“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” – Michael Altshuler
And as a pilot, therefore, you have the power to direct and utilize your present time to its fullest. Time management is one skill that everyone requires to develop in order to succeed in life. Anybody who has mastered the art of managing his own time gains the power to deliver splendid results, no matter how big the task is. And therefore, here we present top 10 skills that will help you in mastering this powerful art of time management:
10.Do it now – Stop waiting for the right time to come
“Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.” – Napoleon Hill
It happens with probably most of us, that to start any particular task we keep on waiting for the right time to come. We keep on preparing so much for activities that sometimes we lose the track of time. Or we tend to postpone the task giving various excuses. There is no doubt that preparation before any task is important. However, it is equally crucial to decide for how long you need to prepare. Therefore, developing a sense of urgency is an important aspect of time management. So, stop waiting and just do it.
9. Identify bottle necks/ constraints
Whatever task you are going to undertake, there is always a limiting factor or constraint that determines how efficiently and quickly you will complete the task. This constraint accelerates the rate of your work as well as your productivity. A key factor can be a person whose help you may require, a weakness that acts as an obstacle, or a tool that you need to accomplish your task. Once identified, work on it to get the maximum return out of the available time. However, if one doesn’t pay attention to it, the same factor becomes a bottleneck and hinders productivity.
8. Focus on one thing at a time
“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus” – Alexander Graham Bell.
There is never enough time to do everything, but there is always enough time to do the most important thing. In order to achieve anything big or small, the mind has to be trained to focus on that single important task, without getting distracted by any influences or activities. We put a lot of effort in completing too many activities in given time without prioritizing them properly, but end up getting average results. Under the pressure of strict deadlines, people suffer greater stress, make more mistakes, and have to do redo more tasks. Therefore, divide your work and attempt to complete them one by one: one task done at a time in the best possible way turns out be of highest quality which motivates us to give our best efforts in undertaking other activities as well.
7. Clarity of thoughts : Write them down.
“Writing is thinking. To write well is to think clearly. That’s why it’s so hard.” – David McCullough
Clarity of thoughts and goals decides the quality of the work that will come out eventually. The utmost reason why certain people work faster and are successful is because they are absolutely clear of what they want to achieve. Clear thought acts as a compass that direct them to achieve their goals. Vague ideas or non- clarity of thoughts doesn’t take you anywhere. The best way to get a clear picture of your thoughts is to write them: refine them if necessary and keep on reminding yourself about your goals. If you could think on paper, you could execute easily in action. The clearer you are about the objectives, the easier it becomes for you to conquer your goals and procrastination.
6. Identify and do the most critical task first
“Just begin and the mind grows heated; continue, and the task will be completed!” ― Johann Wolfgang von Goeth
Another way of prioritizing your work is to ask yourself “Which one task or activity, if I did it in timely and splendid manner, would have the greatest positive impact on my life?” There are many activities in life that can take a backseat, when you know which activity or project is going to affect your life in a significant and positive way. Often this task may be the most difficult to do. But don’t be scared: take up the challenge and just do it. Put aside all the non-critical activities till you finish the important one; once completed you can feel the difference you have made using this critical way of prioritizing. Your ability to select your most important task, to begin it and then to concentrate on it single mindedly until it is complete is the key to high levels of performance and personal productivity.
5. Be punctual
“Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.” – William Shakespeare
This list will be incomplete without the crucial aspect of time management: punctuality. This is the characteristic of completing a required task or fulfilling any requirements before deadlines. A person’s sense of commitment is directly proportional to this highly valued time management skill. And of course, punctuality is the soul of any business. The sooner you develop this habit, the better your chances of success becomes.
4. Go that extra mile
The man who does more than he is paid for will soon be paid for more than he does. – Napolean Hill
The key to be successful in today’s competitive world is to go that extra mile in whatever you do. Try to beat your own set deadlines. Set up this habit of starting a little earlier, working little harder than what you are expected to do. As you build this habit, your self-esteem rises that pushes you to take on more difficult challenges more confidently, thus preparing you for your next success.
3. Apply 80/20 rule
The 80/20 rule is one of the most productive ways of time management. It is based on Pareto’s principle which states that 80% of results come from 20% of the activities. To achieve the maximum out of your available time, 80/20 rule forms one of the most popular principles of prioritizing. This means that if you have a list of ten items to do, two of those items will turn out to be worth as much or more than the other eight items put together. The most valuable tasks you can do each day are often the hardest and most complex. But the payoff and rewards for completing these tasks efficiently can be tremendous. You save a lot of time and energy to complete the bottom 80% of work. Therefore, always ask yourself before beginning your work, “Is this task in the top 20% of my activities or in the bottom 80%?”
2. Motivate yourself.
“People often say motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing—that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar
Any difficult task takes a lot of hard work and determination to get completed on time. Often you may feel disheartened when things are not going your way or when you are not able to keep up with time constraints. But always motivate yourself: in order to achieve your peak performance levels, you have to be your own cheerleader. You have to encourage yourself every day to give your best in every activity that you undertake. A positive self-talk everyday helps to boost your self-esteem. Say to yourself positive affirmations like “I can do it”, “I have the power to achieve it” again and again, until you start believing and behaving like a successful performance orientated person. It is also very important to self-reflect and take some time off from work for yourself. Devote some time in various kinds of hobbies like reading, listening music, adventure sports or whatever that interests you most. So that when you come back to work, you are completely recharged and your productivity is at peak level.
1. Plan every day in advance
“Planning is bringing the future into the present so you can do something about it now.”- Alan Lakein
Planning before you start your day is an ability that should be cultivated as early in life as possible. The ability to plan well is a measure of your overall competence. The better you make a plan, easier it becomes for you to overcome procrastination and complete all your tasks one by one without wasting your time. In order to get the highest possible return of all your energy that you are dedicating to complete your work, planning comes as an indispensable tool. Every minute spent in planning saves as many as fifteen minutes in execution. So set aside 10-15 minutes to plan your day in the beginning, and eventually you will discover how this small investment will help you achieve better results than your expectations and save you a great deal of energy, time and resources.