Do you shudder when you think about how much you have to do, and how little time you have to it? Go to any self-help section on any media device, bookstore, magazine, or other means, and it’s easy to find the latest and greatest app, article, or book on time management. Why is time management so important? Time management brings many benefits including, more productivity, less stress because tasks get completed, less procrastination, towards the tasks that you don’t like, and more time for you!
The goal of time management is to become more efficient, or using your time to the fullest extent possible. This may sound idealistic but, once it ticks by, time does not come back.
Unfortunately, time management is an acquired skill. It is something that has to be taught. It’s not typically learned in classrooms, but we are constantly expected to be here or there on time, with this or that project completed, and have all the right items in our possession to participate in our next activity.
There many resources and systems to help you manage time, all claiming to be what you need. The bottom line is that time management is highly individualized. Individuals need to create systems that work for them to become more efficient throughout the day.
Let’s look at some ways to do better manage time:
- Make your own lists, and prioritize the events for the day. Even though you probably have many responsibilities, using a list in any format can help you get started. Simply taking the time to identify your assignments and write them down often gives you the motivation to begin. Checking off the task after it’s done makes the list even better!
- After you have made the list, focus on one thing at a time. Too often we are interrupted by pressing situation, and we get off track. If you look up any brain research, it has been scientifically established that multitasking does not benefit us or lead to increased productivity.
- Identify and set short-term and long-term goals. This is really easy to do during our new year’s resolutions. Too often we fail to meet our goals because our daily to do lists have not been checked off. How many times do you hear a co-worker or family member fall off the wagon by not going to the gym by January 25 of the New Year? Our short term and long-term goals, or our dreams, are managed by what we do now. Take the time to write them down, and keep your eyes focused on your dreams.
- Evaluate your short term and long term goals every few weeks. Are you moving in the direction you want to go? What is working well? What needs to change? Are you accomplishing enough in your daily tasks to get there?
- Use your “downtime” efficiently. All of us have appointments with wait times. With the availability of media at our fingertips, use the time to read or listen a book or article on your device. complete paperwork, or review your goals. Always have something available you can do to increase your productivity.
- Begin the hardest tasks first, and avoid putting them off. Taking a step each day or hour on a dreaded project leads to its completion.
- Celebrate your success and completed lists on an ongoing basis. This can be something as small as going to your local Starbucks, taking a walk around .. but please save the Sangria until after 5p.
- Working as team towards a common goal yields amazing results. Use your co-workers strengths and talents to strategically complete the task. Delegate responsibilities to others on your team, and keep each other accountable.
- Finally, as you gain more confidence in your time management skills, be careful not to take on too much, which can lead to burn out. It is common for bosses to recognize efficient leaders and workers, and we all need help in this information age.
By taking these small steps, you can definitely become better at time management, which is one great tool towards achieving your dreams.
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