The Almighty Time
“Time is the most valuable coin in your life. You and you alone will determine how that coin will be spent. Be careful that you do not let other people spend it for you.”
– Carl Sandburg
Time is a great leveler! If there is one thing that is uniformly distributed across all people in this world, it is time.
Not all of us have the same opportunities, resources, training, support, encouragement, but we do have that one thing in common – 24Hrs a day! And there is so much to do every day and there simply isn’t enough time.
And naturally we are all stressed and are on a journey to identify the most optimum path. In other words, we are looking at a way to manage time effectively and use it for our advantage so that we complete our goals and move on to the next interesting ones.
Success and failure simply depends on the state of your mind. And the state of your mind depends on you. In other words, success or failure simply depends on you. In this post, we try to understand a few practical ways for time management. Do away with your traditional methods of pen and paper, we need to embrace something new for the new world order.
Here are 10 simple steps for better time management.
1) Time Management Tip 1 : Prioritizing
But turns out, we all are leading busy lives and we have to juggle a lot of things – our career, personality, finances, friendships, emotional balance and for a few the spiritual element as well. How do we manage this all?
It all comes to the priorities!
And when I say priorities, I don’t mean to say that our career comes above our time in the gym, nor am I trying to say that love comes ahead of your ambitions although that makes a certain sense.
What we are trying to do here is to identify what means the most to you and organize time accordingly. And by organization, we don’t mean one over the other, we mean to say that we are going to address each of these priorities but not at the cost of each other but with each other.
Of course there are various ways one can organize these priorities
- Based on deadlines
- Based on what matters the most to you
- Based on Ease of the project.
And each one of these methods becomes highly valid and influential depending on the type of person you are and our simplest suggestion is organize in each of these ways.
It is in a clever mix of these priorities where you can find the real answer for the questions.
2) Time Management Tip 2 : Plan
In order to do so – identify what each of these priorities mean to you and how much time you need to finish them.
a) Urgent need not mean important all the time.
You need to define what is urgent and important to you – where the odds are more and where there are bigger advantages. Make a clear segregation and place each one of them properly. Remember the bigger picture is your life!
b) Plan a lax time.
We all are humans and it is not the easiest to finish a project right on the time we promised ourselves. A famous cricketer once said – I don’t see the target score at 50 overs but I see it at 49! That way, he gets that extra over if he makes a mistake.
Build that sense of hurry within yourself, keep an advance deadline so that the final day or final hour could be used to do final polishing.
We all need to know that no matter how great we feel at the crunch time, we always end up doing a mistake, sometimes a very small and unanticipated one.
c) Make your mistakes sooner.
The trick of any business is acting upon a mistake before it happens. I know it sounds crazy, but there is a beauty in anticipation. Try and build that art in yourself, make room for mistakes.
You are not perfect, neither am I and nor is this article. But the trick to identify and move as fast as we can and make room for those mistakes in life.
And find alternatives for them. It is not about perfect planning – it all comes down to execution.
3) Time Management Tip 3 :Easy one Last?
Unfortunately – most times we end up underestimating the challenge and over estimating our capacity. Don’t hate me, I do that too :). But at some point we need to see what really is happening. The question is whether we do it or not. If you don’t then it is really amazing that you treat each of these challenges equally.
Having said that – understand how important they are. If they are very easy for you – then there might be some good news. You can combine this project with something else and finish it off so that it is one more item crossed off from your list.
There is a great joy in crossing off something from your list. Don’t do it on the computer – do it on your pen and paper, there is a great amount of satisfaction in that.
4) Time Management Tip 4 : Procrastination
Tomorrow is just like today, we have the same 24Hrs. Some say that we will do it tomorrow, when we are better and more efficient. But in order to be that efficient, you got to make those relevant mistakes. There is no way you can do great without trying and setting yourself free.
And tomorrow is not at all going to be easy, it is not going to be simple at all. It is going to be worse or if you think that it can be worse then maybe we have better motivation to work today.
5)Time Management Tip 5 : Chunking
I understand that most of the projects we are involved in are complicated and they take a little more time than a week or two. But a deadline more than 3 weeks is hard to follow up since there is no fire to push us into action.
We all respond to an immediate fear/challenge as opposed to the slow build up of a problem. This is perhaps why we all join the gym when we are 10 pounds overweight – not at the first two!
Make smaller deadlines for each of these long term projects – maybe weekly ones or maybe twice in a week. Don’t make it one per day – it becomes too taxing and too ad hoc to keep working that way. Give yourself some lead time.
6) Time Management Tip 6 : Combining
- You can combine reading a book with travel
- You can combine relaxation with gym by listening to a song
- You can combine audio book with running in the park
- Relationship with work by choosing to work with your partner on an activity.
- Spiritual and Social needs by choosing something like working with an NGO.
There are so many other ways you can combine activities to reach your own fulfillment. Try and look within – you will be amazed that there are so many things you can do together.
And if you can think of any such modes, please write to us below, we would love to update this space with your suggestions.
7) Time Management Tip 7 : Your most productive time
Identify what time of the day you are your performing best and slot that to your most important project. This time of the day should be promised to your prime priority and nothing else. It can be an urgent one or distant one – whichever rates highest in your priority list.
We all know that the time spent on hard work is not directly proportional to the result. Mere hard work doesn’t take you much far, it has to be combined with smart work. There is little result in spending 10Hrs on something which could be done in 10 mins if only it was placed properly in your schedule.
Time is the most precious thing you have and you would want to make the best use of it.
So.. look inwards a bit, know a little more about yourself and the external world will get a lot more smoother.
8)Time Management Tip 8 : Have a break!
We have already established that mere back breaking work will not take you far. You need to be smart, you need to use your resources at your best. Coming to think of it – time management is not too different from resource management.
Take dedicated breaks, refresh yourself and come back with a rejuvenation. It is not just nice, it is necessary. You don’t want to overwork the most important resource you have – your mind.
And you don’t need to fall into the challenges of stress management when you are busy with time management. Let us keep it pretty simple and separated or else things are bound to get messier.
9) Time Management Tip 9 : Working Overtime
We know the rules of accepting a project – when you accept to do something – you need to understand your capacities and promise the time accordingly.
We all are bound by a deadline and it seems imperative to work overtime sometimes. But make sure that you compensate it accordingly.
If you don’t do it, there is a great chance that you burn out and end up spending hours at the work table than actual results.
If you are a student, it is not about sitting in front of the books for 10Hrs just cos the exams are near. It is about finishing the same in 6hrs by training your concentration to be at its optimum level.
You might say it is impossible – but it all depends on how much of it you believe. It can very well be easily achievable and impossible might be just another word invented by the brain to delay the process or explain any mistakes in the project.
10) Time Management Tip 10 : The Big Picture
But at the same time, we all need to know that our lives are more important than the projects we are involved in. I do understand that the projects get to our nerves when the deadline approaches.
But the key to differentiate stress and time management is the holistic approach and knowing your priorities very well.
And your life and well being is the biggest priority of all most times. Rest of the things can really wait!
These were our top 10 tips for time management. Please do let us know your thoughts below, we would love to add a few more or remove a few which you think might be unnecessary. Or if there is any challenge that is on your mind, we would love to think out of the box to help formulate a plan for your time management.
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