Most professionals wish they had more time to get their tasks done. In fact, most have even attended classes or read up on the subject and chances are this has made little difference. As with any serious personal change, managing time better requires dedication, motivation and a plan. This post can help you with a plan and the benefits could be huge.
A Start point
Part of the challenge to managing time effectively is that most people simply say they need more time. This is clearly not possible. There are really only two ways to manage time more effectively: Do less of the less important stuff or do important stuff more efficiently and thus faster. To work out what the less important stuff is you’re going to need a start point. Establish one by keeping a rough journal for a week at work about what you did and how long it took. If this is going to succeed you’re going to need to be brutally honest – if socializing, chatting or playing games takes up a big chunk, this is actually a good thing at this stage, as it’s easy to fix.
The next and critical first step is to go some way to cutting out all the unnecessary activity. This will be easy as you now know exactly what it is. As if like magic, you should have lots more time.
You almost certainly have a to-do list. What’s really important with every task you deal with is to be really clear about what the goal is. Do this rigorous thinking at the time you receive the task and if it’s not clear go back to the originator of the task. This will go a long way to solving the problem or completing the task as the goal will be clear. The rest of the process will just be about assigning resources to getting it done in a timely fashion.
At the same time as you establish what the goal for a specific task is, work out what sort of priority you should give it. How urgent is the task and how important is it that it’s done well? This will give you a good idea about how much and when you need to apply effort to a specific task.
Get in to a work rhythm
When you start on a task, you going to have to apply serious time and effort getting yourself equated with the details of it. When you get distracted by a phone call, colleague or email, you’re going to dump some of this effort and have to start from scratch again; this is not efficient. There are two options to get round issue: one, work at a time or from a place that you’ll not get distracted; or, two, get rid of the distractions.
Make better use of enabling time
There are all sorts of things we have to do to enable our job like commuting, eating etc. Another way of achieving more is to try and make really productive use of this time. Imagine that you drive 45 minutes each way to work. You could finish an hour and a half earlier if you took a chauffeur driven sedan to the office and used this time to work. What could you do with seven and a half more hours a week?
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