Time management is the process of planning and controlling how much time to spend on specific activities. Good time management enables an individual to complete more in a shorter period of time, lowers stress, and also leads to career success. In this article learn the art of Time Management where I will suggest ways of keeping the tide of external demands at bay and also help you to develop a routine and rhythm that will enable to you make the most of your working day.
Some of the world’s most successful people share some of the same traits:
“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” – Mother Teresa
The Art of Time Management:
Benefits of Time Management
The ability to manage your time effectively is important. Good time management leads to improved efficiency and productivity, less stress, and also more success in life. Here are some benefits of managing time effectively:
Making and following a task schedule reduces anxiety. As you check off items on your “to-do” list, you can see that you are making tangible progress. This helps you avoid feeling stressed out with worry about whether
you’re getting things done.
Good time management gives you extra time to spend in your daily
life. People who can time-manage effectively enjoy having more time to spend on
hobbies or other personal pursuits.
Managing time well leads to more opportunities and less time wasted on trivial activities. Good time management skills are key qualities that employers look for. The ability to prioritize and also schedule work is
extremely desirable for any organization.
4.Ability to realize goals
Individuals who practice good time management are able to better achieve goals and objectives, and do so in a shorter length of time.
“Time is really the only Capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can’t afford to lose.” -Thomas Edison
Consequences of Poor Time Management:
Let’s also consider the consequences of poor time management.
1. Poor workflow
The inability to plan ahead and stick to goals means poor efficiency. For example, if there are several important tasks to complete, an effective plan would be to complete related tasks together or sequentially. However, if you don’t plan ahead, you could end up having to jump back and forth, or backtrack, in doing your work. That translates to reduced efficiency and also lower productivity.
2. Wasted time
Poor time management results in wasted time. For example, by talking to friends on social media while doing an assignment, you are distracting yourself and wasting time.
3. Loss of control
By not knowing what the next task is, you suffer from loss of control of your life. That can contribute to higher stress levels and also anxiety.
4. Poor quality of work
Poor time management typically makes the quality of your work suffer. For example, having to rush to complete tasks at the last minute usually compromises quality.
5. Poor reputation
If clients or your employer cannot rely on you to complete tasks in a timely manner, their expectations and also perceptions of you are adversely affected. If a client cannot rely on you to get something done on time, they will likely take their business elsewhere.
“Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.”
Tips for Effective Time Management
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln
After considering the benefits of time management, let’s look at some ways to manage time effectively: The following are some effective Time management activities.
Time Management activities
1. Set goals correctly
2. Prioritize wisely
Stephen Covey “Author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” classifies work tasks according to whether they are important or urgent.
Prioritize tasks based on importance and urgency. For example, look at your daily tasks and determine which are:
• Important and urgent: Do these tasks right away.
• Important but not urgent: Decide when to do these tasks.
• Urgent but not important: Delegate these tasks if possible.
• Not urgent and not important: Set these aside to do later.
3. Set a time limit to complete a task
Setting time constraints for completing tasks helps you be more focused and efficient. Making the small extra effort to decide on how much time you need to allot for each task can also help you recognize potential problems before they arise. That way you can make plans for dealing with them.
For example, assume you need to write up five reviews in time for a meeting. However, you realize that you’ll only be able to get four of them done in the time remaining before the meeting. If you become aware of this fact well in advance, you may be able to easily delegate writing up one of the reviews to someone else. However, if you hadn’t bothered to do a time check on your tasks beforehand, you might have ended up not realizing your time problem until just an hour before the meeting. At that point, it might be considerably more difficult to find someone to delegate one of the reviews to, and more difficult for them to fit the task into their day, too.
4. Take a break between tasks
When doing a lot of tasks without a break, it is harder to stay focused and motivated. Allow some downtime between tasks to clear your head and also refresh yourself. Consider grabbing a brief nap, going for a short walk, or meditating.
5. Organize yourself
Utilize your calendar for more long-term time management. Write down the deadlines for projects, or for tasks that are part of completing the overall project. Think about which days might be best to dedicate to specific tasks. For example, you might need to plan a meeting to discuss cash flow on a day when you know the company CFO is available.
6. Remove non-essential tasks/activities
It is important to remove excess activities or tasks. Determine what is significant and also what deserves your time. Removing non-essential tasks/activities frees up more of your time to be spent on genuinely important things.
7. Plan ahead
Make sure you start every day with a clear idea of what you need to do – what needs to get done THAT DAY. Consider making it a habit to, at the end of each workday, go ahead and also write out your “to-do” list for the next workday. That way you can hit the ground running the next morning.
