It’s the day of your interview. You have this one chance to impress the interviewers and allow yourself to get the job you have dreamed of. You’ve prepared yourself, and now, in just a few hours, you will be sat face to face with the people who will be making a life-changing decision for you.
When you woke up in the morning, you had a plan. Your clothes were ready, you showered, dressed and ate breakfast. You planned out everything you would do to the minutest detail. You are ready.
You arrive at the place where the interview will take place ten minutes early. You anticipated any potential traffic jams and possible delays, and now you are ready.
How did you do that? How did you prepare yourself and have everything ready, so you arrived at the interview room door ten minutes early? You planned, and you managed your time.
Yet for most of us, doing that every day is an anathema. We hate planning, we hate managing our time, but when we have to prepare for something important, we carefully manage our time. It’s the same when we prepare to go on vacation. The day before we meticulously plan out the time we will leave to go to the airport. We check and double-check to see if our vacation clothes are all packed that our passport and cards are in our carry on bags. We leave nothing to chance.
Sadly, for most of us, that is where our planning stops. We don’t manage our time very well. We allow ourselves to be easily distracted, and we skip doing important things like our daily exercise and taking some time each day to plan the day and how we will spend our time.
But it does not have to be complicated or unpleasant. Managing your time and planning can be enjoyable and motivating and will improve your overall feeling of fulfilment and purpose. How can you do that?
Use your calendar
Your calendar is your most potent weapon in the fight again procrastination and drift. Adopting the policy of ‘what goes on your calendar gets done’ does not mean you micromanage your time. What it means is you schedule out blocks of time to do your essential work. For me, that means finding three to four hours a day when I can block time out for doing my important work and getting in some exercise.
I look for gaps between meetings (and classes—I teach English classes to business executives in South Korea). I then block an hour or two for writing or course development.
It is during these time blocks where I turn off all notifications and use Blocksite to prevent me from being tempted to look at my Twitter or Facebook feed. I need the internet for research and to look up terminology, so it is not practical to close down my browser. With an app like Blocksite, I can temporarily block access to procrastination traps like social media and shopping sites.
Have a plan for the day
This is important if you are going to get the work that needs doing done. Like when you have an important interview, or you are going on vacation, you have a plan for the day, making that a daily habit can massively improve your productivity and keep you focused on what you have identified as being important.
You do not have to be too detailed. Having one or two objectives—tasks that, no matter what, you will get done that day and up to eight other tasks you have decided are important. Doing this will do wonders for your focus, and your sense of wellbeing and ensures you are getting the important work done every day.
Having a plan for the day also means you have time to do the things you want to do, rather than always trying to catch up with the work other people want you to do. When you plan it out, you make time work for you rather than the other way round.
Use a to-do list manager to collect your tasks
We are inundated with tasks being thrown at us every day. From customer requests, demands from our bosses and colleagues needing help. If you try to remember all these in your head, you are going to forget something important.
Get into the habit of using a to-do list manager like Todoist. Apps like Todoist allow you to quickly collect your tasks into a single place and later in the day you can decide when you are going to do them. Do they need doing this week, next week, later this month or next month? A simple decision, but a choice that allows you to manage your commitments with ease and reduce that overwhelming feeling you have forgotten something important.
Doing these three things puts you back in control of your time and your life. Rather than drifting from one day to the next, allowing other people’s agendas to control your time, these simple steps will enable you to decide how you will spend your days. They keep you focused on what you have chosen is important, and you quickly find you improve in so many areas. You will be less stressed, have a greater sense of control over your life and discover you have more time to work on your goals and plans.
Carl is the creator of the Time Sector System, a time management method for the twenty-first century and the way we work today. To find out how Carl can help you, visit his website at www.carlpullein.com or his YouTube channel and Podcast.