Let me start with the headlines again: Time management techniques that make you thrive at work and in life! Aren’t we all guilty of saying “I don’t have time.” We are always so negative about time, or shall I say, always cursing time that it “isn’t on our side.” “It’s an unquestioned truth of modern life: we are starved for time.” as said by Laura Vanderkam, author of 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think.
Time is definitely the only asset that each one of us have in the same amount. We all have 24 hours in a day. Then why is it some folks get more done in those 12-18 hours of the waking time? And why is it that some can’t get enough done even in that much time? Why is it that we say, “I wish I had more time?” Well, it’s because we measure our time in two ways, such as:
- clock time: the actual time that our clocks show us, and;
- real time: the time that feel and think we’ve consumed while getting things done.
My friend and I were talking the other day and I happened to ask her about her day’s schedule. She said, she didn’t really have one. She would wake up at some odd hour and get on with her day as she willed at the moment. I refrained to judge but I did ask her “why?” Now, she’s just gotten married and has taken some time off work to stay at home and settle her home. I completely got that. However, she complained a few times that she just can’t get up early and get things done for herself. She gets busy with her housework and hasn’t been able to make time for anything else. I looked at her with discontentment at first and then asked her, “have you tried?” Her reply was, “life comes in the way ya, things don’t get done.”
Though I 100% agree that life does come in the way, when we are trying to do anything productive in life but we do have a way out. I had struggled with my time and “schedule” back in 2013-14 when I got selected for the PhD program, my whole life turned around. I had to not only manage a tough work environment, my home (co-dependently with my husband) but also my doctoral courses that I had to take every term. I barely had any social life [thankfully my friends understood the situation]. Life did come in the way, I agree. In many situations. So it was easy to understand what my friend was implying… in her case that was finding a job and getting busy with work, or else she felt she wasn’t doing enough at home or otherwise.
The reason I am sharing these life excerpts is because I want you to know that things happen but it doesn’t mean that we cannot be in control of our time or be more productive. There are several ways by which you can achieve your highest potential in life as per your favorable real time. Here are 8 tried and tested time management steps you can start with to get the most out of your day, while feeling good about yourself.
- Get real, get going, get clear: First of all, reflect within to understand what you really are doing wrong that might be making your timings go haywire at the moment. Or are you doing too much to exhaust yourself? Or not doing enough and feeling sick about it? Or something else? Understand where are you going wrong and decide to make things work for yourself. If you’re a procrastinator, or a person who thinks “I am too busy to get things done,” then I would ask you to drop that thinking NOW and make a list. [Yes! I mean it, a list]. Write down the things that are currently consuming most of your time and why. Then write down another list of things you really want to focus your time on, and answer beside why aren’t you able to focus on them. Then slash out the things you really don’t need to do, during the day, or can take less time to do them. You will definitely find clarity to move ahead and this is biggest strategy for success in time management.
- Set achievable targets: At the core of anything is setting goals and targets for oneself. I suggest and recommend a maximum of 3 major tasks for a day, which you can easily complete in the waking working hours. For example if you need to complete some sort of writing or project management then just focus on those tasks and give them more importance viz-a-viz in meeting (no matter how important).
- Create a schedule and make it work for you: Once you have clarity regarding where and what you need to spend your time on, start putting them on a schedule. Whether you choose the age old, diary, as your planner or choose to write things down on google calendar, make it happen and just schedule the tasks in order of completion, while giving enough time for the completion of the task, along with buffer time and breaks in between. If you are a subscriber you might already know of one of the techniques I use for this. Sign up if you haven’t got it yet.
- Run your tasks and errands systematically: Get organized about your time and your schedule to receive the highest dividends. It is a sure way to success. Follow the tasks you’ve chosen for yourself in the calendar and stick to it for maximum results. It takes consistent effort and time to form a sustainable habit and managing time could be the greatest of them all. Even when you plan the me-time, plan it systematically.
- Have a strong will to rid yourself from distractions: Distractions in the form of constantly checking your phone or social media, or getting interrupted by people or calls or messages can not only hinder effective thinking process but also disrupt your workflow. To get any kind of results you need to consistently get rid of the distractions, which might be causing any defer in plans or change of situations.
- Use habits that work for you: We already have certain good habits and bad habits in us and we can make use of those habits to manage our time favorably. For example I have a habit of multitasking, therefore, I prioritize my tasks with the help of the “multitasking prioritization matrix.” You could have habits of working faster or slower or taking your own time or might face attention deficiency, trust me you can work it in your favor by just understanding which mechanism works for you. For a person who is attention deficit and cannot sit in one place for too long, can either listen to music while working or create tasks which allow him/her to move. For someone who thinks he/she is slow, you can schedule to do lists based on your timings.
- One step at a time for de-clutter: Increase your productivity and take it to the next level by de-cluttering your life, your table [your cupboard] 😛 I mean it. Once you start de-cluttering your stuff, you will not only realize that you are getting stuff done but also making your life and situations more conducive for you, in your home and at work.
- Tap into your motivational stimulants: If there is something that really motivates you to work forward, whether it is an inspirational piece, an article or a quote, or a piece of music, then use that stimulus to work your way forward. Also, there are always certain kinds of work which inspire us to jump upon and complete first, such as I love writing my blog posts first and then doing something else. So, I get that done first thing in the morning. It invigorates me and pushes me to achieve more through the day and I plan it accordingly. This dramatically increases the moment.
Well we all know, time flies when you engage in something fun and interesting and time really goes slow when you don’t. Haven’t we all experienced this? You can take control of the situations and increase your time-value!
Now you tell me, what are the strategies that you use to aid your time management skills? Put them down in the comments below and roll a discussion! Also hop on to my Facebook page for daily dose of inspiration. If you’re looking for soft-skills coaching to reach higher in your workplace and success in life, then get in touch and we could work it out! Every Sundays, I send out a new tool to aid your performance at work and in life, sign up to get the free resource, YOU’LL LOVE IT.
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