In many respects the term time managing is a misnomer. After all, it means that in some way or another we can control time, which is simply not possible.
We have exactly the same amount of time in a given day and none of us get an “Extra time.” Some people feel that they are usually under pressure, going from pillar to post as they try to complete what they need to do.
They feel that they’re often under stress and never able to catch up, hence they struggle to achieve what they’re trying to accomplish and become successful. Nevertheless, other people seem to march ahead relentlessly with their plans and strangely enough never appear to be watching the clock at all. We need to find out what their secret is and what their approach to time management is too.
One of the first things that you need to invest in when learning time management is change. You are going to have to look at your entire life in a different light and become very sophisticated when it comes to allocation, delegation and decision-making. You’re going to find that your interpretation of time management differs a great deal from that of other people.
After all, remember that a vast majority of people with whom you come into contact on a daily basis may not be actively trying to manage their time correctly and as such simply may not understand your drive to do so.
Remember that productivity is the goal here. What efforts and activities are likely to be the most productive and what efforts and activities are likely to drag you down? Invariably, you will find that communication is one of your biggest issues ahead and the management of e-mails and phone calls is toward the top of your list.
Once you have mastered time, you will understand how true it is that most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year – and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade! – Anthony Robbins
Business, as well as in life in general we are accustomed to saying yes in order to try and please as many people as possible. We’re told that the more helpful, outgoing and reachable we are the more successful we are likely to be.
However, this is a misunderstanding and you have to be able to scrutinize the incoming request first without saying “yes” automatically. As mercenary as it sounds, you really must ensure that it is in your best interest first and foremost to allocate the time required to do what is being asked of you, with the aim, once again, of learning time management effectively.
Old habits die hard
You don’t need to be a slave to the old way of performing things or to established systems if they simply do not make sense. Critically assess these old systems and don’t be afraid to change them. Allocate a specific time each day to check e-mail and continuously question any request that may be marked by its originator as “urgent.”
Wherever you are in life you must have a plan forward
Call this your career path, if you like. As part of your time management plan you must allocate a sizable proportion of time to engage in activities that will advance your goals. One of your biggest dangers is getting caught up in the time necessary to deal with current activities and with mundane or even time wasting tasks to the detriment of your long-term aspirations. It’s very important that you clearly understand the risk here.
Remember also that it is very difficult to be 100% efficient when it comes to your allocation of time. This is why you have to put aside time for unplanned activities and mundane tasks on a daily basis.
You cannot simply assume that these issues will not arise anymore, or that you can begin wiping them from the slate just because you understand how time-consuming they may be. If you allocate a certain amount of time each day to deal with these tasks, make sure that they never encroach into your other, productive timeslots either.
You will become very good at prioritizing tasks
You should make a list of what needs to be done and allocate priorities accordingly. Be sensible and realistic and don’t think that you can become the master at multitasking. No one I know has been able to do this effectively, so it’s unlikely that you will be the pioneer here.
Once you have allocated realistic periods of time to specific tasks, make sure that you move forward religiously and do the work. Try and make sure that you complete a specific job in a particular time slot rather than starting it and putting it back down, to be finished at some time in the future.
To do two things at once is to do neither. – Publius Syrus
You need to ensure that you manage your frustration well during the early days. Yes you can expect to “fall off the wagon” as it were as you’re rolling out your new system for managing time, but when this does happen bring things back on track as quickly as possible.
Reach out to others to help them understand what you’re trying to do, especially if they are the originator of tasks that are simply non-priority. Remember that the majority of people do not practice, nor do they truly understand how important it is to manage time effectively each and every day.
It is said that successful people are quick to make decisions and slow to change their mind. The opposite is also said of people who struggle to become successful. Understand that decision-making, promptly and confidently once in command of all the details, is another skill that you must master on the road to ensuring that your time management is impeccable.