Time and tide stop for none, an adage which is true to every word. You can take cover from a tide, but what about time? Never has a man-made concept had such immense value (not even Bitcoin) and been a cause of such great concern. The concept of time management (one of the most searched hacks on the internet) gained prominence in our time, where everything is fast, including our cuisine. But any challenge which seems to be insurmountable at first isn’t as much when you lock horns with it. So is the case when dealing with time and learning how to manage it efficiently.
Since everyone is on the clock and time is always of the essence, we look at ways by which you can reshape or formulate your decisions to inculcate time management in a holistic manner.
First and foremost, know what aspirations or goals you need time for. A crucial part of the process is goal setting and it is something that is effective on both a micro and macro level. Only when you affix your goals and their importance can you learn the ropes of time management.
So you can start small, by making a daily to-do list. A simple and effective process, it will always help you stay on track with your commitment and allocate time judiciously. In case you still do run out of time for some deadlines or tasks, you can fix your next to-do list accordingly.
Here’s a quick get-rich scheme which actually works – collect a nickel for every time you’ve heard family or friends tell you to set your priorities straight. Wham! Millionaire. In all honesty, the reason this habit is impressed upon us from childhood is the fundamental concept that time is limited. Due to this eternal constraint, we are expected to give our due to what matters the most. It’s that simple, and still hardly followed.
Priorities are what keep everything that’s important on track. Though it isn’t always easy to stay dedicated to our priority lists, especially when it comes to the personal creeping into the professional or vice-versa, over time one strikes a balance with practice.
Planning a grandiose day ahead is great, but what we fail to account for is the real measure of time that each activity or task can take up. Making a to-do or priority list doesn’t mean that you dump all your pending itineraries into a day’s bidding. Such an act will only set you up to fail, which in effect will add to your stress and concerns about running out of time. Therefore, a hint of pragmatism will go a long way while planning your day ahead.
It is difficult for anyone to define concrete time slots for each task they undertake, hence including a little buffer will help, in case a task takes longer than expected. Going ahead, try to maintain an active knowledge of how much time needs to be dedicated to an activity and give it priority accordingly.
“Hey got a minute?” or “Do you have the time” – most professionals will hear these words on a daily basis – from coworkers, bosses, team members, friends, et al. They are likely the prime reason why many of us get derailed from our schedules and time-sensitive tasks.
Our lives, office spaces included, are full of distractions, and for those looking to master time management, learning to cut away from these distractions is vital. Remember, your time will not stop just because you are doing someone else’s bidding. So focus on your tasks before setting out to be a good Samaritan. If you’re in the middle of an important task, turn off your phone. Let colleagues know that you’re only available during certain periods of the day for meetings and the like. If somebody is persistently interrupting your work and delaying you, learn how to say a polite but firm “no”. The benefits far outweigh the possible cons.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Well, it also makes him lose out on time. Chasing deadlines and working yourself to the bone will inadvertently burn you out which, in effect, will force you to lose more time instead of gaining anything.
Another point to keep in mind – time management is not limited to just managing work-related affairs. It is also about keeping work away from your personal life. Downtime needs to be a key part of your time management strategy, as it will help you relax and rejuvenate. You need to give personal space as much time and validity as your professional commitment.
Do you know what bleeds more of your time every day than anything else? The itch to constantly check for messages and social media updates. Be it at work or outside, constantly being on the phone more often than not keeps us away from the tasks at hand. So try to disconnect every now and then. Disconnecting, as you will realise, will help you give your undivided attention while at work, and also not keep you away from your friends and family in their company.
So this new year, if you had time management at the top of your resolution list, then start with these basic points. Time may be constrained, but how you manage your way around it isn’t. On that note, we leave you with this anonymous quote:
“Money, I can only gain or lose. But time I can only lose. So, I must spend it carefully.”