8.The Power of No
Be prepared to say no. One of the best ways to manage your list of jobs is to avoid putting a job on the list in the first place.
Say NO to the jobs you want to do but do not need to do. You know these are ‘fun to do’ but really are a waste of your valuable time – focus on what matters, delegate the rest.
If you are offloading ‘your work’ make sure you let the team know the process you’ve been through, the fact that you need their help, and the relevance and also value of the tasks you are delegating.
- Develops your people
- Grooms a successor
- Motivates Employees
- Saves you time
Some tasks should not be delegated. These include:
- Firstly Tasks you are personally responsible for performing yourself (i.e. ones you are supposed to physically do rather than ones you are responsible for seeing get done).
- Tasks that require a level of authorization the team member does not have.
- Finally Tasks that cannot be accomplished efficiently due to lack of tools, equipment or other constraints.
10.Make time to be effective
- Make time to focus on the important jobs by blocking out time in your diary (calendar). When you have a complex or detailed task to undertake, it can take a while to get into the right frame of mind so allow an adequate block of time; a 2-hour block twice a week is probably more effective than 1 hour a day.
- Ideally, this focused work period should be at a regular time, tuned to your circadian rhythm so everyone gets into the habit of letting you work in peace.
11.Divide your time
Good time management that supports an effective work/life balance and also makes you a better leader.
To be more productive you need to divide your day into 3 different ‘Zones’:
- Go Zone
- Slow Zone
- No Zone
The ‘Go Zone’, a couple of hours once a day with no interruptions where you focus on one important task. You focus intently and work hard so this needs to be limited to 2 hours.
12. The Right State of Mind
- How do you maintain the concentrated focus required for productive work, in the midst of all the demands and distractions of your working life?
- Did you know a particular stimulus can trigger a focused concentrated work state?
Maybe you have a special place you go to for focused work:
- Particular chair
- A secluded office
Or you may have a favorite:
- Software application
- Make of computer
Sometimes using other tools doesn’t feel quite right. Once you get into the habit of using these triggers, they form a kind of ritual, or process of self-hypnosis if you like.
13. Distractions and interruptions
People are always getting distracted and interrupted in the office.
There are things you can do to minimize distractions and interruptions such as:
- Switch off your mobile phone.
- Put the landline on the answerphone.
- Close your e-mail application.
If the office noise is distracting:
- Try listening to music on your headphones.
- Set up a signal (e.g. a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on your desk) to let your colleagues know they will interrupt you at their peril.
- Keep a notepad open and write down any tasks to do with other projects that occur to you while you are working.
- You can then consult the pad and get on with them after you have finished.
14.Work with Procrastination
The human psyche seems designed to procrastinate! Some of the key drivers include:
The brain is built to firstly minimise danger before maximising rewards
Any threat to self is minimised, any handy reward is tempting. This alone accounts for a great deal of our procrastination as we avoid tasks that threaten the self, and we discount future rewards in favour of immediate
gratification. A little more focus on emotional intelligence can help here. Too often, feelings trump reasons, and also we give into feeling good.
Too much uncertainty feels dangerous
It feels like possible pain so we avoid it. Task uncertainty is a major correlate of procrastination. It feels dangerous, and we want to avoid this feeling so we do. We procrastinate. The uncertainty in our modern world
isn’t a lurking predator, but our stone-age brain doesn’t know this. We simply feel the potential for disaster. We need to strategically reduce uncertainty rather than just run away.
Our conscious processing capacity is small, which makes us terrible at a lot of things, including predicting what might make us happy.
The planning fallacy and our poor ability at effective forecasting create a very difficult situation for accurately setting realistic goals and sticking to them. We can enhance the skills needed to improve our predictions,
but this takes practice and conscious work.
Our capacity to regulate emotions is limited, depletes fast and needs to be used quickly to be effective.
There is willpower that is sadly a limited resource and also a key issue in our self-regulation. Fortunately, it can also be bolstered, restored and used strategically to serve our intentions and goals.
Our intentions and goals alter the information that the brain pays attention to.
Yes, but there is often a big gap between our intentions and our actions, and this is a defining aspect of procrastination. Understanding the first four of these “quirks of our brain” helps us explain just how
our intentions and goals alter our attentional processes, for better or worse. Supplementing goal intentions with implementation intentions can help.
Tips to Combat Procrastination
- Write down specific goals
- Apply the Rule of Five:
- Start the day with a minor achievement
If you are procrastinating about a ‘goal’ of some sort (personal or professional), research has shown that people who write down specific goals for their future are far more likely to be successful than those who have
either unwritten goals or no specific goals at all.
