Thursday, August 23, 2012
6 Steps to Effective Time Management
Guest Post by: Anjali Amit
Science fiction is replete with time travel stories. Characters move backwards and forwards in time with consummate ease. “Beam me up Scotty” and falling through the wormhole are established techniques for traveling through time and space. But it is just that: science fiction. In the real world time is a one-way street. Every hour, minute, second that is gone is gone forever.
How often have you thought “If only I had more time”, or participated in water-cooler dreams of 36-hour days? Well, that may not happen in our lifetime, but these six simple steps will help you make the best of the time you do have.
1. Prioritize--Start your day by looking through the tasks on hands and prioritizing them. It may seem like a waste of the five or ten minutes you spend on this activity, but it brings an order to the day. Ask yourself what the most important tasks are. Then do not worry if things lower on the list have to be pushed off to the next day. The important tasks get done.
2. Know your most productive hours--Each person has a different rhythm. Some are morning people, others work best in the afternoon or evening. Know the time that is best for you, and slot your most creative endeavors for that period. Blogging, for example, is not just writing but also commenting on posts, reading other works, searching for markets--the list is long. Write when you are freshest and feel most creative. Use the other hours of the day for all the related tasks.
3. Focus--Once you know the things to be accomplished for the day focus on them, to the exclusion of all else. Remember the old saw: Once you have made a decision, murder the alternatives.
4. Do not postpone work--Do not defer things that are on your priority list. Time’s a-passing, whether you work or not. If you set aside important tasks for later you will reach the end of the day with an job half done and feel “I just did not have enough time.”
5. Set realistic schedules--The other end of the spectrum from “I wish I had more time” is to cram every minute of your working day with activities. That is the most direct road to work-day fatigue. Ink-in down time into every working day, and then create a schedule around it.
6. Be aware of the passage of time--Oftentimes you can get so involved in an activity that you are not aware of how much time has elapsed. However, you have a prioritized list of activities for the day, and would like to complete them. Set an alarm on your phone, start the stopwatch, or ask a coworker to come by with a reminder.
When the alarm goes off you may even reward yourself with a cup of coffee or a stroll in the fresh air.
Anjali Amit's first book, Folk Tales From Rajasthan, was published when she was in college. Upon graduation she "sold her soul to Mammon"—went to work for a bank. She reads to live, and is fascinated by the brave new world of blogging.
Image: Stock photo