Time management is a popular parlance both in business and in everyday life; the successful practice of it is however not so popular. Day in and day out, people struggle to manage what little time they have and very few succeed at it. There is already not enough hours in a day or at least that’s what a lot of people think. But that is not necessarily the truth. Lost time is mostly a product of procrastination, inefficiency and distraction. Learning to manage your time effectively equals more output (returns), higher level of satisfaction, stress reduction, increased efficiency, increased ample time, etc.
William Shakespeare put it best when he said that “It’s better to be three hours too soon than a minute late.” If you fall into the group of people who constantly grapple with time, it is probably because you are unconsciously making one or a combination of the following mistakes:
Neglecting to create a to-do list
Not creating a to-do list is placing your day into the hands of time and chance. Do you always end up your day regretting things you should or shouldn’t have done? It’s due to negligence of a to-do list. A properly written to-do list is a strategic time management tactic, because it creates an order list for one to follow. A to-do list makes you focus on major and minor task according to priority. The lack of written specifics may lead to inefficiency and procrastination because of lack of task flow or organisation.
Working contrary to your forte
There is a saying that goes thus – ‘The fact that everybody is doing it doesn’t mean it is always right’. There are no standards or specific ways to get things done; we all have our strengths and Tweaknesses. So it will be ideal to work in accordance with your forte. trying to follow a tailored or defined pattern that doesn’t suit how you work will lead to increased frustration and time wasting.
Lack of prioritising
It is one thing to have a to-do list and it’s another to have a well organised list via prioritising. Prioritising creates a to-do list in order of urgency or preference; failure to do such will just keep you in a round circle. Not everything on a to-do list demands urgency or so much energy. Prioritising creates focus on the major down to the minor. It’s hard to accomplish so much in a short time without the help of prioritisation.
Like the phrase goes, ‘tomorrow never comes’; maybe it is a cousin of ‘never will’. Procrastination is putting off or postponing what you should get done now till a later date or tomorrow. This is a weak human trait. Over-planning on a task can also lead to procrastination; you get exhausted before the main task even starts. Don’t ponder too much on the work; plan just get the work done. Let your guide phrase be “never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.”
Inability to manage distraction
As funny as this may sound one can get distracted without even knowing it. Imagine the time wasted on trivialities all because of a lack of concentration. One mystery with time is that one can’t get it back. Distraction can come in different forms and angles from careless side talks, phone chats and calls, etc. and they prevent one from accomplishing tasks in a given time. Proper time management needs 100 percent concentration on the task at hand and even though distraction can’t be stopped totally, it can be minimised. To manage distraction, one has to increase concentration.
Handling too much at once
Handling too much at once can lead to poor outcome, fatigue and excess energy drain. Taking too much at once is a bad time management tactic. Prioritise and handle tasks preferably one after the other. This act or art of doing things one at a time keeps your concentration and energy level high. Never bite more than you can chew.
Lack of breaks
Having breaks or a time off a task or work to re-energise is a wonderful strategy of managing your time. It is not feasible for one to concentrate and construct something of great quality without letting your brain to have a time off of its own. If you are in the school of thought that says having a time off is a waste of time, you are setting yourself up for failure in the long haul. Never dismiss breaks or time offs because they help to re-energize your body, which makes you more creative and effective.
All we have is time so why waste it? Learn to be a good time manager and you’ll see how it affects your life positively.