We all have the same number of hours in a day. But some of us just manage to do a lot more in 24 hours than others. These people don’t have some magical apparatus that can stretch time; they just have better time management skills.
If someone were to ask me: what is the one essential, most desirable skill today, I would promptly say, “time management”. A majority of us have difficulty in managing our time, and we find ourselves always running against the clock. We can’t extend the number of hours in a day. What we can do is to better utilize the time that we have on our hands.
Here are a few tips that will put you on the path to time management mastery:
1. Identify and eliminate time wasters in your life. Time wasters are things or activities that interrupt your work flow, or distract you from a task at hand. These can be anything from an addictive video game, television, or even excessive social networking. A few very common examples of time wasters are:
a) Email – You shouldn’t spend more than 30 minutes on email every day. Rather than refreshing your browser every half an hour to check for new emails, respond to emails only at a certain time (unless required otherwise) either in the morning, or just before you get off from work.
b) Social Networking – If you find yourself checking out your Facebook or Myspace page every half an hour, you need to stop right now! Social networks can be a major time waster.
c) Telephone – Answering a phone call (unless otherwise necessary) stops your work flow and kills your productivity. Answer only the phone calls that are important when you are working, let the rest go to your answering machine.
d) Television – If you find yourself glued to the TV for hours in a day, you need to stop right away. TV can be highly addictive, and you can spend hours just flipping channels without even watching anything.
2. Make a list of important things in your life and sort them by their priority. Although this advice might seem basic, the amount of work you can get done if you have an organized to-do list before you is amazing. Here are a few tips to follow when making your to-do priority list:
a) Make a list of everything that you want to accomplish in a day
b) Set up time frames for accomplishing them. This is an important step as it creates a sense of urgency.
c) Organize the items on your list by importance.
d) Create a game plan for accomplishing these goals and make a conscious effort to stick to it.
3. Although it will be difficult in the beginning, but to make effective time management a habit, you will have to spend some considerable amount of time consciously adhering to your time management principals. The key word here is ‘determination’. If you consciously follow your goals every day, you will find it will soon become a habit.