Everybody wants to be productive, but they find themselves struggling to manage time to finish the day-to-day tasks/activities. The problems are varied and some of them are related to psychology. In the absence of time management, individuals find themselves floating, without being able to concentrate on a single task, till it gets completed. Scientology calls it, “bad control”. It creates confusion, chaos, distraction, procrastination and many other issues and you end up without being able to finish any task, at the end of the day. It is also called the butterfly mind, which keeps on wandering here and there.
The Sad Story:
Problems One Faces in the Absence of any Time Management
For example, someone undertakes the task of checking the last month schedule and finding out the unfinished tasks. During the course of this activity, he happens to recall that he needs to make two sales calls. He leaves the task unfinished and proceeds to the telephone. He finds that the customers are not available. Disappointed, he heads towards cafeteria to have a cup of coffee. He is not yet finished with his coffee and his cell phone starts ringing. There’s some urgent call from his boss, who wants him to immediately leave the office and visit an important client. He comes back in the evening, only to find that no task could be accomplished that day. This story relates to most of us, when it comes to time management.
Handling Too Many Tasks at a Time
When we do not attach a deadline to a task, there are more chances that it would remain unfinished for long time. People, who do not practice time management, are often disorganized, confused and less productive. Sometimes, they start too many things at a time and end up finishing hardly one thing on time. The result is chaos and poor performance. They think that they would be able to accomplish more, if they undertake too many tasks at a time. But, contrary to it, this leads to a messy situation. According to the time management experts, one should do a series of tasks in several cycles, finishing one cycle completely before proceeding to another. Time management also helps us avoid distractions, which is a human problem.
What is Time Management?
According to physics, time cannot be managed, as it is always moving forward. As a matter of fact, everybody of us has only 24 hours in a day. But, some people are extremely successful, while people with similar talent and opportunities are struggling. Your success in life depends on your time management skills. Therefore, we can say that time management is the practice through which we can make the best use of our time.
Time management enables us to take conscious control of the time allotted to different activities. The objective of time management is to improve individual efficiency and productivity. To effectively implement time management, organizations and individuals use several tools, technologies and skills to perform the tasks according to the quality standards and meeting deadlines.
The practice mainly includes planning and prioritizing your tasks, making a schedule and goal setting. These are some of the proven techniques to exercise control over time allotted to different activities in life. The other measures include delegating your tasks and monitoring the time taken to complete different tasks. It will surely make you more effective as far as productivity is concerned. The other measures include organizing your workspace and keeping the clutter away. Maintain your focus and seek motivation to achieve more in less time.
Earlier, people practiced time management only for business or corporate activities, but with life getting more complex, people are exercising it in every aspect of their lives. You need time management skills in order to stay healthy, be successful at work, keep a work life balance, socialize and perform religious rituals as well. Therefore, time management is needed in order to be successful in your personal life as well.
Time management teaches us to stay organized, finish tasks smoothly and on-time without getting overburdened. It is an essential element of modern life.
Steps of Time Management
Abraham Lincoln had once said that if he had five hours to cut down the trunk of a tree, he would spend the first three hours sharpening his tools. There is wisdom in this philosophy and it is the core of time management. We can follow several tips to implement time management, but there are five major steps to it and every other activity revolves around it.
These steps are as follows:
* Arrange effective settings and create environment conducive to the implementation of your tasks
* Set your priorities according to the urgencies
* Plan your activities around your priorities
* Try to use tools, techniques and skills needed to reduce time spent on your tasks
* Reduce time spent on non-priorities
1. Create Environment Conducive to the Implementation of your Tasks
Cut down everything that encourages procrastination and impedes your speed of working. It might be bad habits, unwanted people, and fruitless activities such as playing online games, watching TV, surfing Internet for no apparent reason, gossiping, frequent use of mobile phone, spending too much time in canteen or cafeteria and offering “help” to “distressed, melancholic and chronically depressed” people, especially if other people are available for it. The best way is to refer them to a psychiatrist or a motivator.
Time management tips
Here are some tips to effectively implement time management:
A. Remove clutter from your workspace and arrange it nicely to enhance productivity
B. Block unnecessary people coming in to interrupt you
C. Restrict the use of cell phone
D. Arrange all necessary tools near your workspace
E. Hire people for secondary jobs, especially the ones, which can be carried out by others and where hiring/outsourcing is cheaper than carrying it out yourself
F. Remove distractions
G. Find out the factors that impede your productivity and eliminate those
H. Take pauses, and refresh yourself every now and then, to rejuvenate yourself and induce fresh energy. You can also practice meditation.
I. You can make efficient business partners to reduce your work
J. Maintain your focus and remove the anxiety
K. Learn to say “no” to unwanted people or requests
L. Set some time away to use social media, such as Twitter and Facebook
2. Set your Priorities
Differentiate priorities from non-priorities and once you set your priorities right, make a feasible schedule to complete it. Create a planner, a “to-do list”, or use a business organizer and categorize your tasks and assign the level of priority to them. For example, you can use A for high priority, B for medium priority and C for low priority.
There are many online planners available that can be used, if you frequently use your smartphone or tablet. You can also set “alerts” in these planners.
3. Plan your Activities around your Priorities
It is a good habit to plan your activities around your priorities in advance. You can use the month’s calendar for that and enter those activities, according to the weeks and days. It is very important, if you’re doing a course or learning something that takes time.
4. Using Tools, Techniques and Skills needed to Reduce Time Spent on your Tasks
Don’t forget to enter your achievements in your monthly scheduler; it acts as a motivational factor and prompts you to achieve even more. Also, set a deadline before the actual date of completion. It gives you space and helps you achieve it in time.
5. Reduce Time Spent on Non-priorities
List the small tasks that can be done in your leisure time. It will save you a great deal of time, and would also prevent these to emerge as a full-blown priority. It includes paying bills, making lists and buying grocery, etc.