Time management is a skill that many of us seem to learn through necessity. The problem with learning a skill through necessity is that, more often than not, bad habits creep in and, although the skill may be useful in general, we do not use it to its full potential.
Taking the time to read up on improving your time management skills can lead to great rewards.
Some examples are:
– The elimination of procrastination and avoidance-of-tasks
– Easier, quicker, evaluation of your work and abilities
– Less worrying about deadlines
– More productivity
– More relaxation time, and,
– (The obvious one) An overall increase in time
Time management is a skill that takes time to development and perfect. It also is a skill that is different for everyone. Your best bet is to try a variety of different approaches until something clicks in your brain and sticks in your routine.
Here are a handful of tips to consider:
Write as much down as you can. If you don’t carry a planner or notebook already, start. Personally, I’ve always preferred a small, simple, white-lined notebook because you aren’t restricted by the various boxes and lines of the average planner.
A simple To Do List is often a huge help to anyone, but I can attest gleefully to the 3 Lists of 3 Method more than any other. You’re goal is to avoid a list that reaches outrageous length and is overwhelming to even look at.
2.Make Use of Down Time:
Using walking, driving, showering, or otherwise “dead” times to plan. Think about what your goals are for that day or the next. Which goals are most important? Prioritization is the key.
Whenever you accomplish something, especially the important things, make sure to take the time to reward yourself. A Clockwork Orange author Anthony Burgess’ used the “Martini
Method” to get things done. Burgess set a goal of 1,000 words per day. When he finished his word count, he’d relax with a martini and take the day off. Maybe a martini isn’t the ideal reward for some of us, but the method stands useful.
4.Concentrate on One Thing:
The human mind works more efficiently when it is focused. As we’ve seen before multitasking is actually a disadvantage to productivity. Focus on one thing and get it done. Take care not to bleed tasks into each other. At times, multitasking may seem like a more efficient route, but it is probably not.
5.Avoid Procrastination at All Costs:
When trying to be more productive and trying to save time, procrastination should be avoided like nothing else. It is the ultimate productivity-killer.
6.Set Personal Deadlines:
Nobody likes deadlines. They cause stress, aggravation, worry, and, more stress. A guaranteed way to alleviate some of this stress is to set your own earlier deadlines. Be realistic but demanding of yourself. Challenge yourself and, referring to tip 3, reward yourself for a meeting a difficult challenge. Not only will this save you time and make you more productive in the long run, but you will also have a buffer time with little to no penalties compared to those received for missing a real deadline. Of course, this tip has potential for abuse, so be sure to make your own penalties for missing your personal deadlines.
It is not uncommon for people to take on more than they can handle. The overestimation of one’s abilities, though not necessarily a bad thing, can often result in stress and more work for an individual.