“Time is equal to life; therefore, waste your time and waste your life, or master your time and master your life.” - Alan Lakein in ‘How to Get Control of Your Time’
Time management is a factor which is often thought about by every employee, and more so, the younger generation. While an individual might be logging in long hours at work, it is worthwhile to see if the same is yielding positive results. Most often than not, this leads to additional stress and burnouts very early on in their career path. A matter of such concern, confronted especially by the younger generation, boils down to one factor; ‘time management.’ Highly successful people have mastered the art of efficient time management and are making optimal use of time. They are careful in evaluating the task at hand and the amount of time required for each to derive maximum results. As the old adage goes, “Work Smarter, Not Harder.”
In Quotes “Highly successful people have mastered the art of efficient time management and are making optimal use of the same. They are careful in evaluating the task at hand and the amount of time required for each to derive maximum results.”
Considering that we spend a significant amount of our waking hours towards professional aspirations and goals, learning how to use that time optimally will help us lead a successful and content life, professionally and personally. Let us look at some ways which can help us crack the time management code.
1. Prioritise: It is imperative to understand those tasks which need to be achieved on the said day. We often try to cramp up all our work in a single day, which does not lead to any positive result, and, feel dejected on failing to complete the task at hand. However, dividing your tasks in the following categories will help you understand the tasks which need immediate attention.
2. Urgent: Critical tasks that need to be done right away or have a shorter timeframe for submission.
3. Acritical: Tasks that can be done after all the work under urgent is complete.
4. Deadlines: Once you have understood the task at hand, set specific and realistic deadlines for each. These will help you to remain on track and manage each task efficiently throughout the day without any stress.
5. Distractions: It is only natural to be distracted at work. However, one needs to identify factors that side track and deter you from achieving the task at hand. Declutter your desk space and set up a place that helps the brain associate with work. Distractions can easily guide you into a spiral of low productivity and frustration and blocking it can help you have a fruitful day.
6. Analyse: If you scrutinise your day well, you will discover pockets of free time that go wasted. Start working out on where you are losing the time most and reduce the burden of such unproductive activities during that period.
7. Multi-tasking: The concept of multi-tasking refers to a person dealing with more than one task at the same time. Focusing your attention on multiple things, challenges the mind to switch between them, and therefore, it is best to have undivided focus on a single important task at a given point in time. Moreover, multi-tasking can take away your ability to think creatively, because it takes up a lot of your temporary brain storage, which leads to inefficiency and stress.
8. Goals: Evaluate what and how are the targets set for the day going to be achieved. This can be accomplished by drafting a Tasks To-Do (TTD) list. Ideally, this should be done at the beginning of the day. It helps plan your work goals to be achieved with the goals you are aiming for and another list with the things you are spending time doing. This will give you a useful gauge in your efforts and help you contribute to achieve organisational objectives.
9. Scheduling: It is imperative to schedule your day well in time to alleviate the risk of losing out on important details and tasks. Such an activity can go a long way in getting you more organised in your thought processes and work. While you may have to invest some amount of time in planning, the benefits of the same are manifold.
10. Say ‘NO’: It is important to understand when to say no. Once you have set out to achieve your predetermined targets, ensure you disallow things that will hamper your productivity. It is permissible to say no or ensure help at a later stage when you are completing the tasks at hand. If a coworker requests for help, evaluate the urgency and the criticality of the task before committing. This will help you stay on track and maintain an effective work life balance.
11. Delegate: The end goal is to accomplish your task efficiently by way of optimum use of time. If that requires outsourcing or delegating your work, do so. Each individual is equipped with varying strengths and weaknesses. If you can identify the tasks where you can use your strengths to the fullest, delegate the other small tasks to employees. Once you do that, ensure you trust the person and provide them enough room to get the job done. Do not micro manage, since it renders the entire activity to be futile. Delegating will also help you to be a better manager in the future, and, allow you to be an effective team player.
In Quotes “Do not micro manage, since it renders the entire activity to be futile. Delegating will also help you to be a better manager in the future, and, allow you to be an effective team player.”
12. Unwind: We are human and need time to recharge ourselves to perform to our maximum potential. This involves taking short breaks throughout the day; take a short walk, speak to your peers, change your seat. This will help break the monotony and allow your brain to decompress. Moreover, once you have signed out of office, unplug completely. Keep electronic usage to a minimum and respond to work emails or calls only when absolutely necessary. Inculcate productive habits and read a book, watch informative documentaries, have healthy discussions with your family, and, get a good night’s rest. The impact of unwinding is often underestimated and people fail to realise that our minds need a break and downtime as well.
Time management is all about improving your overall quality, rather than trying to tick everything off your list. It is important to instil balance and moderation in life which can be achieved by organising yourself by wisely using your time. Once you have learnt the tricks of time management, you will witness lower stress levels leading to a calmer and joyous state of mind. This will help in achieving an ideal work life balance and perform your duties at home and work efficiently.
Does your organisation support you in maintaining work-life boundaries?
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