Time is a precious resource set at just 24 hours a day. You cannot change this but you can organize yourself and manage your daily activities to make the most of the time available. Time management is essential to working efficiently and productively. It also reduces the stress that comes with struggling to beat deadlines and balancing your work with other daily activities. Here are seven tips to use for effective time management:
- Know Your Goals: Your daily activities and plan should revolve towards the attainment of short term and long term goals. You have to set goals for each day that will guide your planning and these daily goals should be leading to your overall goals at work or life.
- Prioritize Wisely: Much time is wasted due to a lack of priorities and in the prioritizing of time wasting activities much more than the tasks that are urgent and important. Here is the criteria you should use when it comes to setting up tasks according to priority.
- Important and urgent tasks- These are must do tasks and should be done immediately before anything else.
- Important but not urgent- These are the tasks which may appear important but on further examination they do not have the urgency and importance of the first category. Plan when to do them later.
- Urgent but not important- These are small tasks that look so urgent they demand higher priority. However, once accomplished they do not have any lasting value. You should delegate these task whenever possible or leave them for later.
- Not urgent and not important- These should be the tasks allocated time last; they are among the leading time wasters since they offer the illusion of being busy.
Have three or four important and urgent tasks listed according to their urgency. You can check them off as you finish each to serve as a motivating factor.
- Learn to Say No: One of the biggest hindrances to proper time management is keeping on responding to every request and distraction coming your way. Once you have prioritized your work and schedule, discipline yourself to decline requests from outside and the urges from within you to switch to something else. This will allow you to grow greater willpower and focus. When activities and tasks hit a snag you cannot quickly resolve, move on to more productive work.
- Learn to Plan Ahead: Without a proper plan ahead of the day, you will easily lose focus on what is top priority and what is not and you will be jumping from tasks to task leaving several of them unfinished. You can plan your day ahead by having a few minutes the night before or the first few minutes in the morning for prioritizing work.
- Eliminate Distractions Especially the Self–Induced Interruptions: You can keep track of the time you get interrupted or respond to something that takes you away from your work. Note your biggest sources of distractions and eliminate them. Set a time for returning mails and calls during the day to avoid having to get your phone and getting lost in it.
Effective time management calls for a lot of discipline and you have to motivate yourself to get into the habit.
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