A Guide to Effective Time Management

You may feel the ticking clock due to many reasons but most of the time we hear and feel every tick of the clock when we absolutely have nothing. In order to manage time effectively, it is important to develop habits that help. This article explores some good habits and skills that could help you manage time effectively.

Decision-making

We make millions of decisions every second, I’m writing this article because I decided to and you are reading it because you decided to. Irrespective of whether the decisions are big or small we are constantly making decisions throughout our lives.

Be it choosing a life partner, a career, or deciding whether to scroll down and check the length of this article, we make decisions for ourselves because nobody else can decide on our behalf; for the most part of our lives. Hence, decisions must be taken with deliberation as some decisions could have a long-term impact.

Being too emotional could lead to poor decision making. Therefore, it is essential that you make your decisions with a clear mindset. Emotions will subside but the decisions you make may have a permanent impact.

Organization

Setting smaller, achievable targets can help you complete large tasks within a stipulated time frame. It relieves stress and helps you concentrate more on one particular task rather than ending up juggling multiple tasks. Categorize tasks, group difficult tasks that require more concentration or brainstorming. Work on these difficult tasks when during the hours where you think you perform best.

Planning

When planning, it is important that you set SMART goals. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and time-bound. When you set goals that obey these five principles, the chances of you attaining them are significantly higher.

The Pareto Principle also is known as the 80-20 rule suggests that 80% of results come from 20% of the effort put in. This is commonly used in sales as 80% of sales typically come from 20% of the customers,” writes Renzo Costarella in a previous Calendar post. Renzo suggests that you start by looking “at your schedule or to-do-list every day using this principle. By following these principles, you could cut down on any tasks may be lower in priority.

Breaks

We tend to go into overdrive when we get into the zone and like to keep ongoing. But it is very essential to give yourself a break once in a while. This is because our human brain has a limited time to focus and when it exceeds that time, we tend to get stressed out and restless.

Another factor that promotes stress is taking on responsibilities just to please people. Don’t overbook yourself with a task that cannot be completed in an attempt to win the favor of your colleagues or manager. Know your limits and draw the line where necessary.

Prioritizing tasks

You do not want to put the cart before the horse. Do you?

The task that is highly important and is urgent must be given priority and then the rest must follow a descending order of priority and importance. The choosing of importance over urgency and vice versa is of course a whole different ball game that requires thorough analysis, comparison, and reasoning. When some tasks can be identified with urgency and importance other tasks could be identified with difficulty.

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.” For starters, you usually have the most amount of energy in the AM. Hence, it’s better to tackle these tasks when you’re not drained. Although Mark Twain prefers doing the most difficult in the morning, it is up to you to decide on the formula that works to bring out the best in you.

Avoid habits that cause delays

You could be carried away by many things but these two factors are the serial killers when it comes to killing time. One is perfectionism, and the other, working while being distracted. Forget the thought of being perfect. By no means does this imply that there is room for error by not being perfect but if you try to achieve unrealistic levels of perfection, you will never stop working on the same task over and over again, so do your best and move on.

Last but not least keep your phones at bay. I wonder how many times you scrolled your phone, checked your inbox while reading this article. James Clear calls this “half work”. Since the concentration is split into two different things, it takes twice as long to complete half of the task he says.

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