All of us have always had exactly the same amount of time at our disposal. We live in a world of intense time pressure, with commitments that overlap each other and all seem equally critical. The clock keeps ticking relentlessly, regardless of what we do or don’t do. Despite this, there are some who are able to pack in a productive and highly effective day into those 24 hours, while others rush about being overwhelmingly busy, but not actually achieving much!
Mastering time management skills will get you set for success and take you the extra mile in your life. Here are some thoughts and time management tips to help you manage the time at your disposal.
Plan your work for today and every day, then work your plan — Margaret Thatcher
If you have no idea what you want to achieve during your day, then you may end up achieving nothing much at all. You can use Time management tools like Google email, calendar and tasks to keep everything organized. Apps like Remember the Milk, Evernote and Focus Booster are a great way to help you optimize your time and schedule tasks. Plan your day…and then set about putting your plan into action!
Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important — Stephen Covey
Prioritise. Before you leave home in the morning, try to set the priorities on your To-Do list for the day. Decide the three (or four, or five) MOST important things on your schedule, and get them done, no matter what. You can also try setting weekly and monthly priorities. Whatever works.
People often complain about lack of time when the lack of direction is the real problem —Zig Ziglar
Focus. Know what your goals are; have an overall plan for your life. Once you have the big picture, keep going in the right direction and don’t lose focus. It’s easy to get sidetracked and lose your vision. Without goals, you will not be able to move forward with purpose.
First, let me finish. Then interrupt— Brian Spellman
Interruptions can seriously derail your work and make you lose control of your workday. Phone calls and incoming email alerts can start you off on a parallel trail of work, while your prioritised tasks are neglected. When you are working on something serious, try relocating to a place where you will not be disturbed. Let just one person know where you can be reached for an emergency. Of course, your boss needs to know what you are up to, or you could land in trouble!
Learn to delegate and empower people — Tyra Banks
The best managers are those who are able to delegate the right work to the right people. You cannot do everything yourself, so let others help where they can. When you do not delegate, you end up with too much on your plate and too little time to do a good job. Delegating tasks frees you up to concentrate on what you do best.
Everyone needs deadlines — Walt Disney.
To manage your time better, you need to work to scheduled deadlines. If you are working to a deadline set by someone else, try to complete the task a few hours ahead of time, so that you can review your work and fix any snags before you submit it for approval. Never leave things hanging till the last minute and then do a rush job.
It’s only by saying “no” that you can concentrate on the things that are really important — Steve Jobs
Why do most of us have such a problem saying No to others? It’s fine to be a people pleaser when you are new at your job, but as you move up the ladder you must learn to gently – yet firmly – refuse to take on additional responsibilities that will get you nowhere. Focus on the tasks that are on your list, not on others.
You can be a complainer, or you can be an achiever, but you can’t be both — Robin Sharma.
Complaining never gets you anywhere- you are more likely getting a bad reputation, and not getting what you want. Whining doesn’t get the job done, and wastes precious time. Instead of finding fault with something, see if you can find a solution to the problem at hand.
If you can find a way to relax five minutes every hour, you’d be more productive — Joyce Brothers
Factor in some rest and relaxation time into your schedule. You need to charge your batteries every now and then, or you will run out of steam! Take small breaks to walk around, drink a glass of water, share a laugh… it will do you a world of good and you will find that you are more productive!
To summarize: Never underestimate the importance of time management and how it can make your day more productive! Stop rushing through your day without any direction; plan and prioritise and set deadlines. Learn what is important and cut out unnecessary responsibilities and unwanted interruptions. Set goals that are doable, and keep your eyes on them. Finally, relax, and don’t burn yourself out!