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Time Management

It is a paradox of modern life that the more technologically advanced we become the less free time we appear to have and what free time we do have we seem to waste on modern technology such as television.

Have you ever considered how much free time you actually have? We spend a lot of time thinking about the past, worrying about the future and not taking control of the present and living it. It is another paradox that the more we organise and structure our free time, the time we can control, the freer we feel.

So letís look at how much potential free time we get in an average working week.

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun Total
Free Time130325822

Certain activities may be more or less in your world but what this shows in general is that we get very little time to do what we want. If you add in relationships and children there is even less of that precious commodity, free time. Most of us squander it watching endless TV instead of using it to our advantage. Perhaps you are one of the lucky ones that are totally happy with your lot, totally at ease with who you are and what you do and can waste those precious hours doing nothing; if however you are one of the huge majority, you will want to improve yourself, or your circumstances.

So what are you going to do with this free time once you are in control of it?

Where do you want to be in five years time? What do you want to be doing? What sort of job do you want? What do you want to achieve? Write down your vision, your desires and your goals. Is it to get a bigger house, a better paid job, or a different job/life altogether, sailing yachts around the Mediterranean perhaps or travelling the world writing travel guides. Maybe you want to get a degree, learn a language, write a book or paint pictures; it is all within you reach but you must set your targets. Spend some time doing this as it is going to be pivotal in changing your life. Make sure it has clarity, is realistic and achievable (some things are just not possible even in 5 years e.g. winning Wimbledon). Use it to change your life. Without a plan, without direction you will just go on aimlessly and waste that precious free time.

Once you have set your long term goals you need to plan how to use your free time to achieve them. Sometimes just having goals set in your mind will pull you in that direction but more often than not your goals will have to be worked at, like getting a degree. You can break your long term goals down into edible chunks. If you have a task the size of an elephant you canít eat it all at once you need to eat an elephant burger a day until it is all gone. Create medium and short term plans of action that move you towards your goals and use your free time to achieve them.

Make sure you refer to your goals and plans frequently. Keep your daily/weekly/monthly plans up-to-date on the actions required to achieve your goals. Having set goals will simplify your life, you will move in one direction. Everything you do will be focused on achieving your goals. When faced with a decision or choice in your life you can ask yourself, ĎWill this help me to achieve my goals?í You will be in control; you will have set yourself free from the whims of fate. You will find it is a good feeling, to be doing what you want to do, you will find it easy once you get started.

There is no time like the present, set your goals now and plan the actions you need to achieve them. You may just find that you wake up in a few years and find that you are doing exactly what you want to do. See my articles on Live the Dream and How to Plan for more practical advice.

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Time and tide wait for no-one. Then let each moment count and every tide bring your ships home.