If you do not manage your time, it will manage you. Time management is the tool used to improve your work efforts and have more time to enjoy life as well. Here is a guide of how to use simple tools to manage time more effectively that includes a discussion of the concepts of time chunks, time cycles, time wasters, recharge time, and time mapping.
Breaking time into manageable pieces of what can be accomplished during a certain period is an easy way to keep the focus on what needs to get done. Daily time chunks are good. Weekly time chunks are helpful. However, longer periods are not defined well enough to be effective. It is better to consider longer periods as essentially shorter time chunks that have been added together.
To be most effective, it is important to be able to break large tasks down into time chunks that can be accomplished within one day’s time or at most one week’s time. If the task takes longer than one week to perform, then the task is too broad and needs to be broken into smaller pieces.
Time cycles are improved by using a pattern of weekly reviews. For example, start each week with one hour on Monday at 10 a.m. that is reserved for planning the rest of the week. Then, on Friday at 1 p.m. use one hour to review the progress.
Set up each week on Monday morning with the tasks that can be performed by Friday afternoon. Make of list of the items that need to be accomplished by the end of the week. On Friday, check to see how you performed.
If a task was not done, consider trying again during the following week to complete it. If two weeks go by and the task is still not done, then either break the task into smaller pieces or discard it and forget about doing it
We hardly notice when we are wasting time. Answering emails and using social media is so addictive that it is easy to waste many hours doing these tasks. This is not very helpful. Moreover, people can be time-wasters.
If you frequently find yourself chit-chatting at work, you are not really working, you are goofing off. You do not have to become a working robot because socializing with others is part of being human. However, you need to become aware of the amount of time that is wasted and limit this waste.
Using a watch that has an alarm is a great tool used to remind yourself of the time limits. Set the alarm for a limit before doing these time-wasting tasks. When the alarm goes off, the work tasks take priority over the time-wasters to improve time management.
Surprisingly, good time management allows time for procrastination and time-outs. This may seem counter-intuitive. However, in order to be the most effective, people need to have time out from an active schedule to recharge themselves.
Scheduling daily time for meditation, physical exercise, or simply taking a nap makes people vastly more productive than when they work themselves to a level of burnout. Too much work results in a drastic decline in productivity.
When exhausted, continuing to try to work longer without rest creates a deteriorating performance result. As we get more tired, productivity declines so rapidly that we actually may end up making more work for ourselves because we make more mistakes.
Using a visual aid like a time map is helpful to improve the management of time. This can be a calendar that hangs on the wall. It shows a list of the successful task on the dates that they were accomplished. This time map shows the overall progress of large projects as the incremental tasks for the project are completed.
Time management does not have to be burdensome. Simply knowing that if you get through a difficult task you will get a reward of some downtime is enough to help motivate your efforts. Developing a system to manage time helps make us more aware of what we are doing, avoid wasting time, and clearly see what we can accomplish when we pay attention to our use of time.