Time is one of the most expensive assets that we have. All of us have been provided with 24 hours in a day and still we find that some people are able to do so much in a day while we struggle all through. The secret of this could be the difference in time management by these people. Time management is the planning and allocation of time to various activities one does to increase the efficiency and productivity. Time management encompasses the professional as well as personal works. If you are also one of the persons who are struggling with increasing your business efficiency, and work and personal life balance, read on the various manner how you could best utilize your time.
1. Set Goals
When thinking of goals, generally people think of long term goals but one needs to have ultra short term ‘day goals’ as well. As Jim Rohn said, “Never start a day without planning”, goal setting will go a long way in judicious use of your time. 10 minutes of planning could save you at least two hours in the day when you have all the required work organised and planned with you. Key is to write down your goals for the day and to go through this written goal’s list many times during the day. An unwritten goal is a sure recipe for failure.
2. Break into smaller steps
Break your tasks into smaller sub tasks and plan them meticulously in your planner. One, it will cause you to focus on the task to be completed, secondly once even a small task is completed it gives you a sense of accomplishment and provide you the momentum throughout the day. Different components or sub tasks can be delegated to other team members for maximum efficiency.
To prioritize your tasks is one of the very important time management skills. In your day list or week list you will be having a lot of tasks to be completed and the most common tendency is to start with the smallest and easiest tasks right in the beginning. In place of this a better strategy would be to start with the most important and difficult tasks right in the beginning of the day or the week. Reason is that usually 80 percent of our results would be because of 20 percent of tasks, which may be difficult but of high significance. So always prioritize. In the planner always mark your ‘must’ items and face them head on at the start.
4. Make To-Do Lists
Today in the time of technology you have a lot of tools available to streamline your jobs. A To-Do list is a must for every person and prioritization and reminders can be done through these lists. Every task that is to be done should be on this list and each time you complete a task check off the same. To-Do list makes your day organised. Apart from this, To-Do list also maintains a calendar where long term appointments and reminders could be added.
5. Avoid procrastination
Best time to do something is now. Procrastination is the biggest single reason of failures in accomplishment of one’s goals and resultant stress. Usually people procrastinate because they attach more pleasure to other things and see the work at hand as pain. They don’t realize if left unattended the same task will cause bigger pain in future and reflect poorly on your performance and results. Most often if you start a task, even if expecting various difficulties in the beginning you will get the means to complete those tasks. As they say, “To complete a journey of thousand miles, take a first step.”
6. Avoid interruption in work
Always try to work in an atmosphere where you can work without any distractions and interruptions. It has been proved that a slight break in your concentration even for a minute will break your momentum and you will find it hard to regain your concentration. These interruptions can be in form of somebody dropping by at your cubicle or a beep of your mobile. Technology was developed for our use and make our life convenient whereas today it is very common to see that people are distracted maximum by their gadgets. Turn them off or at least keep them on silent.
7. Develop Positive Habits
It helps if you have some positive and healthy habits of doing various things like waking up early in the morning and retiring to the bed at the designated time. This helps in maintaining your body clock and those who respect their body clock feel much more energetic and focused than those who don’t follow these simple things. Try to do at least a mild exercise, take time out for some sort of meditation and have some personal time to think about the day and how you fared through it.
For a person working in supervisory or managerial capacity, delegating work to be done is as important or even more than your own planning and will become a great time management tool. Delegation of work is leveraging your resources for better productivity. Build a better and efficient team and give them a free hand. It may also bring a fresh perspective and a new way to do the job at hand. Another advantage of delegating is that it creates more free time for you, which can be used to do even more important tasks.
With better time management you will be able to improve your quality of life and add value to all the work that you do. It takes away or reduces the stress component in your life. You become more happy and healthy, and achieve better results. Remember being busy and productive are two entirely different things. Purpose is to become more productive and less busy so that you get more time for yourself, that is ‘Smart Working’ and one of the most important elements of smart working is Efficient Time Management.