A person with good time management skills can certainly get more work done, while also getting more time for leisure. After all, no one wants to work and work and not have the time to enjoy the fruits of their labour.
Leisure and recreation are good for the mind and body. While your career will always have the chunk of your schedule, it’s important to unwind and relax as well, for you to recharge your batteries.
Manage your priorities better with these smart and easy techniques to improve your time management skills:
I. Plot Your Goals
If you have goals, then you’re surely doing something to achieve them. Make sure that the majority of the activities you engage in are in support of reaching your set goals.
This can mean that activities that don’t help you move forward with your goals are potential wastes of time.
Learn how to sort out activities and engagements that support your goals and those that don’t.
Prioritise and put in more time doing those that help you grow, and you’ll notice how much time you’re saving and using wisely.
II. Prioritise Your Tasks Wisely
Got heaps of tasks at hand? Organise them. At first glance, you may think that everything is important and urgent, but in reality, you can categorise them in terms of priority. The tasks that you need to accomplish first are the ones that go on top, while those that you can do later stay at the bottom of your list.
Stephen Covey, the co-author of First Things First, suggested an interesting way of sorting tasks based on importance:
▪ Important and Urgent – These are tasks that MUST BE DONE right away.
▪ Important but not Urgent – Tasks that seem to be important, but with better consideration, are not. You can afford to decide when to do them.
▪ Urgent but not Important – Tasks that scream “Do it now!”, but when accomplished, have little to no value. If possible, opt to delegate these kinds of tasks.
▪ Not Urgent and Not Important – Low-priority tasks that provide the illusion of “being busy”. You can do them later.
Create a list and write down the tasks that are “Important and Urgent”, as these are the tasks that need to be done ASAP.
As you accomplish each one, cross them off your list. Doing this simple act can really boost your mood and give you a sense of accomplishment — helpful for keeping you motivated to do other tasks that are not as important or urgent.
III. Learn to Say NO
Your friends are planning to go out for a drink, but you have heaps of stuff to do. Instead of stressing on how you’re going to fit everything int your schedule, when you clearly can’t afford to at the moment, just say no.
Saying no might be hard, especially to friends and even to your family at times, but it’s necessary in order to get work done. After all, they’re the ones who would surely understand your situation.
Saying no does not only apply to “outside” distractions, such as hanging out with friends, but also to work that is not relevant to your role or not as urgent at the moment.
As long as you have a to-do list and know each task’s importance and urgency, you can quickly turn down work that has lesser value than the ones that are top priority.
Again, identify and align tasks that will aid you in reaching your goals faster.
IV. Keep Track of Time
In any line of work, some tasks may demand your full attention. You can easily lose track of time, and find yourself rushing to accomplish a multitude of tasks.
While having a hectic schedule is inevitable, it’s always best to keep track of time no matter how busy you get.
After all, you can never start managing your time wisely if you can’t even keep track of time!
This requires a conscious effort of constantly being aware of your own time frame. It’s as easy as taking a peek at your wristwatch, the wall clock, or the time displayed on your PC monitor.
Having a good sense of time can mentality and physically prepare you for complying and committing to your schedule. Thus, your first step in wisely managing your time.
Whether you’re at work, studying, or even doing your hobbies and engaging in leisure activities, time management is key to maximise every moment you spend. It’s also a skill needed to be productive and efficient in anything you do.
Let’s face it, effective time management is no easy task. That’s why it’s important to be in the know about the tips and tricks of improving your time management skills.
Follow the guide that you just read, regularly implement it in your daily routine, and you will most likely hone yourself as the master of your own time.
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