Time, while short and fleeting, is something that can be handled even by simple human beings like us. The best way to deal with it is to know early on what we want to happen to our lives and which directions we would like to go, in order for us to map out a more effective life plan. If we do not know what our plans are, then it doesn’t really make sense to get into time management because we will just end up with one big mess of activities. However, the man who fails to plan, plans to fail.
The first thing to do is define your needs, and, then determine how much time you can spend on each one. This you can easily do with the help of time management skills. As time is a very valuable resource, it’s not a smart idea to waste it on unnecessary things. The good news is that there are several effective time management techniques you can apply and balance your daily tasks correctly.
1. Define how you spend your time
Firstly, for better time management, you might want to analyze how you spend your time now. To do this, divide your day into fifteen-minute segments, then record what you are doing every fifteen minutes. Afterward, review this time diary and total the time spent on each activity throughout the day.
For instance, you might find that you spent three hours watching television, one hour exercising, one hour studying, and two hours shopping. Next, evaluate the use of time. You might decide you spend too much time watching TV and too little time studying. Based upon this evaluation, decide on an adjustment, but make it specific. A good way to make this change is to draw up a contract with yourself that includes a reward for being successful.
2. Set Your Goals
The most essential thing you can do to manage time is to set daily, weekly, monthly, yearly and long-term goals. If you do not have a clear sense of where you are going just yet, you will not be able to plan how to get there. Organize your plan with help from this time management skill in order to maximize the chances of achieving your goals.
3. Learn to prioritize
Once you have defined your goals, you need to prioritize them and your activities. Not all of your goals will be at the same level of importance. Focus on those goals that are the most important to you, and work on the other goals later. You achieve this by spending time and focus on activities that are the most essential to those goals that are most important for you to achieve and slot in other activities afterward.
4. Keep a schedule
Once you have prioritized your activities, you can then schedule them into you daily routine. When will you go to the bank? When will you buy groceries? Do not forget to schedule some relaxation and rest, as well. This time management skill will help you to spend your time on useful things.
5. Maximize your rewards
In scheduling all your activities, remember what some time management experts say: we obtain 80% of our rewards on only 20% of our activities and, conversely, acquire only 20% of our rewards on 80% of the time we spend on them. What this shows is that we need to make sure we recognize and engage in 20% of the activities that give us 80% of our rewards before we move to other activities. Maximize your rewards by organizing your time.
Recent studies show that multitasking, rather than being an asset, is actually quite detrimental to productivity, as opposed to focusing on one job at a time. You cannot do everything by yourself. You are not superhuman after all, and don’t need to be, however, you do need to have time management skills. Know your limits and don’t be afraid to say “no” to more work or get others to share the load.
7. Don’t procrastinate
All this does is pile up your work, making it even more daunting. And the more daunting it is, the less you’ll be inclined to work on it, and the more you’ll put it off. It’s a vicious cycle, indeed. So another time management tip is to break the task apart into several tiny, more manageable pieces. Work on these pieces one at a time and before you know it, you have conquered the project in its entirety.
Work on your workspace so that it is conducive to productivity. Get rid of distractions, but do what works best for you. Some people prefer a desk that is the epitome of organization. But if your clutter is your very life source, the fuel from which you derive all of your creative energy, then keep the mess—as long as it’s an organized mess, meaning, you know exactly where everything is so that you don’t waste precious time scrounging around for a certain paper or anything else you might need.
9. Be organized online
A good time management skill to develop, even while online, is learning how to be more organized. This might seem an obvious tip, but it is something that most people fail to make a habit of. Not being able to organize things can lead to a considerable amount of time wasted on finding things and remembering tasks. Developing good organizational skills, in itself, can be a great time saver.
Better yet, you can conveniently organize these websites by using the bookmark feature of your PC browser. This way you can always access your bookmarked sites any time you wish to visit them. You no longer have to spend time trying to remember them.
Another good online time management skill to develop is learning how to check your emails on a scheduled basis. More online time is spent browsing through emails, especially those that prove to be useless. Without a schedule to follow, you can easily immerse yourself in spending time checking your emails with complete disregard of the time you are taking to do it.
Maintain a habit of giving a specified amount of time to checking your emails. Try to strictly enforce this schedule on yourself so that you don’t waste time solely on emails while leaving other tasks undone.
10. Take care of your health
Spending time on yourself will help you to save your time and have a higher productivity. We all do tasks faster and more effectively when we are feeling good. But if you don’t take care of yourself, and don’t pay enough attention to your health and rest, then sometimes you will feel tired and exhausted. This can result in a lot of diseases appearing arising from depression and ending with nervous and cardiovascular system problems. So, it’s better to put your health and feelings well above all other things because, let’s face it; when you feel bad, tired or sick, those things you gave priority to won’t be so important to you.
Time is such an invaluable resource. So, simply follow these time management tips and actually get things done – right on time and without ever having to rely on the last minute cram. Eventually, you can have perfect organizational and time management skills and establish an ideal balance in your life between your work and times of rest.