Time Management Techniques

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Time Management can be defined as the analysis of how working hours are utilized and the arrangement of tasks so as to maximise personal efficiency. (Collins English Dictionary, 2012) The only possible way of managing time effectively is when one has “Self-Management” which is basically accepting responsibility and not laying blame, and this can be done when a person is Motivated. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, only when a person fulfils the lower level needs and reaches the higher levels i.e. Self Esteem and Self Actualization can he be fully motivated to set goals.

Fig 1: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Goal setting is a powerful way of motivation. But not any goals that are set are motivating; they have to be SMART goals. SMART is a suitable acronym for the criteria that a goal must have in order to be achieved. The table below is an illustration of Locke’s theory of goal setting. SPECIFIC | Exactly what is it you want to achieve in your academic life and to what extent? A good goal should answer the question “which, what, who, where, when and why”| MEASURABLE| A good goal should be able to answer the questions “how much?” or “how many” in order to be able to have a good track of progress and to measure the outcome.| ACHIEVABLE | A good goal should be attainable and not too far-fetched that it demotivates the person instead. This should answer the question “How can the goal be accomplished”| RESULT-ORIENTED| The goal set should be relevant and realistic in accordance to your strengths and weaknesses. (Breitsprecher, 2005)| TIME-RELATED| Every goal should be guarded within a time frame. This is the objective that gives urgency and importance of a certain project. By setting a deadline you provide yourself with motivation to begin with your project and assist with the drive towards achieving it.| Fig. 2: Locke’s Goal Setting Theory

Having clear SMART goals in place is required for efficient Personal Time Management. None of the goals however can be achieved if you do not know how to manage you time .
The following are a few techniques for managing time effectively: 3.1 EISENHOWER’S TIME MANAGEMENT MATRIX
The Eisenhower Matrix is one of the simplest techniques that can make time management a lot easier. The Matrix divides Important vs. Urgent tasks through four Quadrants (Andra, 2010).

Fig 3: The Time Management Matrix
From the figure,
Urgent and Important: This is the Quadrant of Necessity; this involves all tasks that are emergencies and of utmost importance Not Urgent and Important: The Quadrant of Quality and Personal Leadership is the quadrant which is most important but is often neglected because most tasks involved aren’t urgent until it’s too late. Urgent and Not Important: Covey (1994, pp. 75-77) claims that most people spend a lot of time dealing with tasks in this quadrant. It is mostly confused by tasks in the Quadrant of Necessity. A good way of differentiating between the two quadrants is by asking “Is this task related to my goals?”

Not Urgent and Not Important: The Quadrant of Waste, this contains all the time wasters. 3.2 PARETO’S PRINCIPLE
The Pareto Principle also known as the 80/20 principle is another technique for managing time, according to Koch (2008, pp. 11-13) 80% of your results comes from 20% of your actions. To implement the Pareto Principle when performing a task ask yourself “Is this task in the 20% that gives 80% result” if not, stop the task as it is a time waster.

Fig 4: 80/20 Principle
3.3 THE 3P’s
Carroll (2012) agrees that in order to accomplish as much as we can per day, it is important to consider the 3P’s. Firstly, Prioritise, know what is important to you. Next Plan, without planning and scheduling arises most problems with personal time management. Lastly, Perform, once you have set your...
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