We all have 24 hours in a day, have you often wondered why and how some people get their most or all work done in a day and few struggle juggling all and getting none done?
It’s likely to say that they may be using their time more efficiently and thus effectively.
So What is Time Management?
Time management is the way of strategizing on how we can organize, plan and divide our time between specific activities. Good time management does not require us to work hard all the time, but it enables us to work smartly at our workplaces – so that we can get more work done in lesser time, even in times of high pressure and tight schedules.
Time management helps in dealing with various stressors like:
Overload of Work & Missing Deadlines: When the tasks and projects keep piling up, especially when the hurry of finishing present ones casts a weak memory on previous urgent ones.
Obstruction on career growth: Finishing work on time often fetches us good appraisals at work. When you don’t finish your task on time, it exhibits an unprofessional attitude.
Work-Family Conflict: Do you often carry your work home? Ones that could have been handled in office? The pending work often eats up our quality time that we intend to spend with our family and loved ones, Thus leading to stress at home.
Conflict of Role: Do you as a supervisor spend most of your time micro-managing or doing tasks that are the responsibility of your team member? Often, in the need to hurry up the tasks more effectively we assume the responsibility of others and forget to execute our own.
Keeping a check on progress: By organizing our work, we become better evaluators of our own work, and get time to better it.
Health-effect: The result of not managing your time, and thus burdened with piled up tasks might lead to chronic stress. Chronic Stress affects every domain of our life which might lead to ill effect in physical health.
Whenever we fail to manage our time, it affects our work performance and of course, bring us stress. Time management is not that difficult as a concept, but it’s hard to practice and maintain time to balance things. It requires a little investment of time to organize and prioritize ourselves. Good time management surely requires a significant shift in focus from the activities we do to the results we achieve.
By being busy, it does not necessarily mean that we’re being effective and productive.
Setting SMART goals can help us to work more efficiently. Here SMART means:
S – Specific: Explaining What, How and Why.
For Example, organizing a campaign to market your product on 20th Feb’17
What- Organizing the Campaign
How- 1. Delegate volunteers 2. Prepare pamphlets 3. Fix a Date 4. Fix a Venue. 5. Book a Cab.
Why- To spread awareness about your product.
M – Measurable
Reaching to 100 people through distribution of posters.
A – Achievable
Managing the skill set (willingness, availability and persuasion skills of volunteers) and resources (Finance and networking) to achieve them.
R – Result Oriented
Measuring outcome, not the activity. For Example, response and conversion of people reached.
T – Time-based goals
Getting all arranged by 15th Feb’17
We also often talk about the Circle of Concern v/s Circle of Control theory, in Psychology.
There are various things that may concern us at our workplace, or may even appear bothersome for that matter. These things fall under the circle of concern of an individual. Like, a behavior of a co-worker, economy of the country, a policy of the government. Our circle of control, on the other hand, is the area that we can impact. Like, our behavior & attitude, the decision to work on our task, etc. These are the aspects that we could change or alter as per our wish. As much as we may want both of these circles to merge completely, they always tend to have a significant amount of area left uncovered by each other.
In simple words, not everything that concerns us is within our control. The key here is identifying the things that fall under our circle of control and taking the initiative to impact those things in a positive manner.
Various techniques can help us to schedule our time in a productive manner.:
Plan short breaks or blocks from working continuously. Give yourself 15-20 minutes to relax. It could be a WhatsApp chat, call a friend, socialize with a colleague. This may help in re-energizing ourselves from the target pressure and the work stress which accompanies.
Using the fillers of time before a scheduled task/meeting
Have a meeting scheduled after half an hour? And you think to yourself how much can be achieved for such period of time, anyway? Well, we keep on prodding on these thoughts and waste this time. Much can be done while you wait for your meeting!
Knowing who you are! Morning person or night person? Yes, schedule your highest priority tasks, when you are at your best to work. This may yield productive output from your tasks.
Apportionment of tasks within your Team
By allocating or dividing tasks based on the work given it shall provide us with efficiency at managing time and also meeting short-term goals.
Celebrating little successes
When you achieve something you aimed to, no matter how big or small your goal was; celebrate those little achievements so as to preserve motivation & maintain perseverance within yourself.
Avoiding professional/social comparisons
Amidst one’s time management process, it is a great need to avoid professional comparisons or social comparisons, that we often fall prey to. This may disturb our abilities to focus on ourselves.
Know when to say ‘No’ to avoid Burnout
Most of the times, we are unable to refuse some projects/tasks that are given to us, due to various reasons like getting judged for same or pleasing the authority. To avoid temporary burnout, it is necessary to keep your point and say ‘No’ for something you know you won’t be able to complete/fulfill. Being sincere in your approach would give a better impression than saying yes to something for which you lack a necessary resource called time and energy.
Utilizing your time wisely
Think of the times where you can use your time judicially – maybe while traveling in a metro or walking, you can read some article or newspaper, over which you’ve to speak tomorrow. The bottom line is to put your precious time to good use!
All the tasks are not always important. Make a list – ruling out your priorities. Few could be urgent, few important. Some tasks can wait, some can also be delegated, and some may be tossed upon.
Image source: www.skillsyouneed.com
When you feel fresh and energetic, start with the most difficult task, or the one which is of high importance and urgency to you. This may also help you in getting the habit to take tasks on when you’re at your best. Based on the priority matrix, you can distinguish between which work to do at what moment, and which else can be done later.
Life happens, problems occur. Plan accordingly. Try having a flexible mindset. Build slack into your busy schedule to help in managing unforeseen hurdles.
Dedicating a workspace
Decide a place where you can find the least distraction and are able to maximize your focus. It can help in concentrating and maintaining an emphasis on your tasks.
Take enough sleep
The way stress tends to reduce our performance, so does insufficient sleep. Taking enough sleep, stretching or exercising can help in clearing our mind and resetting it to take in new information.
If we spend a little time to learn about the techniques, it can provide us with great benefits today, and throughout our career. The enormous benefits we may obtain from dedicating our time effectively can thus be:
Greater productivity and consistency
Growth in career development
Better professional stature or repute
Larger opportunities for advancement of important life and career goals
Less of stress
You may choose any of those techniques above and develop a new habit to manage time on your own. Try something you have a better chance of following and accomplishing!
Nothing thrives like a first successful attempt you make!