achieving an outcome a must for you? The why, your reasons for wanting something, is the driving force; it is the passion and purpose that will drive you toward your goals.
- Massive-action plan: What do you need to do in order to reach your outcome? Don’t focus on one or two things. Brainstorm and jot down the ideas that come to your head. You can decide which has the most power as you work toward that outcome.
The RPM system works in tandem with results coaching. Your coach can help you set specific, measurable goals for yourself that align with your unique personal and professional “musts.” The RPM system also helps you get better answers for yourself by changing the questions you ask. Don’t ask yourself what you’re going to do; focus your efforts by asking, “What do I want?”
“Chunk” your tasks and goals
Focusing on a huge number of tasks and goals can feel overwhelming. More importantly, it can dilute and diffuse your productivity. “Chunking” is a time management strategy for turning a lot into a little to avoid this problem.
Chunking works by organizing everything you want and need to do into categories that are manageable. These categories are easier for your mind to handle, and they are aligned with your values, so you already know which tasks and goals are more important to accomplish first.
Here’s how it works:
First, write down your “musts” for this week – the things you have to get done. Once you’ve listed these tasks, examine them for common threads. Which tasks relate to money or finances? These you might place under the heading of “Finances.” Which relate to family or friends? Maybe these you can list under “Relationships.”
Chunk items that belong under the same heading together. For example, most people believe that exercise is important, but many of those people don’t exercise regularly — not because they can’t or don’t want to, but because they’re not chunking the tasks surrounding exercising effectively and not making the most of their time. They’re not thinking about what they want. They are focused on what is causing them worry or pain or failure.
Instead, chunk your tasks together so you can think about them without stress and get them done. If you need to get a new pair of running shoes (expensive and time-consuming), hit the gym twice (painful, time-consuming) and research vitamins you’ve been thinking about taking (laborious and boring), chunk these tasks together under a heading like “Fitness.” In this way, you can focus your mind on a manageable number of tasks and thus achieve more. Instead of spreading these tasks out over the week, you can get them done at the same time and feel like a weight’s been lifted off your shoulders.
Combine your N.E.T. time with action
Tony Robbins explains that N.E.T. stands for No Extra Time. N.E.T. time is the hours we spend each week on what are essentially mindless chores like commuting, exercising, running errands or cleaning the house. Instead of letting this time slip by, why not take action with N.E.T. time?
Create a list of websites to visit, podcasts to listen to and action items you can clear off your list during those otherwise mentally idle moments. As you complete tasks like commuting to work, you are also feeding your mind and improving your life. You’re doubling what you’re putting into those hours, and the yield is exponentially greater. As time management techniques go, N.E.T. time plus action is incredibly powerful!
These time management strategies help you live a more fulfilled life, because in actuality, they’re much more than techniques for managing time — they’re also tools for transforming the way you think. Maximizing your resources in life starts with the right mindset, and these time management techniques help you teach yourself to focus on what matters to you in order to live a more joyous, productive life.