Saturday, September 24, 2011

A dozen secrets for better Time Management

If you squander your time, you waste your life; as it is the stuff life is made of. – Albert Einstein

Here are a dozen secrets to manage your time/life better:
1. Have Goals: Goals are often the axle around which the wheel of life turns. Without goals there is no motivation to manage time more efficiently. Have SMART goals and write them down. Writing goals brings clarity. It gives you focus and helps utilizing time in the direction of your goals.

2. Prepare Covey Time Management Matrix: Prepare your own Stephen Covey Time Management Matrix and try to eliminate time spent in Q4, minimize Q1 & Q3 and maximize time spent in Q2. All the great people of the world spend time in Q2 which is not urgent but important for long term success.

3. Increase your time awareness: Better awareness leads to better choices and with better choices, you reap better results. Get to know where the time is going? Get aware of every minute of your 24 hours and plan your day. Remember, failing to plan is actually planning to fail; so plan your work and be organized.   

4. Make Time Table: In school/college, we used to study 6 subjects in just 5 hours of time and not only this; we found time for sports / library / internet too. This is the magic of Time Table. Just imagine a college without time table – it won’t really be a college then. Prepare your own time table now which incorporates your job, rest, recreational activities and spending time with your family – and yes, do not contaminate your family time by television. You might not be able to follow this in first time but keep on trying to stick to it until you succeed. It helps. At least schedule few major and more important activities and take them on priority.

5. Prioritize your tasks and learn to say no to time wasters: Most important things should never be sacrificed on the cost least important ones.

6. Utilize bigger chunks of time: 2 to 3 hours in the morning (which people waste in sleeping till late) and 2 to 3 hours every evening (which people waste by being a couch potato and draining the energy to idiot box/TV), 48 hours on weekend. Learn to utilize these big chunks of time in the things which really matter to you most.

7. Use Transition Time: Use transition time like your lunch break, commuting time or waiting time. I would suggest never leave your place without a book in your hand. I have found out that if we use smaller chunks of time (waiting time); we can read 25 pages every day which equals to 750 pages a month and this means 36 books (considering 250 pages in each book) in a year with no extra time. I know a friend, he listens a dozen audio books every month while commuting in his car.

8. Use aides: Use tools like post-it notes, to do lists, calendar, diary, reminders etc. Start using ‘Things to do’ lists and ‘Things not to do lists’ as well. Not doing unproductive things is equally important as doing productive things.  

9. Wake up early: You can get 7 hours extra a week by getting up one hour early every morning. Believe me this one hour can be very productive and has potential to become most supportive habit to realize your dreams. In this extra quiet hour you can plan your day, go for jogging or read something motivational. Reading great books in the morning gives me hope of better life and enthusiasm to my actions.

10.    Be Punctual: ‘Punctuality is the politeness of kings’, said the king of France. Being punctual alone will develop your reputation as intelligent, dependable, valuable, reliable, hard working and mature person while not being punctual will do exactly opposite for you. If you are punctual then you get habitual for completing things on time and this will make you effective and efficient in Time Manager.

11.    Learn to say NO: Say no to every activity which does not help you in reaching to your goal. Please do not get me wrong, refueling is must. You must do recreational things which boost your vigor and improve performance.

12.    Review: Never take anything for granted. Once you decide to become a great time manager, do some mid-term reviews to find if you are on track? If you are off track, immediately get back and get going. Review and evaluate yourself on all the above discussed points.

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