Tips - Time management

Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in our reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager? If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want.

When you learn and maintain good time management skills, you’ll find freedom from deadline pressure and from stress in general. You’ll be more productive, procrastinate less, and have more time to relax, which helps further decrease stress and anxiety.

Practice the following techniques to become the master of your own time:

1. Make a to-do list every day. Put the most important tasks at the top, even if they're things you're dreading, and tackle them first. Include things you want to do on your list too, so you have items you're looking forward to. Try motivating yourself with a reward if you get to everything on your list

2. At the end of your day, review what you’ve done and make a new list for the next day. In order of importance.

3. Complete most important tasks first. This is the golden rule of time management. Each day, identify the two or three tasks that are the most crucial to complete, and do those first.

4. Learn to say “No”. Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period

5. Stop multi-tasking. Multitasks often seem to think they get more accomplished, but it’s not always the most productive or efficient route

6. Block out distractions. What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in? Facebook? Try to stay out of it whenever you are concentrating on important work.

7. Delegate your work. For those of us who like to be in control the very thought of this is likely to provoke a bit of anxiety. The truth of the matter is that no matter how good we are, we can’t do everything. Sometimes we take on more than we can handle.

8. Sleep for at least 6-8 hours. Take enough rest. Eat well and do exercise. Get an early start for the day to function better.

9. Track the time you spent on each task. Don’t fuss over unimportant details and try to be a perfectionist.

10. Leave buffer time between tasks. Incase if you get pulled into doing some other work when you are middle of some work. You can always utilize this buffer time to finish on time. Also it will always give you a bonus time in hand to achieve additional work done.

11. Reward yourself. When you accomplish something, celebrate it! How you celebrate is up to you. My word of advice is to keep whatever you choose to do healthy, make sure it’s something you really enjoy, don’t do it in excess, and don’t let it cause you to get further behind

12. Plan to spend at least 50 percent of your time engaged in the thoughts, activities and conversations that produce most of your results.

13. Cut big jobs into small chunks. Order the chunks by importance. Work on one chunk at a time. For big, complex tasks, schedule wiggles room. Projects tend to take longer than you think/hope. Give yourself a buffer.

14. Have a clock visibly placed before you. Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

15. Enjoyment should always be the goal. Work can be play.

We get so caught up in business that we forget to enjoy what we’re doing. Even when we focus on working smarter, we’re still often too focused on getting things done. This should never be the point. Always ask yourself: What can I do to spend more time enjoying what I’m doing?

Time management skills are an essential part of making your day just a little easier. Find what works for you and stick to it. Remember that it's impossible to get everything done. Also remember that odds are good that 20 percent of your thoughts, conversations and activities produce 80 percent of your results.