Over the course of your career and personal life, you could have taken a time management class, read about it in books, and tried to use an electronic or paper-based day planner to organize, prioritize and schedule your day. “While, with this knowledge and these gadgets,” you may ask, “do I still feel like I cannot get everything I need done?” It is at this point that you need to understand what time management means, but before you even think about time management, you need to understand what the word time means.
“Time” simply refers to the period when a particular thing happens. There are two types of time: clock time and real time.
Having known the two types of time, you may still ask yourself the kind of time in which you live. The good news for you is that real time is ideal. It is mental, you can create it bearing in mind that anything you create, you can manage.
Much like money, time is both valuable and limited: it must be protected, used wisely, and budgeted for. People who practice good time management techniques often find that they:
- Are more productive
- Have more energy for things they need to accomplish,
- Feel less stressed,
- Are able to do the things they want,
- Get more things done and
- Relate more positively to others
Finding time management success tips that work best for you depends on your personality, ability to self-motivate and level of self-discipline. By incorporating some, or all of the tips below, you can more effectively manage your time.
1. Set priorities
You could be that person that is very well organized and works hard, yet spend all your time on unimportant tasks. If you are this person, then you could be efficient but not effective. To be effective, you need to decide on what tasks are urgent and important and to focus on them. This is called prioritizing. Completing the most important tasks first is the golden rule of time management. Each morning, it is important that you consider at least two or three tasks that are most crucial and begin with those. One of the easiest ways to prioritize is to make a “to do” list. Whether you need a daily, weekly or monthly list depends on your lifestyle. Just be careful not to allow the list-making to get out of control and do not keep multiple lists at the same time. Rank the items on your “to do” list in order of priority (both important and urgent). Having a prioritized “to do” list allows you to say “no” to activities that may be interesting or provide a sense of achievement but do not fit your basic priorities.
2. Get organized
Most people find that disorganization results into poor time management. Professional organizers recommend that you first get rid of the clutter. This can be done in a commonly used method of separating all your activities into 3 categories that is: keep, give away and toss. It is important that you throw away all the items in the toss category. The items in the giveaway category are usually those that you would want to delegate, discontinue and offer or even sell to someone. It I also important that you find a way of eliminating these items one by one.
3. Schedule time appropriately
Even the busiest people find time for what they want to do and feel is important. Scheduling is not just recording what you have to do (e.g., meetings and appointments), it is also making a time commitment to the things you want to do. Good scheduling requires that you know yourself. Using your time log, you should have determined those times during the day when you are most productive and alert. Plan your most challenging tasks for when you have the most energy. Block out time for your high priority activities first and protect that time from interruptions
Delegation means assigning responsibility for a task to someone else, freeing up some of your time for tasks that require your expertise. This begins by identifying tasks that others can do and then selecting the appropriate person(s) to do them. You need to select someone with the appropriate skills, experience, interest, and authority needed to accomplish the task. Delegating helps you takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.
5. Avoid multitasking
If you are multi-tasking so much that you are just not getting anything done, then is important that you focus on just one key task at one time. Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Recent studies show that multitasking does not save any time. In fact, the opposite is true. There is always a lot of time wastage in switching from one task to another thus less productivity. Daily multitasking leads to less concentration and loss of focus when needed
6. Stay healthy
It is very important for one to know that the care and attention you give to yourself is an important life investment. Scheduling time to relax can help you rejuvenate both physically and mentally, enabling you to accomplish tasks more quickly and easily.
You may feel you are working too much and maybe planning to head for a burnout and have lost your enthusiasm and creativity. It is time to remove any self-sabotage or self-limitation you have around “not having enough time,” or today not being “the right time” to start a business or manage your current business properly. Poor time management can result in fatigue, moodiness, and more frequent illness. To reduce stress, you should reward yourself for a time management success. Take time to recognize that you have accomplished a major task or challenge before moving on to the next activity.
By Mackline Ampurira
Mackline joined BLEGSCOPE Team as an Intern and is now a Management Consultant Trainee. She previously worked with the Ugandan Ministry of Health in conjunction with (USAID) Monitoring and Evaluation Technical Team as a Research Assistant. She has interest in Marketing, Management and Human Resources. You can follow her on Twitter >>@mackampurira