Best Practices for Effective Time Management
With the ringing of the New Year comes a new round of resolutions to keep (or break!) over the next 12 months. Most people tend to stick with resolutions of change or improvement in their lives. Get more exercise. Eat less junk food. Spend more time with family. Find a creative hobby. Sure, these are simple and straightforward, because who wouldn’t want to be stronger, healthier, more loving, and better rounded?
I wish it were that easy!
The truth is that resolutions, as honest and personal as they may be, require both a firm commitment and an understanding of how to achieve them. You must be dedicated to the resolution and focused on a clear action plan. Lacking either you will be sorely disappointed.
How about a resolution to improve your time management skills? Another worthy resolution, to be sure, but one also requiring a good amount of self-control and self-evaluation.
If being a more proficient time manager is your 2018 resolution, here are 3 tips you can put to work immediately to help you towards that goal:
Take control of your technology; take control of your life.
Technology can be a blessing and a curse. It is convenient and speedy and allows you instant communication with just about anyone in the world. However it is an incessant, omnipresent interruption in our lives, and sadly commands too much of our attention each day. To be a better time manager, technology use in any form must be controlled or else you risk exhausting excessive mental bandwidth on it. One preferred solution is to carve out blocks of your day when email is off, devices are in drawers, and energies are devoted to “other things.” Having these defined periods of concentration without the constant pings and vibrations will seemingly give you additional time to accomplish tasks that once forced you to stay late at the office or miss important events.
Too much going on? Just say NO!
People who have difficulty managing their time are typically those who take on more than they can handle. For example, at work, they agree to every new project and sign off on every task, while at home they try to cook dinner, mow the lawn, and clean the attic all in one day. When it comes to being able to tackle all of life’s important tasks, effective time management necessitates an awareness of the word no, especially when there are negative consequences of saying yes. Ask yourself: Am I able to execute the task, or will it be a burden on an already overloaded calendar? If you find yourself unable to concentrate on a task because of so much else to do, you must learn to say no!
Make yourself a deadline and stick to it
Most people will work really hard to meet a deadline if they know one is looming. Of course in life, there are people who regularly shirk deadlines, and that reflects poorly on their time management and devotion to the task-at-hand. You never want to be the person known for missing deadlines. To be a more effective time manager, do not ignore the deadlines in front of you. Be realistic about what you can complete in the time allotted. Be forgiving if you find yourself struggling at first. Sometimes it takes a hard lesson to know that deadlines are just not to be ignored.
Though we all get the same 24-hour day, some people seem to accomplish more than others. Mastering the art of time management can reduce stress, enhance relationships, improve productivity and provide for increased success in whatever you do.
You may delay but time will not.