One important resource that all humans possess equally is time. But we all use our time differently. As a result, some people tend to achieve more or less than other people, given the same time. Unfortunately, even though time is an infinite phenomenon, none of us has unlimited time to do everything that is required of us or to achieve all we desire to achieve. Also, we cannot do all things at once. Hence, it is important to deploy our time effectively. In this article, you will learn 7 time management tips that will help you to achieve more with your time without being overstressed.
What is time management?
Time management implies using your time judiciously, productively and efficiently. It is the ability to create sufficient time for everything you need to do without getting overwhelmed.
Good time managers are able to beat deadlines, remain focused and keep a balance between work and private life without sacrificing great work quality.
On the other hand, poor time management skills will result in a poor professional reputation, missed deadlines and appointments, loss of opportunities, poor work quality, penalties and a poor growth rate.
Time Management Tips
Below are 7 time management tips that will help you to be more productive.
1. Set Goals: This is perhaps the most important clue. Setting goals helps you to stay focused and intentional with the use of time and the activities you engage in. A good way to go about this is to define and distinguish your long-term and your short-term goals. Failure to set goals will result in you engaging in random activities, lacking a laser-like precision. Setting goals will help you to avoid trivial and frivolous activities that tend to make you less productive and a bad time manager.
2. Prioritize: Usually, we have multiple things begging for our attention. The time management quadrant by Steven Covey is a useful tool for allocating time to tasks or activities. Covey categorizes all our possible activities as follows:
- Urgent and important: These are problems, situations, tasks or crises that require immediate attention as well as critical projects that are tied to deadlines. Examples include fire outbreaks, gas leakage, e-mails that require immediate response such as a job offer, term paper, picking up your child from school, and so on. Place urgent and important tasks yelling “do me!” at the top of your list.
- Not urgent but important: These are tasks that should be executed to avoid future disasters or achieve a desirable goal. You can plan to do them at a scheduled time. They include long-term plans, studying for self-development, maintaining your car and home appliances, building rewarding interpersonal relationships, doing exercise or going for medical check-ups.
- Urgent but not important: These are tasks that are also jostling for immediate attention but do not carry considerable, potential risks if postponed or delegated. They include things like answering random telephone calls or keeping up with a movie scene.
3. Scheduling: Because you cannot execute all tasks at once, it is important that you plan and apportion time to each. One good approach is to draft your to-do list in the evening for the next day, or for the new week. Scheduling helps you to stay focused and address each item according to your outline, ticking accomplished tasks.
- Not urgent and not important: These are activities that should take the least of your time. They do not help you to achieve your short-term or long-term goals. They are simply distractions. They include responding to chats, scrolling through social media posts or watching television programmes.
4. Concentration: Whatever the task at hand may be, concentration or the ability to avoid being distracted is key. Lack of concentration results in poor time management as you will need longer time to accomplish your task. To ensure a high level of concentration, consider muting your phone, turning off social media notifications and choosing a soundproof location with restricted access.
5. Set Deadlines: You tend to accomplish a task faster if you set a deadline. Without deadlines, procrastination and frivolities easily take the center stage. Therefore, for each task you need to accomplish, set a deadline and stick to it.
6. The 80-20 Rule: The Pareto 80-20 principle is applicable to time management. This rule states that 80% of what we achieve comes from just 20% of the total efforts deployed. You may engage in a wide range of activities but very few of them actually advance your long-term or short-term goals. This implies that you should give most of your time to those few but productive activities.
7. Take a Break: Sometimes the brain needs some respite. At such moments, it stops working optimally. We don’t only get physically tired, but also mentally. Taking a break between tasks is a way of re-energizing the brain. You can take a nap, take a stroll or engage in other light, physical activities if your job is essentially mentally tasking.
Time management is an important skill for personal and professional growth. Adopting the recommended tips above will reduce your stress, enhance your efficiency and improve your productivity.
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