How often have we heard someone complaint “I have too much to do and not enough time” and haven’t we all heard the usual dialogue “due lack of time my finances are poor, or I have not been able to achieve my goals, or been able to exercise?
Time management is a skill that many of us seem to learn through necessity. The problem with learning a skill through necessity is that, more often than not, bad habits creep in and, although the skill may be useful in general, we do not use it to its full potential.
In today’s day and age where the competition is increasing manifolds each second and the work load gets doubled every other day it is of utmost importance for us to manage our time effectively. Here are few tips that we think will help you do just that.
1. Be Clear about Goals and Objectives
A sure way to delay in getting started or to make a job last longer than it needs to is being unsure about the objectives. You will often waste time doing work that doesn’t need to be done or spend too much time on other work. Before you set out get clarity on your goals and objectives.
2. Schedule your Time
If you want to have good time management skills, the first thing you will need is a calendar. Stuff has to get scheduled. If you don’t use a calendar then the dreaded jobs — like doing your taxes and cleaning the bathroom — will never get done. Start by scheduling the essential jobs, the appointments, meetings and any other responsibilities you are committed to. Then you will see how much time you have left over to populate.
3. Delegate When Possible
If you find after doing up your schedule that there isn’t much time left over, then think about delegating work. If you work alone, get a virtual assistant. Remember what David Allen says:
“Only do what only you can do.”
4. Monitor how you Spend Your Time
If getting a virtual assistant or anybody else to assist you isn’t an option, then you should start to monitor your time and see how you are spending it daily. You can use a monitoring program for this like Officemetrics or RescueTime. These programs can monitor all that you do on your computer and give you reports to show you how much time you spend on social media, email, Internet or any other work files. You may not like what you see…but it is always better to know.
5. Avoid Multitasking
Human beings can’t multitask (no, not even women). Our brains have become good at task switching, but cannot actually focus on two things at once. If we try to do more than one thing at the same time we lose time refocusing on the new task. If at all possible, focus on one job at a time and complete it before moving on to something else.
6. Do a Regular Mind Sweep
Do a regular mind sweep where you get a piece of paper and write down everything you need to do. Don’t categorize it. Just dump it all onto a piece of paper. Don’t separate work and home; they don’t have different compartments in the brain. Once you have done this schedule, work on any jobs that need to get done and put the rest into your task management system.
Remember if Branson thinks it’s important – you don’t argue. Branson reckons working out every day gives him 4 extra hours of productivity a day. Get regular exercise to give you energy, reduce your stress and help you to focus.
8. Eat Healthily
Nutrition is also very important. During the day it is important to eat the right foods to keep you energized and focused. Regular small bites rather than a large meal will keep your brain more alert during the day. Don’t go large periods of time without eating. This will result in fatigue and poor mental abilities. Drinking water will also keep dehydration at bay and keep your body and mind happy.
9. Avoid Procrastination at All Costs
When trying to be more productive and trying to save time, procrastination should be avoided like nothing else. It is the ultimate productivity-killer.
10. Make Use of Down Time
Use walking, driving, showering, or otherwise “dead” times to plan. Think about what your goals are for that day or the next. Which goals are most important? Prioritization is the key.
11. Slow down and breathe
Don’t forget to slow down and breathe deeply as often as possible. Lack of oxygen will make you slow and sluggish, which will affect your performance. The more you rush about from task to task the less you will achieve. Take your time, focus on the right things, and your time management skills will be top of the class before you know it.
There are many things you can do and tools to use to manage your time effectively. There is a lot of time wasted each day, which can be put to better uses. There are changes you can make, which will effectively increase the time you have at your disposal every day.
This is a post written by Deep Mehta. He very much welcomes your thoughts on the subject. You can share them below!