EFFECTIVE TIME MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES
This article was written for our students that find it hard to manage their time effectively. If you happen to be one of the few students that manage their time effectively, ignore this article and give yourself a pat on the back. If not, read on.
There is no doubt that time is one of the greatest resource of all and something that everyone has an equal shares regardless of background and financial situation. But most experts will acknowledge that time is usually the most poorly managed and under-utilised resource of all. It is a well known that poor time management can negatively impact on your career, on you finding the balance between your study, work and social life not to mention an ongoing source of stress and tension.
However, the good news is you can make the necessary changes to utilise your time effectively with the suggested time management strategies. Please note the author acknowledges that with all time management strategies, there is no one-size-fits-all system due to individual differences and as such these are only suggestions.
Keep in mind that when you first start implementing these strategies, don’t expect yourself to enjoy being organised; think of it just like having a shower or eating; it’s just one of those things that you have to do. Please note if interested, we have created an Excel spreadsheet called To Do List & Timetable Template that you can use to write down your to do list, prioritize the tasks within the list and prepare a timetable based on the points raised in this document.
STEP 1: KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO
The first step is know exactly what it is that you have to do and any deadlines you may have then CREATE A LIST; do not rely on your memory. Furthermore, when you create your list, do not include those tasks which you cannot forget such as reminding yourself to have a shower or have lunch.
There are two good reasons why you should create a list:
1. It ensures that good ideas and intentions are not forgotten.
2. More importantly, it reduces the likelihood of emotions or daily distractions affecting what you have to do on the day (i.e. it enables you to become objective and rational about the tasks ahead). In other words, it forces you to sort out the important tasks from the not so important tasks.
STEP 2: RECHECK YOUR LIST FOR WHAT’S IMPORTANT AND CROSS OUT THE UNIMPORTANT TASKS (PLAN)
You now have your list and the next important task is for you to cross out the unimportant tasks by asking yourself: Is this task really important and what will happen if you don’t do this task?
STEP 3: BREAK DOWN THE DAILIES AND IMPORTANT TASKS INTO
A: LIST DOWN YOUR DAILIES: The first thing in your To Do List is for you to list the daily routine tasks (i.e. DAILIES) that need to be done such as you may want an empty inbox every day, return phone calls, check messages left and so on. Here is an example from the To Do List template listing down the dailies.
Now once you are done with your dailies, the reality is you only have so many hours left in your working day. Remember; if you find that you have too much to do every day; you have over committed.
In this situation, look to cut your commitments or slow down and manage the consequences of doing so. Just remember, in life, you just can’t do everything; you have to make a choice.
So here are a few strategies to deal with those non-daily but important tasks. B: PRIORITISE URGENT TASKS USING THE DEADLINE METHOD: Prioritise, prioritise and prioritise; we all know that this is important. But they say that whatever you do, do not priotise your tasks by using the letter or number method (i.e. A, B, C, etc;) as you may find it hard to motivate yourself for the C tasks as they don’t seem to matter. Anyway, if left long enough these C tasks have a nasty habit of becoming urgent issues anyway. Instead, you should priotise your work by deadlines (i.e. when it’s due)...
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