The last thing we want for ourselves is: missing an important deadline just because we’ve been procrastinating our work all along. The reason why we miss out on important tasks is rooted in ineffective time management.
You and I often come across people who keep complaining that they don’t have time. The good news is that every single one of us has enough time for everything. You just need a direction and a strategic approach that can help you reach your peak performance within a time frame.
What is Time Management?
Time management is the art of making the most of the available time to foster the individual or group performance. By deciding on how to use your time, you are actually deciding on how to manage yourself within a stipulated time period. You’ve possibly heard of success stories of wise, rich men, like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, etc. By the sheer dint of their hard work, coupled with smart work, they have managed to inspire us to achieve the seemingly impossible things. These people have a lot of traits in common, one of the biggest and the most important ones being, time management.
Let’s walk you through some of the most effective time management strategies that you can incorporate in your lifestyle.
Tips for effective time management:
We all are well aware of the fact that we should finish our work much before the deadline date in order to avoid the last- minute hassles, but how many of us actually follow that? It goes without saying that, whether, it’s a student, a salaried employee or a businessman, everyone should learn to master the art of effective time management.
A research study by Cyril (2014) reveals the following categories that are crucial, for effective time management: Prioritization, Scheduling, Goal setting, Self-Motivation. I’ll now elaborate on these categories for a better understanding:
1) Prioritization: This implies that you simply need to chalk out a group of tasks that you have to do, and then figure out which tasks to do first, on the basis of the importance of all the tasks. Balance is the keyword here. Knowing when to prioritize family time and when to prioritize professional tasks, is important so that you don’t reach your breaking point.
2) Scheduling: This means you need to plan out the activities and tasks that you set out to accomplish, well in advance, so that you have a framework within which you can work. More so, you need to jot down this schedule, somewhere, rather than just mentally planning it. Schedule the tasks in a way that suits you, and do so, at the start of every week or month. Make sure you mark the important dates, set up reminders for the same, create time blocks. Online applications such as Google Calendar, Google Keep , etc., are quite useful.
3) Goal setting: One of the major reasons why people fail to achieve their goals is because our goals are ambiguous and unclear. It’s imperative that you set SMART goals. Your goals should be in line with your values. If you’re itching to achieve a particular goal, it is important to set that goal the right way in order to get the best results.
4) Self-motivation (Reward yourself): Unless you are motivated or ready to get things done, you can’t really achieve anything significant. Humans have a tendency to work well within a reward structure. When you anticipate rewards from someone, you push yourself to work hard because rewards are desirable. They motivate you to keep going. So, it’s important for you to reward yourself after you achieve the desired results.
Apart from the above-mentioned backed-by-research tips, you should strive to incorporate the following tips, as well.
5) Get enough sleep: Some people undermine the importance of good sleep. But, the truth is that, in order for your brain to function optimally and to achieve an increase in productivity levels, it is important for you to sleep for at least 8 hours in a day, for, as we know, we are unable to produce good-quality results when our brain is only half-active.
6) Exercise and meditate: While this may also seem unimportant to you, exercising and meditating every single morning will give a stamina boost and help you concentrate well, thereby increasing your productivity.
7) Eliminate the distractions on social media: While it’s often tempting for us to scroll through the social media feeds of our friends, the wiser choice is to do away with that. You can turn off the push notifications of social media apps, like, Instagram, Facebook, etc. because these apps are not helping you much. Let’s say, you are spending 3-4 hours a day on social media, every day. If instead of that, you work on developing a hobby or bettering your skills, it will definitely benefit you in the long run. I can vouch for that.
8) Use your travel time effectively: If you are someone who often has to commute or travel, you can use your travel time to respond to important messages/e-mails or to read a book or newspaper, instead of wasting that time with your earphones plugged in and binge-watching series.
9) Avoid interruptions while working on important tasks: It’s not obligatory for you to answer a phone call from a friend, while you’re working. A simple sentence, like, “ I’ll get back to you when I’m free” can buy you more time. However, do not forget to take breaks when you need to.
These strategies may sound very simplistic and easy to use, but, trust me, you need to be disciplined and consistent in your approach. We all know that procrastination is the thief of time, so, it’s important to realize the worth of time, as they say, ‘Time and Tide waits for none.’
We’d love to hear your thoughts on this article or your success stories regarding effective time management, in the comments section below.