How to Manage Time With 10 Tips That Work
“Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One man gets only a week’s value out of a year while another man gets a full year’s value out of a week.” – Charles Richards
What comes into your mind when you think of the most precious thing in the world? For some it is diamonds. Yet for others it is gold. Some think of their home, wife and children.
However, very few people manage to answer the question correctly. The answer to this question is time. Time is the most precious commodity in the world despite the fact that it is the most commonly available. What makes it precious is our tendency to waste it.
It is important for everyone in this world to manage time regardless of whatever you do. It is the secret to success and the most successful men in the history were able to open this secret. You have exactly the same amount of time as did Sir Isaac Newton, Tesla, Mother Teresa, Muhammad Ali, Bill Gates, Einstein, Leonardo di Vinci and Michelangelo etc.
What you need to do is to manage your time properly just like all the people who have successfully left their mark on the history.
Unfortunately, time management is a skill very few people succeed in mastering. That being said, you actually need to structure your life rather than trying to manage time, especially if you are running a business. It is also a fact that some of the most experienced businessmen or professionals struggle badly when it comes to time management.
However, it is the most important skill to have in both business and life. And if you are able to optimize your time properly, you will get an unprecedented success in both professional and personal life.
Here are top 10 time management tips that actually work. You can use them days in and days out and the results will always be the same.
KNOW YOUR OBJECTIVES
First and foremost, you need to identify your business as well as life goals. If you are totally unaware of what your targets are, you can never optimize your time accordingly.
The lack of life goals will only result in the waste of precious time. Without the set targets and goals, everything you do is a potential time waster only.
Therefore, your daily routine should consist of activities and task which directly relate to your goals and help you achieve them in the short and long run.
It is also advisable to set daily goals in order to fully optimize the 24 hours available to you every day.
Similarly, decide early in the morning what results you want to attain from each of the activity you are going to engage in the day. For instance, decide why you are going to meet someone in the evening? What is the purpose of the meeting you have called? It is also imperative to take 5 minutes after every task you complete and determine whether you have achieved your desired results or not.
By performing this ritual daily, you will have an initial idea of what time management looks and feels like. Ultimately, you can implement your time management strategy on bigger scale as well.
PRIORITIZATION IS THE KEY
There are two types of tasks in the world, the urgent tasks and the less urgent tasks. It is an open secret that you should always tackle urgent tasks first. However, this is not always the case.
Most people keep on wasting time on trivial tasks like checking their Facebook and Twitter status, texting aimlessly, watching Game of Thrones over and over again and of course, just procrastinating. You should not do that. If you don’t prioritize your tasks, you are not going to make most of the time available to you.
Task prioritization is the most important aspect of time management. First Things First by Steven Covey, one of the most popular books on time management, offers a very effective tool for organizational time management.
It helps you create a to-do-list depending upon the importance and urgency of your daily business tasks. In this regard, you can categorize your tasks into following groups.
- Important and Urgent. These are the tasks which need your immediate attention. You should do them right away without any delay.
- Important but not Urgent. Initially, these tasks look important but become less important after closer inspection. It is up to you to decide what you need to do with them.
- Urgent but not Important. These are the tasks which create a lot of hassle but do not offer any real value after completion. You better delegate these tasks to someone else.
- Not Urgent and not Important. These tasks have the lowest priority. You normally do them to look busy. It is better to perform them at some free time if you have any.
You should always have a list of the most important tasks you need to do every day. Check them of your list one by one as you complete them. Keep repeating the process and you will become adept in prioritizing your tasks.
PLAN IN ADVANCE
“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.” – Paul J. Meyer
A planned life is always better than an unplanned life. There is no other opinion about it. Nothing can be worse than having no idea of what you have to do to put your life back on the right track. Similarly, running an unplanned business is a proven recipe for a disaster.
If you do not plan your tasks and activities in advance, you will not only waste a lot of precious time but your business will eventually go to the ruins. Therefore, every business expert asserts on the importance of planning your business activities in advance.
As a matter of fact, you spend more time performing your tasks haphazardly as compared to time spent on actually planning and prioritizing them. Jumping aimlessly from one desk to another will not only make you lose time but you won’t be able to accomplish anything. Most successful people do two things to plan their daily activities.
They Plan a Day or Night before
They spare 15 to 30 minutes at the end of the everyday to make a list of the tasks they have to do first thing in the next morning. Another great decompression technique is to clean your desk before leaving.
You will feel relaxed and better just by looking at the clean table the next morning, helping you focus on the more important tasks at hand.
Plan in the Morning
You can also compile your to-do list by arriving 10 minutes early in the morning. In most cases, the tasks you assemble in the morning are actually the most important and urgent tasks of the day.
DON’T FOSTER DISTRACTIONS
The modern world is full of distractions most of which are related to technology such as social media, gaming and watching TV for hours.
For example, smartphone is one of the biggest inventions of the 21st century but it is also the most deceptive time waster in the modern world as well. You need to get rid of all these distractions if you want to optimize your time properly and focus on your life and business.
You also need to identify all the self-induced distractions and try to indulge in them only when absolutely necessary. You might also want to minimize the human-induced distractions from your life and work as well. Askothers, no matter who they are, not to interrupt you when you are performing an important task. It is easier said than done but this is what you have to do.
