Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Time Management Strategies

Time Management Strategies

Do you ever find yourself wishing there were more hours in the day? Do you wish you could spend less time working and more time with your family? Do you feel like you are missing out on the best things in life because you don't have enough time? 
For most of us the answer to these questions is 'yes', and it is not a good feeling. Maybe work is not going how you would like. Or you feel bad because you are missing out on important occasions with family and friends.

Don't worry, it may not be as bad as you think. There is a solution to your problems. It only takes a few small adjustments in the way you use your time to change your life forever. As well as finding more time for the things you want to do, you will also be more fulfilled in your life.

Time management strategies - Manage yourself

Each day has only 24 hours. This is something that will not change and we can do nothing about it. Time can not be changed, but the way you approach it can. Once you realize this you have taken the first step towards effective time management. You have to identify the things in life that truly matter to you - this is where you should spend your time. Everything else should be eliminated from your life.

It is important to point out at this stage that making the changes necessary to manage your time effectively can mean making some fundamental changes in your lifestyle. However, there is no need to rush, you can make the necessary changes at your own pace. Trying to make big changes at the beginning might be too much for you, so start with small steps.

Time management strategies - Know yourself

To take the first step in effective time management you need to know yourself. In modern society there are so many distractions we can easily lose our focus on what we really want in our lives. It is difficult to identify where and when this happens, but it inevitably does.

So this is the first step in effective time management - finding out what you really want from life. This is where you find your vision. Try to remember yourself as a child or as a young adult when you felt you could achieve anything. What were your dreams and aims when you were that age? This could help you to get in touch with your vision. It is likely that some of your priorities will have changed since then, but many will have remained the same.

Also ask yourself how you would like your personal and professional life to be. Also consider your potential and what you think you can really achieve in life. We will call this your vision.

Where are you now?

At this stage you probably have a fairly clear picture of what your ideal life would be like. The next step is tricky. You must take your vision and compare it to your life at present. For most people, the difference between the two can be quite daunting.

However, no matter how wide the gap is between your ideal reality and how you live your life now, it can be bridged. Many people think effective time management is all about calendars and diaries. This is not the case. Effective time management can transform your life on a much more fundamental level.

Achieving your ideal reality will involve little changes and big changes in your life. An example of a minor change would be eating healthier. A major change could be quitting your job to travel the world. However, both are achievable with the right approach. You will have to take a close look at how your hours are spent and make the necessary adjustments so you can achieve what you want to achieve.

Planning your day.

So have a think about your goals and as an experiment pick two that you want to achieve, one small and one big. Once you have chosen, you should decide on one small step you can take towards achieving each of these tomorrow. If you can complete the one step towards achieving each goal then you have made an excellent start.

In truth, there is much more to it than this but this will show you that it is far from impossible and can be very rewarding. However, you must be much more meticulous in planning your days so that you complete everything you need to do while only spending time on the things that really matter to you.

This is why you need a clear time plan for every day. Each day, you will need to have a clear idea of what needs doing and find a suitable place for it on your schedule. At the beginning it can be difficult to know how long each task will take so it may be a good idea to keep a time log for a week before starting to keep a time plan. With a time log you write down in detail how you spend your time. Keeping a time log for a week should give you a clear picture of how long the various tasks you need to do take. When you know how long each task will take, you can plan your day much more accurately.

The 4 Ds of time management

To truly manage your time effectively you have to look at the tasks that need doing and decide how to handle them. So let me introduce you to the four Ds of self-management. Which are:

* Do it - This needs to be done immediately.
* Delegate it - It needs to be done, but someone else can take care of it.
* Dump it - Not important. Forget about it.
* Defer it - This needs doing but not now, so it can wait.

When you plan your day, and even during the day, you should be able to file all the things that need doing under one of the four Ds.

Time wasters

Now let's look at time wasters. Time wasters eat into our time and can make it very difficult to manage our time effectively. They can be the most trivial of things, and are therefore very hard to spot.

Examples of common time wasters are :

* Lack of or poor planning - File things properly, write down appointments, that kind of thing. Basically, you need to be organized to use your time effectively.

* Procrastination - Some things need to be done now. Don't get into the habit of putting things off unnecessarily.

* Failure to delegate - Are there tasks in your day that are not effective use of your time? If so, delegate them.

* Interruptions - Don't let clutter and noise eat into your productive time. Make sure there are no interruptions when you want to work.

These are just a few of the time wasters that could be affecting your effective time management.

These pointers should help you in your first steps towards effective time management. If you take this process in small steps it will be much easier to incorporate the necessary changes into your life. Each of these small steps will bring you closer to your vision and leave you with time to do all of the things you want each day.

1 comment:

  1. Great great article but tbh theres nothing like to spend your day casually ;).