We always sigh that we don’t have enough time in the world to do everything that we like to do. If only we could all learn how to manage our time. If you want to get more value out of your time and eventually improve your quality of life, you need to have a set of principles, skills, tools, and systems working to your advantage. Time management techniques are also well incorporated in stress management, communication skills, personal development, management skills, and even sales training.
You could start developing your time management skills by trying out the following tips/techniques/strategies:
- Create your to-do list and prioritize it. To help yourself be organized, write down the things you have to do. This would help you keep track of your tasks. Make the list work for you by focusing and spending more time on the things that need to be done right away. You could do this by arranging your tasks into categories using alphabetic (ABC) prioritization, as often taught in time management courses.
- Plan weekly. Start your week by planning your schedule. Allot 15 to 30 minutes to planning, to help you become more productive and achieve balance by prioritizing your long-term projects versus the more urgent tasks. It might also help that you carry a notebook or digital recorder with you, to record every idea or thought that suddenly hits you. This way, you would be able to know the things that really matter to you at this point.
- Don't over-commit. You run out of precious time for yourself because you don’t say no to anything that’s being asked of you. Learn to beg off when it’s a low priority request. In addition, before you say “yes,” think hard before committing to a new task, as this would prevent you from doing too much work.
- Never stop learning. When you plan, include some time to learn new things or develop your untapped talents, like taking a class, attending a training program, participating in games, or reading a good book. Doing such would increase your marketability, and eventually further your career.
- Give up. Let go of things or activities that are no longer serving your purpose. Doing so would give you more time to focus on your more worthy activities.
- Develop a better habit. Those habits that make you counterproductive, sabotage your goals, and block your way to success should be crossed out from your daily life. Do it one a time, and you will see the difference.
- Don’t be a hero. Even if you’re just plain helpful, consider that you’re making some people lazy by doing their work. Keep focusing on your tasks and goals, delegate efficiently, and teach – not help – others to accomplish their own tasks.
- Put your best foot forward – only when needed. Distinguish between tasks that deserve your very best attention versus the things that only need to be done. Exerting too much effort over a minute task would drain you and deprive you of some precious time.
The key to developing time management skills is for you not to get overwhelmed with what’s being served to you. Developing a consistent routine and eliminating distractions would eventually give you more time than you could imagine to enjoy the things you value most.