The month of January has already bid us a swift farewell. We have all heard the old adage, 'Time waits for no man' and the days, weeks and months of 2013 will not delay their passing for any of us. How successful have you been in getting started on the resolutions that you were determined to accomplish this year?
For our monthly 'Money Mission' columns this year, I would like to focus on strategies that will help you keep your dreams in the forefront of your minds. Don't accept the mistaken belief that it is impossible to accomplish your resolutions; with clarity about your goals and the right attitude you can adopt new habits that will help you to be successful.
What do you do with your time?
Many people find that even though they are desperate to make changes to their financial situation, they just can't get the time to do what they need to do. We often let work pressures and trivial events distract us from our goals. We stop thinking about and carrying out the daily steps required to maintain our progress; thereby relegating our future to the back burner.
It's pointless to say "If only I had a little more time, I could really get going with my plans," as we all have the same number of hours, minutes and seconds to utilise each day. Wealthy persons and successful achievers don't have some secret stash of time that puts them ahead of the pack; they accomplish exceptional things with the same amount of time resource as you do.
What should you be doing with your time?
There are several essential activities that you need to accomplish if you want to be financially successful. You need to be efficient at budgeting, practice smart spending habits, be cautious with debt, save consistently, invest for future goals, put money aside for your retirement years, and make adequate provisions against life's eventualities.
It requires time to learn and practice these money principles. It took hundreds of hours of reading and research to find out how to fix my money problems in the past. Today, I have to commit a large part of my time to discover the principles of business success. If you're determined to achieve more, you have to change the way you spend time.
Take charge of your time
Your mission is to make an assessment of what you do throughout your day. Ask yourself, "Is this the most productive use of my time? Am I maximising these minutes to further my dreams?" When you're on Facebook, chatting on the phone, or watching TV shows, consider the opportunity cost of your time. The choices you make today can actually make or break your financial future.
With just 24 hours in a day, there are limits to how much you can do with this precious resource of time. The only way to get 'more time' is to become more efficient at work and sacrifice some of your leisure activities to free up energy and space for the tasks required to accomplish your objectives. You must be a good manager of your time and your money.
Planning for your time
Most people don't have a structured plan of how best to use their time. They stumble through each day wondering where the hours went and why they got so little accomplished before bedtime. To take action on your objectives, you have to create a workable system that will allow you to harness your time in the most effective way.
I have had varying levels of success in trying to develop my own time management strategy. Although many of the systems I have researched seemed practical in theory, in reality, they never seemed to produce the consistent results I desired. It has been an ongoing quest to discover the right solution to gain control of my time.
Good time habits are key
Every day, we are bombarded with information and requests that create demands on our time. Without an effective way to capture and take action on these demands, we will struggle to keep up with the conflicting requirements for this limited resource. To address my own time issues, I recently attended a time management seminar organised by Framework Consulting.
The facilitator and company CEO, Francis Wade, explained that to take charge of your time, you have to abide by 11 fundamental principles. To be a successful manager of time, you have to use better methods of organising your daily activities. Using seven simple steps, Wade showed us how to form new habits that would work every time.
Immediately after learning these basic techniques I was able to eliminate some long-standing e-mail problems. Within two hours, I had dealt with thousands of messages and I am now trying to perfect the habit of clearing my email inbox on a daily basis. You can find out more about these time-management strategies at 2time-sys.com.
This month, do an honest assessment of your usage of time. If your practices are holding back your progress, take the time to learn how to adjust your actions and create new habits of success.
Cherryl is a money coach, business mentor, and founder of Financially S.M.A.R.T. Services. Her upcoming book, "The 3 Ms of Money" will reveal all the secrets she learned about financial success. Get more advice on money and business matters at www.financiallysmartadvice.com and www.entrepreneursinjamaica.com. Email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.