Your day is exactly as long as everyone else’s.
Yet some people seem to get more from time than others.
If we learn to manage our time properly we can achieve that too.
We can learn some basic time management principles and guidelines and as a result get more time to enjoy as we wish.
Let’s see how can time management help you enjoy your life more.
Benefits Of Proper Time Management
“He who every morning plans the transactions of that day and follows that plan carries a thread that will guide him through the labyrinth of the most busy life.” – Victor Hugo
Time management can:
- help you increase your productivity on the job and at home
- better work-life balance
- help you enhance the quality of your work with less stress
- give you a sense of personal satisfaction and accomplishment
- greater focus
- less procrastination
- more time to enjoy – freedom
- increased energy
How Can Time Management Help You?
“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” – Zig Ziglar
Time management allows you to get more life out of your time.
If you learn how to manage your time properly, you will have more time to enjoy life.
Developing effective time management skills is not as hard as you might think.
You will have to spend some time analyzing your current habits and tendencies but the time invested in doing that will be very worth it one you are able to enjoy the benefits of improved time management.
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STEP #1 – Analyzing Your Time
“The most efficient way to live reasonably is every morning to make a plan of one’s day and every night to examine the results obtained.” – Alexis Carrel
Proper time management starts with analyzing your time.
Take a typical day and keep a detailed log of all your activities day. Be as detailed as possible.
Once you have a full day of observing your activities, ask the following questions to help you determine what your starting point is:
- What went right today? Why?
- What went wrong today? Why?
- What time did you start on your top priority task? Could you have started earlier in the day?
- What patterns and habits are you aware of? What tendencies?
- Did you spend the first hour of your day doing important tasks?
- What was the most productive period of your day? Why?
- What was the least productive period of your day? Why?
- What accounted for most of your interruptions?
- What were the reasons for your interruptions?
- Which of the interruptions can be controlled, minimized, or eliminated?
- What were your three biggest time wasters today?
- How might you eliminate your three biggest time wasters?
- How much of your time was spent on high-value activity?
- How much of your time was spent on low-value activity?
- What did you do today that could be eliminated?
- What activities could you spend less time on and still obtain acceptable results?
- What activities needed more time today?
- What activities could be delegated? To whom?
- Beginning tomorrow, what will yo do to make better use of your time?
Developing A Plan
“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot” – Michael Altshuler
Once you have taken the time to analyze how you send your time, it’s time to develop a concrete plan keeping your findings in mind.
The following planning guidelines will help you with developing the plan.
Ask these questions as you plan both, the workload and time allotment:
Results – what do I expect to accomplish… on this project, during this week, today?
Activities – what will I have to do to get these results
Priorities – what are the priorities involved?
Timing – how much time will each activity require?
Schedule – when will I do each activity?
Flexibility – how much flexibility must I allow for the unexpected things I can’t control.
“Time = life; therefore, waste your time and waste of your life, or master your time and master your life.” – Alan Lakein
By analyzing your time carefully, you have probably discovered that interruptions account for a big chunk of wasted time. Learning how to properly handle interruptions, will allow to improve your time management skills.
To keep visitors from monopolizing your time:
- Consider priorities. Some interruptions are important but many are routine.
- Keep visits short
- Keep the discussion focused and on track
- Meet outside of your office
- Go see them. When you are the visitor, it’s easier to control the length of the visit.
- Use routine appointments to bunch together items and address them all in one visit.
- Rearrange your furniture so you don’t face the door of the traffic flow.
- Manage your “open-door” policy wisely
To manage telephone interruptions:
- Analyze how often your day is interrupted by unexpected phone calls and develop an approach for handling them
- Screen calls
- Plan your calls and have information at hand
- Set preferred time to make and receive calls
- move past small talk quickly
- Use times to remind you of the amount of time you’ve spent on the phone
- End the call when necessary
Guidelines For Effective Meetings
“Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday and avoiding today.”- Wayne Dyer
Meetings, if not handled properly, can be a major contributor to wasting your time.
Follow the below guidelines to ensure effective meetings:
- Plan and organize the meeting
- Decide who and how many will attend
- Prepare an agenda and stick to it
- Stay in control
- Have someone take minutes
- Prepare a follow-up action plan
- Assess and critique the quality of the meeting
Handling Written Communications
“It’s surprising how much free time and productivity you gain when you lose the busyness in your mind.”- Brittany Burgunder
For most of us, handling written communication is a big part of our daily routines. Learning how to effectively handle written communications will ensure that we manage our time more effectively.
Guidelines to help prevent you from delaying communications:
- resist the junk mail
- analyze the flow
- screen and sort
- develop a tracking system
- handle each document only once
- schedule regular time for managing written communications.
Sharpening Communication Skills (reading and writing tips):
- learn to read faster and better
- schedule time regularly to read
- share reading materials with others
- read reports with key questions in mind
- avoid overwriting
- plan or outline what to write
- have a clear purpose
- keep the reader in mind
Tips For Managing E-mails:
- schedule time – turn off notifications
- keep your inbox organized – use filters and folders
- send fewer emails, cc fewer people
- take full advantage of subject line
- only handle one subject per email
- use forms and templates
- don’t reply if not necessary
- pick up the phone and talk instead of emails
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Guidelines for conquering procrastination
- admit it and analyze it
- consider the consequences
- break big tasks into smaller, more manageable tasks
- delegate it to someone if possible
- give yourself a pep talk
- rewards yourself for competing tasks
- commit yourself to action
Very often throughout the day we work with teams.
Guidelines for managing team time
- show people you respect them and their time
- meet promised deadline
- reduce interruptions
- set a good time mastery example
- keep people informed
- ask everyone for ideas on how to improve time management
If you follow the simple guidelines below, your time management skills will improve significantly and you will be able to enjoy more free time to do as you wish.
“Realize that now, in this moment of time, you are creating. You are creating your next moment. That is what’s real.” – Sara Paddison
If you have any questions, suggestions, or comments, please leave them below.