It is very difficult to break a bad habit or recover from an addiction.
But when there is a will there is a way. Yes, you do need a lot of will power and determination to remove all the unwanted distractions from your life. You have to switch off your phone for a while and concentrate on your tasks. It is also important to meet family, talk to your staff, response to your emails or answer calls.
But you don’t need to do all this when you are in the midst of something important.
For instance, accomplish all these missions before starting your day, by planning a break in the day or after finishing your work when you have nothing else to do.
DELEGATE YOUR DUTIES QUITE OFTEN
You may be a very hard working person.
Similarly, you may by expert in multitasking or do not have enough manpower to delegate you duties. All these things compel you to do all the work yourself. Whether you realize it or not, it is one of the biggest methods of wasting your time. Besides, multitasking is never going to produce the desired results you want.
So what should be the best course of action for you? You should probably try to delegate your duties as often as possible. You should probably start by hiring more employees if you can afford of course. These employees can carry some of your burden and take some of the work of your desk.
You should not overly indulge yourself in trivial day to day matters if you want to be a successful businessman. You should focus on the future and long term goals. One way of doing this is to pass some of your responsibilities to others.
USE CALENDARS AND SET TIME LIMIT FOR EVERY TASK
If you want to manage your daily activities in the best manner possible, start using calendars at the earliest. Some of the most important mailing software such as Lotus and Outlook come with the calendars, making things even more convenient for you.
Similarly, Google Calendar is one of the best online calendars available to you right now. Just sync it with any of the hardware you commonly use such as your smartphone or tab and you are good to go. It also helps you access your calendar wherever you are.
All online calendars have more or less the same functions. They basically help you make three types of appointments that are general appointments, self-appointments and team appointments.
Furthermore, they also remind you of your appointments a day or two in advance, enabling you to schedule your tasks more effectively.
It is also imperative for you to set a time limit for every task and try to finish it within the deadline. For instance, if you want to complete a presentation before 10 AM, you must finish it before 10 AM.
As a result, you will not linger on and consume the time reserved for other tasks, improving your productivity and effectiveness in the process.
LEARN TO SAY NO
You cannot please every person in this world. It is a universal truth and there is no denying of it. You can manage your time by making a lot of commitments and shuffle between them as the need arises. It is a great time optimization technique to say the least. However, it does not always work. Sometimes, you do need to say no.
Taking every opportunity that comes knocking at your door can also complicate matters for you. It will not only overburden you but can also result in entrepreneur burnout.
Similarly, it is not always possible to honor multiple commitments or give your full time and energy to multiple projects at the same time. In the end, it can result in utter waste of time and sheer disappointment.
Therefore, it is better for you to only take those opportunities you really care about and have reasonable amount of time for. If you cannot deliver in the end or you are too much stretched out already, you must pass on a project.
There is no point of taking an opportunity if you are not interested in it or cannot give it your best. If you take it, it will only add to your frustration and physical exhaustion.
FOCUS ON JOB AT HAND
If you are doing a job or completing a task, try to concentrate solely on that task. You can get best out of your time if you focus on one job at a time. Again, keep all unnecessary distractions such as smartphones, television and gaming consoles out of your sight. It is even better if you can find a solitary place so you can focus wholeheartedly on the job.
You need to immerse yourself in that one task you are doing. Just imagine that nothing else exists in this world.
Moreover, try to complete a task once you start it. There should ideally be no breaks other than emergencies until you have finished your work.
Once again, it is important to block all the distractions and spend all your energies on completing the task.
However, you can definitely listen to your favorite music while working if that helps you.
IDENTIFY YOUR PRIME TIME
It is difficult to maintain same level of productivity all day long. Some people are more productive in the morning while others like to work during the night.
Therefore, it is imperative for you to find the time when you happen to be most productive. It can be the morning, afternoon, evening or night. Identify your prime time and try to perform the most important or complex tasks during that time.
Similarly, you also need to identify the time when you are least productive. Most people tend to lose focus in the afternoon. Obviously, you should never schedule your important tasks or client meetings during this time of the day. If you do, you will not only lose time but also your productivity and in some cases, trust of your clients.
SWITCH OFF WHEN YOU MUST AND TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOURSELF
Constant work and no rest make everyone tired. You can actually burnout physically and mentally if you never take a break. You cannot keep on working without taking any rest. If you do, you will inflict irreparable damage to your mind and body.
It is also almost impossible to recover from emotional and physical burnout you suffer due to overwork. In fact, one of the biggest reasons businessmen fail is that they are unable to stop or switch off when they must.
You should always add necessary breaks and distractions to your daily, weekly and monthly schedule. Always take small breaks after completing a task and freshen up your mind. You can even interrupt a meeting if you don’t feel you are fully into it.
Also try to take biannual and annual vacations whenever you can. You just need to keep in mind that you cannot continue forever. There will always be a time when you have to stop and when the time comes you must stop.
Time is the most valuable asset we have in this world. You can only be successful if you are able to increase your productivity and maximize your effectiveness. It can only be possible if you optimize your time properly.
If you are struggling with time management, you can take help of abovementioned tips to effectively manage your time and transform your life.
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