Respecting your time requires you to understand the importance of time and to take actions and conduct yourself in a manner that is representative of that importance.
The following key strategies will help you consider and respect time as a valuable resource:
Realize that time is money.
Do more by doing less.
Respect others' time.
Spend your time doing what you truly love to do.
"Time is valuable and money is wasted when a person's time is not used productively." However, how often do we really think of time wasted as money wasted or lost?
Once you realize that every hour of your time is important, you can develop a "my time is money" mind-set. This mind-set will:
Help you be more conscious of how you spend your time during your work hours.
Help you perform tasks in a more reasonable time frame. If a task can be done in an hour, do it in an hour, not three hours.
As you become more productive and deliver work faster, you will increase your prospects for better career opportunities.
Respecting your time also means setting achievable goals with your time. People can get excited by the idea of to-do lists and can end up creating lists with goals that are impossible to finish on time, and hence set themselves up for failure. Remember that to-do lists are useful only when the tasks listed can be completed in the time allotted.
Here are two simple strategies to stop over-committing your time.
Be realistic with your time plan. When creating to-do lists, be realistic with your time estimates. While it is tempting to add more items to your to-do lists, it is often smarter to select fewer work items that are really important and to complete them on time.
Learn to say no. Instead of saying "yes" to everything that comes your way, learn to say "no" for the tasks that you cannot complete within the time frame required. Your colleagues and employer will respect you more when they see you as a person who gives the utmost attention to completing work items on time and with high quality.
Keep in mind, though, that you will sometimes have to make exceptions to this rule.
People will respect you and your time if you respect their time. It's that simple. Many people do not realize that when they are disrespecting a person's time, they are disrespecting the other person.
Below are some simple strategies to start respecting others' time.
Be on time always, for everything:
Lunch with your colleagues.
By being late, you risk your peers, managers, and clients:
Forming an overall negative opinion of you.
Feeling offended by your actions.
Lacking trust in you in the future.
If you commit to a time for a meeting or deadline, make absolutely sure you meet that commitment.
At work we often need to instant message, chat, or phone someone without any prior notice. A courtesy that can gain you respect is to begin the communication by asking the recipient whether it's okay to interrupt or if there is another time that would be more convenient.
Being courteous when interrupting a colleague is a simple habit to form. It can go a long way in making others realize how much you value their work and time. You will earn their respect and goodwill in return.
People are happiest when they are working on something they love to do. This is one of the keys to respecting your time and achieving success in life. Everyone has one or more areas they are passionate about and in which they can excel. In Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap ...and Others Don't (New York, HarperCollins, 2001), Jim Collins recommends focusing on the things that matter most to you.
According to Collins, we should ask ourselves two questions:
What am I deeply passionate about?
What kind of work do I feel I was "made" to do?
Once we know these answers, we can make an assessment of how much of our time at work is spent on these activities.
Everyone is different. Some people can't wait to cross things off their lists and others don't ever create lists. Some people get to the airport three hours before a flight and others always rush in at the last minute every time. In order to improve one's time management skills, it is important to start by being honest with yourself about your own tendencies.
The following questions are useful with respect to evaluating your own tendencies:
Do you wait until the last minute to accomplish a task? You may be a procrastinator.
Do you often arrive late for work or meetings? You might be prone to putting things off until the last minute.
Do you work on an assignment more than twice? You might be a perfectionist.
Do you start a second project before completing the first? You might be easily distracted.
Is it hard to say no, even when you are very busy? You might be a person who tries to do it all.