Time management subject is an important subject. It is not only for IT consultants, rather it is for everyone. It became a core and career skill altogether. In current rapidly running events, information, and changes, it became crucial to find a way to accommodate all of those in the same 24-hours day. This 24-hours day did not change since God made the earth. The time allowed for an old man to cope with a change spanning multiple months (hundred of years ago) is the same amount of time allowed for us now to cope with a change spanning few hours.
In this post I will go swiftly (in order to save time of reader) through time management subject. In future posts, I will discuss specific topics around time management subject.
Time Management Definition
One of best definitions I encountered of time management is the following one, i.e., I highlighted key words in the definition: “working actively to create efficiency and effectiveness in a way that makes achieving your targeted results more likely.” This definition was mentioned in a short text book The Sunday Times, Successful Time Management.
The whole time management theme and techniques are around doing what is important and ignoring what is not. If we own a time machine that travels into future, we would have the ultimate time management selections of important things. However, all techniques are trying to maximize the likelihood of importance of selected activities.
Why Time Management is A Neglected Subject
There are several reasons behind this. In the absence of proper diagnostics, anyone can think he is really doing important things. Some of us would think that small amounts of time savings are negligible and will not count. Others would think that discussions and techniques about time management are theoretical discussions cannot be put into practice. Others are not aware of the nature of current age and they did not realize the real most precious asset in his life.
How to Improve Management of Time
I would summarize few methods and techniques of improving management of time:
- You cannot improve without measuring and identification of current situation.Technique: Use of time maps in order to map your daily utilization of time. This could be simply an Excel sheet with specific identified categories (not more than 10 categories). Do not measure with more accuracy than 30 minutes units otherwise it will be a tedious task. Run this measure for at least 2 weeks to cover most of your day types, e.g., working day, week-end, etc.
- Set Clear Objectives – life without objectives is worthless. Objectives give a meaning to life and provoke your passion and effort for achieving. Technique: Use SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timed) attributes for your objectives. You need to measure your progress from time to another.
- Set Priorities – This would make you focus on important things in order. Prioritize your objectives, activities, and assignments. Technique: Use of Pareto Rule (the famous 80/ 20 rule).
- Delegation – it is an art and it is an effective tool if it is utilized properly. Technique: Develop teams around you and build their skills. This would help a lot for later delegation.
- To-do lists – it is a powerful tool for organizing activities especially when combined with priority setting. Technique: use one of free to-do tools specially those storing your data in the cloud for easy access from anywhere at anytime. I would suggest using Toodledo.
- Avoid Time Wasters – Technique: avoid ad-hoc internet surfing. Learn to say ‘No’ for unimportant tasks. Another technique is to batch and group your tasks and activities.
- Avoid procrastination – the best time to do things is “as soon”. You will never find the suitable, uninterrupted time, and long enough to complete your task.
- Learn Productivity Tips– there are a lot of good resources for tips and hints that increase efficiency and speed of day-to-day activities. I would suggest few of them as Lifehacker, Addictive Tips, and Productivity501.
- Small Time Slots Utilization – small amounts of time counts when they are accumulated. Technique: Utilize commuting time to finalize an audio book. Utilize waiting time to read a book or maintain your to-do list.
The above is an overview highly summarized discussion. You can participate with your comments, tips, and techniques about the subject.