Know How You Spend your Time Set Priorities Use Planning Tools Get Organized Schedule Delegate Stop Procrastinating Manage External Time Wasters Avoid Multitasking Stay Healthy
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10 strategies for better time management
Ten Strategies For Better Time Management
The term Time Management is a misnomer. You cannot manage time; you manage the events in your life in relation to time. You may often wish for more time but you only get 24 hours, 1,440 minutes or 86,400 seconds each day. How you use that time depends on skills learned through selfanalysis, planning, evaluation, and self-control. Much like money, time is both valuable and limited: it must be protected, used wisely, and budgeted. People who practice good time management techniques often find that they: • Are more productive, • Have more energy for things they need to accomplish, • Feel less stressed, • Are able to do the things they want, • Get more things done, • Relate more positively to others, and
Feel better about themselves (Dodd and Sundheim, 2005).
Finding a time management strategy that works best for you depends on your personality, ability to selfmotivate and level of selfdiscipline. By incorporating some, or all of the ten strategies below, you can more effectively manage your time.
1. Know How You Spend Your Time
Analyze where most of your time is devoted— job, family, personal, recreation, etc.
Keeping a time log is a helpful way to determine how you are using your time. Start by recording what you are doing for 15-minute intervals for a week or two. Evaluate the results. Ask if you did everything that was needed; determine which tasks require the most time; determine the time of day when you are most productive; and analyze where most of your time is devoted – job, family, personal, recreation, etc. Identifying TIME MANAGEMENT
your most time-consuming tasks and determining whether you are investing your time in the most important activities can help you to determine a course of action. In addition, having a good sense of the amount of time required for routine tasks can help you be more realistic in planning and estimating how much time is available for other activities.
2. Set Priorities
Managing your time effectively requires a distinction between what is important and what is urgent (MacKenzie, 1990). Experts agree that the most important tasks usually aren’t the most urgent tasks. However, we tend to let the urgent dominate our lives. Covey, Merrill, and Merrill (1994) categorize our activities into four quadrants in their Time Management Matrix: urgent, not urgent, important and not important. While activities that are both urgent and important must be done, Covey et.al. suggests that we spend less time on activities that are not important (regardless of their urgency) in order to gain time to focus on activities that are not urgent but important. Focusing on these important activities allows you to gain greater control over your time and possibly reduce the number of important tasks that do become urgent.
One of the easiest ways to prioritize is to make a “to do” list. Whether you need a daily, weekly or monthly list depends on your lifestyle. Just be careful not to allow the list-making to get out of control and do not keep multiple lists at the same time. Rank the items on your “to do” list in order of priority (both important and urgent). You may choose to group items in categories such as high,
medium and low, number them in order, or use a color coding system. Keep in mind that your goal is not to mark off the most items; rather you want to mark off the highest priority items (MacKenzie, 1990). Having a prioritized “to do” list allows you to say “no” to activities that may be interesting or provide a sense of achievement but do not fit your basic priorities.
3. Use a...