Effective time management tips

Time management has become absolute necessity in todays world. Its well know now that we are probably busier than we ever have been. We have started using lot of time saving devices from vacuum cleaners to microwave ovens to computers. But what technology gives also takes away.  As we have increased the numbers of time saving devices and products to make our lives easier we have found ways to fill the time.

And a chronic lack of time leads to stress.

There are ways to mange your times effectively. Some of the time management tips to manage time effectively are listed below.

Make a time diary

This is very simple. Note down time spent each day in a week. Be honest and note each any every time. If you are watching 10 hours TV in a week mention it. Try to detail out each activity of the day like gym time, driving/commuting time, eating time, meeting time etc. Most of the time you will find out where you are spending more time. Next action will be strike off those activities where you should stop spending time. For example you may be spending 2-3 hours daily chatting with others.

Learn to say “NO”

When someone asks you to do something that you really don’t have time to do, say so, politely, but firmly. And don’t allow yourself to feel guilty. One reason we are feeling so busy all the time is that we are worse at setting personal boundaries around what we’ll say ‘no’ to. You should focus on your goals. Your time diary can help in this regard. Once you’ve blocked time for important, but often not scheduled activities, sign on for only those things that are important, family, friends and health. Once you know exactly what you have time to do, turning down things that don’t fit into your priorities is easier.

Time based to-do list

Create a to-do list that includes how much time you will spend on each item on the list. Lists are very helpful and helps prioritize on how you should go about the tasks. When you prioritize tasks you naturally focus on those that you can do immediately.

Multitask

We all combine several activities into one all the time. Some multitasking is dangerous. Talk on the phone while driving and your chances of being involved in traffic accident is high. But there are lots of activities that can be effectively combined Listen to books while commuting, paying bills when watching television.

Don not be a perfectionist

There is nothing wrong with being ordinary. Perfectionism, otherwise known as paying excessive attention to every detail, important or not, is a kind of procrastination. Set rational goals for yourself. It is a fine thing to strive to be your best. It is  counter productive to try to be the very best. Setting unattainable expectations of yourself just adds stress to your life.

Reward yourself

Finally do not let any progress however small go unrewarded.

In nutshell  – Use your time diary to make decisions about how you want to organize your time better. As you make progress in prioritizing and saying ‘no,’ let yourself enjoy that. It does not have to be a big reward, maybe it can be as simple as spending some time by yourself or getting a massage. It is important to acknowledge and enjoy your success.

 

Chasing the impossible

Sometime you might have faced a situation where you need to finish some task by some date. You have some deadline to meet. You work day/night 24 hours a day and do all your effort but still you are not able to finish it on time. This can happen not only on your official work but in any other day to day task.

This can be a situation where you are chasing the impossible. 

Some task can not be finished in  by particular date even if you work all day and night. You must as a manager or lead or even a team member realize that if a work takes x hours it will take that time. You cannot increase your efficiency beyond some level. A rubber also can not be stretched beyond some limit.

You might have calculated the effort required to finish the task correctly( some time this also can be wrong). Assuming that you calculation is right in the first place but you are still not able to finish it.

This can be explained by the following example from Mathematics which I normally ask in interviews. The solution from the below question will explain it.

You are traveling  back home from office. You decide that you will travel at an average speed of 60 km/hour. At half the distance you realised that your average speed was 30 km/hour( may be because of traffic). At what speed you should travel your next half of the journey so that your average speed comes out to be 60 km/hour?

The answer to this is infinity which means it is not possible. With whatever speed you travel the second half ( 80, 90,120, speed of light…) you will not be able to attain total average speed of 60 km/hour.

Explanation – Consider the total distance as 60 km.( you can consider any value). Total time require to attain average speed is 1 hour ( Time= Distance/speed). Half distance i.e. 30 km is covered by speed of 30 km/h. i.e Time utilized = 30/30 = 1 hour. You have finished the time quota of 1 hour at the half the distance. Time left is 0 and you are chasing the impossible.

This is also what you encounter in your work i.e. Chasing the impossible. If you delay initially, sometime you will not be able to make it on time.