One of our most precious commodities is ‘time’. We often find ourselves believing that we don’t have enough hours in the day to complete all the tasks we have.
This post examines this mindset and provides three tips for better time management; how to prioritise effectively in order to achieve what’s important whilst learning to identify, and let go of, those things that are not.
What is Time Management?
Time Management is the process of organising and planning how to divide your time between specific activities. Good time management enables you to work smarter, not harder, leading to increases in efficiency and productivity.
How can you improve your Time Management?
There are many techniques to help you to improve the way you manage your time. Below are three for you to try, which can also be covered by attending one of our time management courses:
Prioritise tasks (Be ruthless!)
Sometimes we all allow ourselves to get overloaded with the sheer number of tasks we have agreed to complete. To prevent this, we can allocate a simple measurement that allows us to prioritise:
Importance: (A=high, B=medium, C=low)
Urgency: (1=high, 2=medium, 3=low)
Always work on the most urgent and important goals and tasks (A1) first, and then move on down your list. Don’t be afraid to reach a point with your list where you make decisions as to whether you should do the goals and tasks at all.
Pareto’s Law (The 80/20 rule)
Pareto reminds us that 80% of results come from 20% of actions. It’s a way of focusing our minds when it comes to making decisions.
We ask ourselves whether, or not, we’re concentrating on the 20% of activities that provide the 80% of desired results. If we’re not, we take steps to change what we’re doing until we are.
Using the 4D System (Stop procrastinating)
- Drop it: What is the impact of not doing the task at all? Consider the 80/20 rule; maybe it doesn’t need to be done.
- Delegate it: If the task is important, ask yourself if it’s really something that you are responsible for doing. Can the task be given to someone else?
- Delay:If the task is one that can’t be completed quickly and is not high priority, simply delay it.
- Do: Postponing an important task that needs to be done only creates feelings of anxiety and stress. Do it now!
In this post we’ve defined what Time Management is and explored three techniques for getting better at it. Some people will be naturally drawn to one of the techniques referenced, other people might be comfortable with all three.
Whatever works for you is ok, the really important thing is to commit to the choice to improve how you manage your time and to keep working at it. The key is to keep checking in with yourself:
Are you working smarter, not harder?
Are you more efficient in the way you manage tasks?
Are you able to be more productive, whilst doing less tasks?
- Do you need to attend some time management training?