Thursday, 20 September 2018

Time Management – a universal problem

Have you noticed that real life achievers in this world are never stressed, never hassled, and never short of time? They are achieving far more than the average guy or girl but whereas the latter species is always hard pressed for time or worse still, has total disdain and complete disregard their own time and that of others, the achievers always find time for their passion, their family, their friends and can finish their job well in time! So what are they doing right that the mediocre are failing to do? They are managing their time well.

Time management refers to the efficient use of time. We all have the same twenty-four hrs every day at our disposal. If we use our time productively and effectively we can make the most of the time available to us, and succeed. We need to do this in a stress-free and relaxed manner so that it is our best that comes out. By overworking we stress ourselves, and that is neither judicious nor sustainable. We need to strike a balance between work and rest, and use our physical, mental and intellectual resources in the best way and wisely manage our time.

1. Know your goals and be most productive.
In order to succeed in life Benjamin Franklin developed a model for himself at the age of 20. Today it is also known as the "pyramid of productivity" and is particularly effective for goals that require long-term investment. You need to spend time planning your goals and ways to achieve them, and after doing so you will have a clear path on which you can fulfill any dream and ambition.
  • In the first stage, you must understand what your values and aspirations are so that you know what really matters to you.
  • In the second stage, you must set an achievable goal for your life that can be reached within the specified time. So, ask yourself, "What do I want to achieve in the next X years?"
Each step is then devoted to planning the path to achieving the goal:
  • General planning - detailed instructions for achieving the goal in general
  • Long-term – steps for 3-5 years
  • Short-term - steps for the month/year (1-12 months)
  • Top step - steps for every day or week
Once you’ve written instructions for each time span, you will have a lot more motivation to achieve your goal, because you already know exactly what you need to do and when to finish each stage - sometimes lack of planning is what lowers motivation, but clear tasks help you know what steps need to be taken, and for the most part they also seem less threatening as a result.

2. Prioritize wisely-The Eisenhower Matrix
Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th president of the United States, was considered one of the country's finest leaders who knew how to best manage their time, and was known to have effectively controlled several areas of his life at the same time. How did he do this? Eisenhower used to divide a page into 4 parts, giving each a different title:
·         Upper right: urgent and unimportant
·         Upper left part: urgent but important
·         Lower right part: not urgent and unimportant
·         Lower left part: not urgent but important
Looking at what goes into making up your day, where do your activities fit into these categories?
1.       Urgent & Important — Tasks that must be done. Do them right away. are usually all the things you haven’t had time to do but need to get done today. If you use this list daily, this part should remain blank most of the time.
2.       Urgent but not important — Tasks that make the most “noise,” but when accomplished, have little or no lasting value. Delegate these if possible.
3.       Important but not urgent — Tasks that appear important, but upon closer examination aren’t. Plan them well because these tasks should not be done in haste, because if you do this they can easily move to the important and urgent section when you don’t do them correctly.
4.       Not urgent and not important — Low-priority stuff that offer the illusion of “being busy.” Do them later. These are tasks that even if left undone, won’t affect you too much like updating your social media status.
Stephen Covey, co-author of First Things First, offers this same organizational tool for your to-do list based on how important and urgent tasks are. Write down your three or four “important and urgent” tasks that must be addressed today, he advises. As you complete each one, check it off your list. This will provide you with a sense of accomplishment and can motivate you to tackle less essential items.

3. Triple Ds
Good time management involves understanding which jobs are non essential and can wait – Delete them from your to do list. Then identify the ones that are essential but do not demand your personal involvement and attention – Delegate them. Then there will remain that require your total dedication and personal attention – Do them. Delegating or outsourcing are real time-savers since it lessens your workload - which means you have more time to spend on more important tasks or doing less work. Doing less doesn’t mean “less is more.” It means “less is better.” This is achieved by slowing down, being aware of what needs to be done, and concentrating only on those things. Once you do, make every action count. As a result you’ll be creating more value instead of just fodder.

4. Just say no.
You have to realize that you’re the boss of your time. If you have to decline a request in order to attend to what’s truly important and urgent, do not hesitate to do . You do not have to please everyone, that in fact is an utopian dream. Be prepared to move on to more productive tasks. Learn from the experience to avoid wasting time later on.

5. Plan ahead.
In Plastic Surgery there is a very popular phrase – ‘If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail’. One of the worst things you can do is jump into the workday with no clear idea about what needs to get done. The time you spend thinking ahead and planning your activities is trivial compared with the time you’ll lose jumping from one thing to the next and then failing to complete both.

6. Eliminate distractions.
Start paying attention to the number of times someone interrupts you when you’re in the midst of an important task. They are not helping you and cannot be your friend. Track self-induced interruptions, too, particularly those of the social media variety. Your smartphone is extremely useful, but it’s also addictive and among the most insidious time-wasters known to mankind.
It may take a massive exercise in will power, but shut the door and turn off your phone to maximize your time. In our age of constant distraction, it's stupidly easy to split our attention between what we should be doing and what society bombards us with. Fight it and win this fight.

7. Watch what you spend – create a time audit
How many productive minutes are you packing in each week? Use this simple time-sheet tracker to quickly and easily clock in and out of various tasks or projects throughout the day. The easiest way to keep track of your time is to download an app like RescueTimeToggl or my app Calendar to track everything you do for a week. Then generate robust, real-time reports to see exactly where you’re spending your most valuable asset — and where it’s being wasted.

8. Eat the frog first.
Mark Twain once said, "If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it's your job to eat two frogs, it's best to eat the biggest one first." Disgusting, isn’t it? But, the point that Twain was making that you should take care your biggest and most-challenging tasks in the morning, your most important tasks (MITs) of the day. That is because you usually have the most amount of energy in the morning and it’s better to tackle these tasks when you’re not drained. Also, you can use that feeling of accomplishment to get through the rest of the day.

9. Follow the 80-20 rule.
The Pareto Principle also known as the 80-20 rule suggests that 80% of results come from 20% of the effort put in. 80% of your results comes from 20% of your actions. So quality time is more important than quantity time. For the sake of simplicity try to get done five tasks you need to accomplish. Using the principle you can probably eliminate the majority of the items on your list. It may feel unnatural at first but overtime this will condition you to scale up effort on the most important tasks

10. Stop being perfect.
When you’re a perfectionist, nothing will ever be good enough. And ‘best’ is the greatest enemy of ‘good’. That means you’ll keep going back to same task over and over again. How productive do you think your day will be then? So, stop being perfect. It doesn’t exist. Do the best you can and move on.

11. Bunch similar task together.
When you have related work, bunch them together. For example, don’t answer your emails and phone calls throughout the day. Schedule a specific time to handle these tasks. Different tasks demand different types of thinking. By bunching related tasks together, your brain isn’t switching gears - which means you cut out that time reorienting.

12. Take care of yourself.

Be sure to get plenty of sleep and exercise. An alert mind is a high-functioning mind and one that’s less tolerant of time-wasting activities.

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