The people who wrote down their goals shared this information with a friend, and sent weekly updates to that friend were on average 33% more successful in accomplishing their stated goals than those who merely formulated goals.
15.You are at the mercy of interruptions
Whenever you sit down to focus on your own work, you never know when your concentration will be broken by:
- A phone call
- A request from a colleague
- Even by yourself
- The hypnotic explanation is that memory is dependent on your state of mind, so when you change your focus, you’re changing your state of mind – which makes it hard to remember what you were thinking about before. Think of a time when you were chatting with a friend in a restaurant or at a party and someone came over and interrupted you with a question – when they left, you both turned to each other and asked ‘What were we talking about?’
16.A Never-ending to-do list
- The ‘Sisyphus effect’ is the result of endless to-do lists, which in turn are created by a constant stream of incoming demands.
- We start the day full of enthusiasm, but by the end of it, we’ve taken on so many new commitments that the to-do list is longer than when we started.
- When you’re faced with a limited number of things to do in a day, even if they aren’t all particularly exciting, you generally feel motivated enough to get through them. But if you’re
faced with a vaguely defined, open-ended list of tasks, you can feel a sense of hopelessness and your energy drops. You can even find yourself paralysed by inaction when faced with 3 or 4 really exciting pieces of work if you don’t think there’s time to do them all.
17.You need to give yourself room to breathe!
- Faced with the twin problems of unpredictable interruptions and the Sisyphus effect of never-ending tasks, you need to give yourself room to breathe, keep a clear head and stay focused on what you want to achieve.
- You need to install a buffer between others’ demands and your response. Otherwise, you’ll end up in permanently anxious and unproductive ‘reaction mode’.
- You need to find a way of fulfilling your commitments and giving others what they need from you within a reasonable timescale. Otherwise, you’ll quickly gain a reputation for unreliability and also pay the penalty.
Here’s a solution to the never-ending stream of e-mail. In this system, on a typical day you only have to deal with one day’s worth of e-mails – i.e. those that arrived yesterday:
- Supposing you received 40 e-mails yesterday (once you’ve weeded out all the spam) – the first thing you do is move these 40 e-mails into a folder marked ‘action’. These are the only e-mails you are going to deal with today.
- Sometimes you will receive an e-mail that has to be answered today – e.g. from your boss, demanding an urgent document by 5 pm. But these should be the exceptions, rather than the general rule.
- Most tasks are not nearly as urgent as we think they are – ask yourself
‘Will there be a disaster if I don’t answer this until tomorrow?’
The answer is usually ‘No’.
18.Be More Effective
There are various ways you can be more effective with your time navigate the tabs and also following slides to learn more.
Start the Night Before
Sun Tzu said in his book The Art of War – “Every battle is won before it is fought”. Having a plan in place, along with options, was critical to his success. We can apply his logic to your workday. Your success tomorrow starts with proper planning tonight. Create an action plan on how you want the day to go. What are the major objectives/goals you want to accomplish? When will you do them during the day? The key is to be proactive, not reactive.
As human beings, we are responsible for our own lives. We have the independent will to make our own choices and decisions, and the responsibility to make the right choices. You have the freedom to choose your own fate and path, so having the independent will, imagination and self-awareness to make the right move makes you a proactive and not a reactive, person.
Start on Time
The earlier you rise, the more time you have to accomplish all your goals for the day. Have a proper breakfast to fuel your body and kick-start your day. And keeping to a regular start time ensures that the day runs according to your schedule and that you aren’t in a frazzled state of mind. This means leaving ample time for your commute, coffee, etc. If you are the type of person who takes a little while to get going once in your office, consider sitting down a bit earlier and also focusing on the day.
19.Getting Things Off Your Mind
- What if you could dedicate fully 100 percent of your attention to whatever was at hand, of your own choosing, with no distraction?
- It’s a condition of working, doing, and being in which the mind is clear… Most people give either more or less attention to things than they deserve, simply because they don’t operate with a “mind like water”.
The Benefits of Getting Things off your mind:
- When you get things off your mind you can forget about them and give your full attention to whatever you’re doing at the moment.
- You’ll stop forgetting important things – The number of commitments you’ll forget will drop dramatically.
- You’ll stop worrying about forgetting things.
- Finally you can easily review your commitments – So you’re less likely to take on more than you can manage.
Thus by following all the above tips we can learn the art of Time Management and also manage the Time Effectively and Efficiently.
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