We all have 24 hours so why is it that some people seem to accomplish much more in their 24 hours than do so many others. We may all follow the same clock but the difference lies in how we use the time. It’s called time management and it works!
Here are some suggestions on how you can be a better time manager and get more accomplished with less stress. The suggestions are not in any priority order because quite honestly they’re all important. What’s even more important is that you start to take action now.
• Maintain a daily plan and stick to it. If you are constantly jumping from one thing to the next, stopping what you are doing to put out what is perceived as an emergency only to see another emergency around the next corner, spending more time than necessary on tasks that are not mission critical, you will find that at the end of the day you will not have completed as much as you wanted. Make an achievable plan and develop your day around it. Of course there will be days when there is a true work emergency but for the most part having a defined plan is the roadmap to get to your destination.
• It might sound counterintuitive but it’s perfectly okay to take a brief peek at Facebook, respond to a few personal emails or engage in a short chat with a friend. These are necessary breaks in what can be a lengthy and tension filled day BUT spending extensive time in any of these activities will result in you not having enough hours to attend to what needs to be done. Don’t kid yourself and if necessary set an alarm so that after 10 minutes your escape into social media will come to a close. (Isn’t it amazing how fast the time goes when you are perusing Facebook and Twitter?)
• Prioritize. We all know that not all tasks are created equal. Some tasks can be put off until the next day without any repercussions and some, well, they must be completed within the established time line. Recognize what you MUST do, not what you WANT to do and schedule your day in order of importance.
• Tackle the tough things first? I know there are many time management experts that say you should start your day by tackling the most difficult tasks first to get them out of the way. That sounds like a great idea but only if you are bright eyed and alert first thing in the morning. For some people taking things a bit slower in the first hours of the workday better suits their “inner clock” and helps them get ready to face the harder tasks when they hit their stride later in the day.
• Delegate. Yes sometimes you really can’t do it all and trying to do so puts your schedule into a tailspin. Examine your tasks and work flow to determine what might be delegated to someone else leaving you more time to do the things that are either more important or that only you can do.
• Don’t waste time where time doesn’t need to be wasted. Sometimes good enough is good enough. There are some people that spend inordinate amounts of times trying to make something 100% perfect when 90% would have been more than sufficient. Seriously, this isn’t license to be lazy; it’s helping you to be practical about where you spend your time.
Hopefully these suggestions will assist you in identifying how you can become a better time manager. Start now before too much time goes by!