5 Practical Tips for Time Management

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Nowadays, everyone is talking about mastering time management skills, but do you really understand what time management is? And how to master it?

What is time management

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, time management is “the practice of using the time that you have available in a useful and effective way, especially in your work”. In other words, it means to complete more tasks with less time.

The definition is pretty simple and straightforward, but both of us know that a simple thing is always hard to do. Everybody says that time management is important for achieving your goals, but only few of them know how to manage their time.

Is time management really so difficult to master? Not really, and here are some tips for helping you become a master of time management.

1. Plan ahead and evaluate the result

“The most efficient way to live reasonably is every morning to make a plan of one’s day and every night to examine the results obtained.” – Alexis Carrel, French surgeon and biologist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Create a “that day” to-do list the first thing in the morning. Use 15 minutes to list out what needs to be done on that day, and stay focused on the listed tasks.

The list should always be realistic and practical. It’s meaningless to create a list that you’d never be able to get it completed. To achieve that, you’d better evaluate the list with its result at the end of every day and adjust your coming lists to ensure their workability.

Make this list be the map of your day, and you won’t get lost in the labyrinth of your busy day again.

2. Breaking big tasks into small pieces

“Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs” – Henry Ford, American industrialist and business magnate, founder of the Ford Motor Company

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when doing a big project, and once you’re defeated, your work speed may slow down or even stop, and result in a project delay.

In order to prevent such unpleasant situations from happening, you may consider breaking down the big task into small and manageable pieces, and tackling them one by one.

This action will help lower your stress level and reduce your resistance to the task. Also, it’s easier to estimate the time spent and make a plan for small tasks than a huge one.

3. Prioritize your tasks

“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.” – Stephen R. Covey, American educator, author, businessman, and keynote speaker

time management

Want to optimize your time and boost your productivity? Prioritize your tasks wisely! Put your tasks into these 4 categories, and act accordingly.

Important and Urgent Tasks: These tasks always consist of crises or problems, and require your immediate attention, so whenever a task falls into this category, do it right away.

Important but Not Urgent Tasks: These tasks are on-going activities that help achieve your goal. They usually relate to business planning, network building and personal development, which deserve most of your time. Therefore, you should think seriously about when to do these tasks and schedule your time accordingly.

Urgent but Not Important Tasks: These tasks require immediate action but are not that helpful for achieving our goals, e.g. phone calls, general inquiries, paperwork, and administrative stuff etc. People don’t understand why their businesses don’t make any progress while they’re doing tons of things every day. That’s because they’ve spent most of their time on “urgent but not important tasks”, which, in fact, they shouldn’t. The best way to tackle these tasks is to delegate to an appropriate person.

Not Urgent and Not Important Tasks: These tasks are basically distractions and time wasting activities, e.g. irrelevant emails, unproductive meetings and unnecessary work process etc. To stay productive, drop these tasks or delegate to someone else if they really need to be taken care.

4. No more multitasking

“You can do two things at once, but you can’t focus effectively on two things at once.” Gary Keller, American entrepreneur and best-selling author

Some people believe that multitasking is the way to increase efficiency and productivity, but they’re probably wrong. Some studies pointed out that multitasking actually reduces your productivity, because your brain can focus on one thing at a time only.

Doing multiple tasks simultaneously will split your attention, and make you harder to concentrate, and result in poor performance. Therefore, stop multitasking now and do just one thing at a time.

5. Schedule a break

“Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well.” Louisa May Alcott, American novelist, short story writer and poet

I know you’re busy, and you want to spend all of your time on fighting for your goals, but please remember that you’re a human being, that means your physical and mental fitness will diminish after a period of time.

Schedule a 10 minutes break for every 90 minutes of work to recharge your power, you’ll then find yourself more productive and efficient than sitting in front of your computer for 8 hours long.

“Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time”

– Jim Rohn American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker

Time management is essential for optimizing your time and productivity, so let’s put these tips into practice and be a master of time management today.

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