- Created on Monday, 10 September 2012
- Written by Anna Mitchell
- Hits: 321
Time management is a critical skill to learn in this fast-paced world of ours. Here are some tips to help you become more effective with your time so you can squeeze in some extra practice without adding stress:
1) Prioritize. Work out which things need to be absolutely done today and which have a little wiggle room. Prioritize in terms of time urgency and level of importance. Remember that urgent does not automatically mean important. Mindtools.com provide a great explanation of this concept outlining that: important – activities have an outcome that leads to the achievement of your goals while urgent – activities demand immediate attention, and are often associated with the achievement of someone else's goals. We tend to address urgent activities first because the consequences of ignoring them are immediate even though the consequences of neglecting important activities may be more significant. Some tasks are important and urgent, these are the ones we want to tackle first.
2) Set goals. Goals help us keep track of what we are trying to achieve and let us know when we have made progress. They help keep our time efficient by moving us in the right direction. When we are busy with no clear goals in mind we can spend a lot of wasted time and energy spinning our wheels or going in circles.
3) Write it down. Don't underestimate "To Do Lists." Write down your list of priorities and goals then check them off as you go to keep you on track. Prioritizing your to-do list is a critical step in using your time both efficiently and effectively. To simplify this process: first, write down all the things you need to do in no particular order. If this seems over whelming trying making separate lists for work, family/friends, competition/practice etc. Next, work through your list/s and rank starting with one for most important and most urgent to least important. Re-write your list from most important and most urgent to least important and least urgent then simply start at the top and work your way down. If a specific task seems too large to tackle all at once break it down into bite size chunks that you can conquer a little at a time.
4) Delegate. This can be a tough one. Many of us have this innate belief that if we want a job done properly we have to do it ourselves. We need to let go of this myth and tap into the resources around us. Often there are a number of competent people willing and able to help us shoulder the burden but we have to ask and then be willing to hand over the reins. Micro-managing will not help you achieve your goals and will likely result in a grumpy support team.
5) Fight Procrastination. Learn to distinguish between planning and procrastinating. Fight the urge to put off unpleasant or tedious tasks, focus on the satisfaction of checking it off your list. To help beat procrastination first acknowledge when and why you are procrastinating. Do you spend all morning on facebook or checking your email? Do you have difficulty saying no to others' requests even if they are less important than your own tasks? Do you procrastinate because you are unorganized and do not know where to start or because the tasks are intimidating or boring? Check your motive to get to the source of the problem then spend some valuable time getting organized or identifying resources to help you get the job done.
6) Manage Distractions. Plan ahead. Think about your environment and remove unnecessary distractions. Communicate with others and enlist their help to filter unnecessary distractions. Learn how to politely tell someone they are interrupting and you will get to them when you have finished the task you are working on. Try turning your phone and facebook off and you may be amazed at how much more you are able to accomplish. Set a time aside to check emails, return phone calls, and social chat. These are important but they can also make your time extremely unproductive if not managed effectively.
7) Avoid "multitasking." This is controversial, some people swear they thrive on being busy and some people do seem able to juggle a thousand things at once. For most of us, however, multi-tasking makes us less effective and less productive because we never really focus entirely on one specific task. So although we may be getting it done we may not be doing it as well as we could. Learning to manage distractions and setting goals will help you focus on one task at a time making you more productive and reducing the risk of errors. Errors cost valuable time while you undo or redo what you could have done right the first time.
8) Effective scheduling. Are you more productive in the mornings or evenings? Are there less distractions at a certain time of day (when the kids are at school)? Think about the bigger picture when setting your schedule to ensure you are making the most effective use of your time.