Time management is the most critical part that most of the people are bad at. Everyone seriously wants to manage their time effectively. But managing time effectively is a skill that is not learned overnight, but one has to practice it to become a master.
Of course, it is not an impossible thing to do and it is not necessary that you should be surrounded by staff and gadgets around to help you in managing your time. Actually it takes nothing but yourself to manage your time.
However, it is highly advisable to make use of anything and everything available to getting things done in the easier, faster and in the most effective way.
I am going to discuss about three important ‘D’s in the context of time management: Divide, Defer and Delegate. Some people are comfortable in using any or all of these three Ds while most others simply don’t feel right about it. Let me discuss why these three Ds are important and how to use them in order to manage time effectively.
Divide means dividing your tasks in to chunks. This is so vital and by dividing you can execute your tasks in a more efficient manner. Dividing is very useful if your task is a big one and either
(i) has lots of steps and the steps are all dependent or
(ii) involves varied and diverse types of little things.
In any case, instead of dealing with the whole big task, divide it into smaller chunks based on
(i) the sequence in which the little steps need to be executed or
(ii) the type of each little chunk.
Essentially dividing according to (i) will demand sequential execution of the tasks since chunk 1 needs to be completed first and based on its results or using its results, chunk 2 has to be executed and so on. While a parallel execution is possible with option (ii) if the result of the tasks are not dependent on each other and/or a sequential execution is not necessary.
It is obvious that for option (ii) the ‘divide’ concept will work well because different types of tasks are executed simultaneously in different places that add to the bigger task. It may seem that for option (i) the divide concept won’t work.
However, dividing the task into sequential chunks and executing them one by one will give a clear picture of how far you have gone and it is also a good motivator; you get an amazing feeling when you cross out an item in the list.
Procrastination is not always bad. You can also use procrastination for good. When you are not in the mood to do something, it is better to postpone the task for a later time, rather than sitting unproductive.
The same applies to tasks that don’t occur at the right time. Do not pick up to write your thesis at 2 in the morning. Do it when you are fresh both physically and mentally.
Delegation is sweet. It has both pros and cons but if you manage to do it in the right way, you could accomplish a lot in less time.
Delegation essentially means outsourcing parts of your job to other people who are either experts in doing that or who are meant to do that. But it is very important that you take extra care to do the delegation process carefully; the care should be more than the care you would take to do the task by yourself.
Since you are asking someone else to do your job, you should make emphasis on the accountability. There are two different cases here:
(i) if the other person is meant to do the task you assign to them, then he/she is completely accountable for the consequences regarding that task. This applies if the person is appointed by you or your company in order to help you or in order to do that particular kind of the job.
(ii) if you ask the other person to do part of your job as a help, then that person is certainly not accountable for whatever consequences.
In any case, double check outsourced tasks for correctness. Be clear about the deadlines when you initially delegate the task and make sure you follow up with little reminders well before the deadline.
Don’t give the job to someone, forget about it totally and call them to your cabin on the day when it is due. Further, do provide all necessary background information that is necessary to complete the delegated task.
These three ‘D’s stand for your rescue when you feel so tight about managing your time. Why not use them? Any thoughts?