The Art of Time Management
Mastering the art of time management results in many benefits: among them, less stress, friction, and wasted time, greater achievements, and increased opportunities.
The main ‘myth’ about time management is the fact that the time used up in ‘managing’ is ironic. The most important distinction on managing it is the fact which task is of priority to you and which is actually not.
A good plan always includes an order of priority – what needs to be done first, and what can be done later. More importantly, it also has a deadline of when you ought to finish each of the steps involved as well as the entire job; but think carefully before you fill in this detail. Set realistic schedules by considering the amount of time you need, and leaving in a little extra time for all those unexpected things that come up to interfere with your schedule. If you are typing up a report for instance, make sure you figure in the time for collecting all the relevant information; leave extra time for delays because someone else is not able to immediately provide you with the info you need.
Prioritize your Activities
Understanding that you can’t do everything will help you to better manage your time. Applying the 80/20 principle will help you to prioritise important tasks as will scheduling only three priority tasks each day. Leave unimportant and routine tasks until the end of the day when your energy levels are lower.
Accomplish Multiple Goals Easily
We all have multiple goals in our lives including career goals, health goals, learning a new skill etc. Achieving all this is possible only with effective time management. For instance, you can maintain your health only if you are able to spend extra hours on it. On the other hand, if you simply rush to the office at the last moment it becomes highly difficult.
Learn to Delegate
We can all be guilty of wanting to do everything ourselves. Unfortunately, that can lead to burnout before too long. Delegating less important tasks at work or household tasks at home can free up more time for you to spend on important activities.
Get into a routine
Are there tasks that are often repeated daily, weekly, or monthly? Set those blocks on your calendar for the same time each week, get used to doing similar tasks at similar times. This will help you and those around you feel grounded and normal even when you are on a crazy deadline.
Begin and end working at the same time each day. Setting this routine helps your sleep schedule and makes you feel better all day.
Give yourself time to decompress after work. Even 5 minutes before going home to walk around the block and think about all the things you accomplished will help you absorb and center.
Get Enough Rest
Cutting out sleep time is okay for a day or two if you have a deadline looming but using this strategy over a longer period is shortsighted. Feeling tired during the day prevents you from achieving all that you should. For the same reason, be sure to schedule breaks and relaxation into your calendar.
Say No Occasionally
A can-do attitude is one to be commended but you should not allow yourself to become so bogged down by additional requests that you fail to achieve what you set out to do in the first place. It’s important that you don’t become so much of a people pleaser that your workload becomes unmanageable.
Celebrate victories, evaluate losses.
Once you have spent time using these tips (a day, a week, a month), track your time again, and evaluate how you’re doing: What things were late? Do those need to have more time blocked out? Were you distracted while doing a task? What things have gotten better? Be honest and kind; this is a process that takes time.
Give yourself a goal for the next time you track your time. If you reach your goal, give yourself something fun; a special dinner, a day at the spa, a vacation, etc.
Time management is all about creating more freedom for yourself and reducing stress. It is as important as learning to budget money (in fact, the two are almost the same).
Time is our medium, and time management is an art that will change your life. Befriend it.