Effective time management is one of the most vital factors that decide your success or failure- in lame terms, your fate. There are both success and failure stories all around us. And if we ever want to succeed in life we should learn from at least a handful of them.
Apart from success, managing your time effectively guarantees peace of mind.
Whatever time management tools or strategies we use, all we can do is manage our tasks accordingly. Why? It is because we can never manage our time. Why? It is because everybody is given 24 hrs per day!
No matter if you are rich, poor, strong, weak, white, black whatever. You just have got 24 hrs not more, not less.
Those who have achieved many things in life and are have succeeded in many aspects are not given extra time while at the same time those who fail are not given lesser time. So why the difference?
The key is to manage our tasks and hence make effective use of the given amount of time.
Optimize time usage
This can be done if you engage yourself only in those activities that will either increase your productivity or your reputation. Identify those times when you are highly productive and engage yourself in tasks that need hard work or intense concentration.
At the same time make sure that the work is part of your reputation, job or productivity profile.
At times when you are not productive do things that will relax you, or you can take up tasks that are lighter, but still part of your plan. Doing something that is neither part of your productivity profile nor a relaxing thing is simply wasting time.
The ‘To Do’ List
This is one of the best ways to manage, not only time, but also your discipline. By writing down a ‘To ‘Do’ list everyday and crossing out one by one of the finished tasks you declare that you are a systematic person. This will indirectly help you to build up on your confidence. You can also do a little analysis at the end of the day with the list.
Don’t just write a to-do list but write an effective one.
While writing a ‘To Do’ list don’t forget to rank all the items. Do things first that really need to be done. There are always certain things that can wait- but don’t postpone them to the next day. That’s a bad habit.
Find out the quadrant in which your task falls. This will give you the right idea about the priority of your task.
Multi-tasking is not always good
Many people now-a-days perform more than one tasks simultaneously. There are some tasks that can be combined, for example, listening to podcast while walking, reading your emails and responding while waiting to meet someone, watching a video while exercising and so on. But this does not work always. Everybody knows!
Switching between tasks take time. And, when your concentration needs to shift from one task to the other, you lose some productive juice too.
But it depends. Find out what works for you and stick to it. If you can multi-task and still stay effective, go ahead.
Use your mobile while travel/waiting
Instead of calling back your friends and engaging in long conversations during work hours, use your travel time to return calls. You can use your travel time efficiently by this way.
This way, you can avoid sitting idle during your travel or waiting in a queue or at the Doctor’s place. You can also analyze and improvise on your time usage and to-do list during your travel/waiting time.
Learn to say NO
Never say a ‘Yes’ when you should say ‘No’. I hope that’s enough and everybody knows! When you don’t say a ‘No’ you flood yourself with tasks that are either not your business or that are not of your expertise.
Don’t do anything in a haste! Doing so will consume your time. By planning something ahead you always have control over the situation and you have almost everything ready for that occasion.
Know your capabilities
Do not overload yourself with non-stop appointments or tasks. Do not also expect too much from yourself. Know your limits, and plan accordingly!
Make best use of your mobile phone appointment applications and PDAs. Use online business tools. Do everything in an organized manner. Take decision on junk immediately.
Do not stuff your table up with unnecessary files, papers etc. Decide and file those needed and dump those that need to be dumped. You should be organized in order to be productive.
Take note of only those things that you think are extremely needed
Do not waste your time in jotting down stuff that you will never take a look later. Most of the people never know where they lost their notes, some people will forget right away after putting the piece of paper in their file.
Wasting time in gathering such unwanted information will also make you ineffective.
Got more tips? Share them in the comments.
Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/aidanmorgan/2331754875/