Time management is the process of organizing and planning how to divide your time between specific activities. Good time management enables you to work smarter – not harder – so that you get more done in less time, even when time is tight and pressures are high. Failing to manage your time damages your effectiveness and causes stress.
It seems that there is never enough time in the day. But, since we all get the same 24 hours, why is it that some people achieve so much more with their time than others? The answer lies in good time management.
It may seem counter-intuitive to dedicate precious time to learning about time management, instead of using it to get on with your work, but the benefits are enormous, such as:
- Greater productivity and efficiency
- A better professional reputation
- Less stress
- Increased opportunities for advancement
- Greater opportunities to achieve important life and career goals
Failing to manage your time effectively can have some very undesirable consequences below:
- Missed deadlines
- Inefficient work flow
- Poor work quality
- A poor professional reputation and a stalled career
- Higher stress levels
If you want to get the best results possible from your life; time management skills are essential. As you improve your time management skills, you will find that you get more valuable work completed in less time. It is not about increasing the quantity of work that you complete. It is all about ensuring that you complete your most important tasks which will enable you to achieve your goals quicker and with less stress.
For example, you may be frequently interrupted or pulled in different directions at work. While you cannot eliminate interruptions, you do get a say on how much time you will spend on them and how much time you will spend on the thoughts, conversations and actions that will lead you to success.
Here are some techniques to become the master of your own time:
- Carry a schedule and record all your thoughts, conversations and activities for a week. This will help you understand how much you can get done during the course of a day and where your precious moments are going. You’ll see how much time is actually spent producing results and how much time is wasted on unproductive thoughts, conversations and actions.
- Plan to spend at least 50 percent of your time engaged in the thoughts, activities and conversations that produce most of your results.
- Schedule time for interruptions. Plan time to be pulled away from what you’re doing. Take, for instance, the concept of having “office hours.” Isn’t “office hours” another way of saying “planned interruptions?”
- Take the first 30 minutes of every day to plan your day. Don’t start your day until you complete your time plan. The most important time of your day is the time you schedule to schedule time.
- Take five minutes before every call and task to decide what result you want to attain. This will help you know what success looks like before you start. And it will also slow time down. Take five minutes after each call and activity to determine whether your desired result was achieved. If not, what was missing? How do you put what’s missing in your next call or activity?
- Put up a “Do not disturb” sign when you absolutely have to get work done.
- Practice not answering the phone just because it’s ringing and e-mails just because they show up. Disconnect instant messaging. Don’t instantly give people your attention unless it’s absolutely crucial in your business to offer an immediate human response. Instead, schedule a time to answer email and return phone calls.
- Block out other distractions like Facebook and other forms of social media unless you use these tools to generate business.
- Remember that it’s impossible to get everything done. Also remember that odds are good that 20 percent of your thoughts, conversations and activities produce 80 percent of your results.