Inefficient workflow, missed deadlines, and high levels of stress – these are some of the grave consequences of poor time management. Time management is the method of planning and executing control over the time spent on various activities. Good time management skills enable smart and efficient work that improve productivity and thereby improve professional reputation. Managing time effectively increases advancement opportunities in personal as well as professional life and helps in reducing stress. We shall discuss some time management skills that make us work smarter and enhance our life.
Important things first: The first rule in efficient time management is, doing the most important tasks first. Usually, everybody feels the most energetic in the mornings when the day starts, so it’s the best time to finish the tasks that require the most efforts and time. Identifying and taking care of the most important and challenging tasks in the morning as the first thing to do, will give a sense of accomplishment as well that is a good motivating factor for the rest of the tasks in the day.
Track your time and tasks: For a period of time, track the amount of time you spend on the routine tasks and analyze where you are spending more than worth and losing precious time. When you get a clear idea on where you are wasting time, you can minimize the time spent on those tasks and utilize that time for much better tasks.
Set a timer: Setting a timer is an excellent way to avert procrastination and work with enthusiasm. You should set realistic and achievable timeframe for a task so as to finish it and move on to the next task with more enthusiasm and energy.
Focus on a single task: Although multi-tasking people are looked at with admiration, it is not practical and possible for everyone to do multi-tasking. It is in the best interests of the person to decide for himself/herself if he/she can multi-task with ease. If the answer is in negation, it is the best thing to focus on the single task at hand and tackle other things one after the other.
Keep away from distractions: Stop checking your phone, email or social media accounts while working on a particular task. Set aside a time for these things and use them constructively to enrich personal relationships and maintain business affiliations. If necessary, allow multiple time slots for checking your messages in regular intervals so that you don’t miss on anything important and yet do not get distracted by them on and off. Distractions don’t just come in the form of these messages, but we get distracted by even our thoughts that wander without any boundaries. We ought to learn to control our thoughts and focusing on the task at hand.
Include a buffer time: It is always good to leave a buffer-time in between tasks to give you some extra time for any task that doesn’t get finished within the timeframe and for any unforeseen activities that come up from nowhere. This buffer time saves you from unwarranted tensions and anxieties that result from unfinished tasks or sudden events. Also, the buffer time gives the time to relax between tasks so that you can jump to the next task with greater zeal and energy.
Good time management skills help you work smarter rather than harder. Time management is all about simplifying work, doing things faster and better, and thereby eliminating stress.