Time. It’s the great equalizer, isn’t it?
We all get the same number of hours per day, yet some people seem to accomplish so much more than others. How do they do it? What are their tricks?
Effective time management is an important skill that can be rewarding in both your professional and personal lives. Who wouldn’t want to be more productive and successful at work and spend time with family, participate in a favorite hobby, or even take more vacations? It can happen!
Here are 5 best practices that you can put to work immediately and help you manage your time more effectively:
Get comfortable saying “no”
Many of us have a difficult time saying “no” to projects and responsibilities that should have been turned down. If you have a tendency to volunteer for everything (“I can help you with that!”) or take on tasks outside of your best interests, you are not managing your time effectively. You must learn to exercise restraint and recognize when a task is better delegated to someone else or deferred altogether.
Focus on the task at hand
We live in a highly frenetic and busy world in which we are often interrupted by the phone calls, text messages, and rabbit holes of the Internet. When you are involved in a specific task, try to focus on the activity or work that you are doing without jumping from one thing to the next. Distractions cost you time and even overall satisfaction.
Set time limits
Let’s face it, some tasks don’t require as much time or level of perfection as others. Be realistic about what you are doing, and establish an appropriate time frame for the activity. Remember that not all tasks have equal importance, so allocate your precious time accordingly.
Delegate to others
Many folks who accomplish very much and make it look easy don’t actually do it all on their own. These individuals have resources to help them with non-essential tasks, and they delegate their lesser tasks to others. They are then left with the mission-critical things they are best at completing.
Create your own system
There are countless books and articles on effective time management; you can usually find them in the Business or Self-Help section of your local bookstore. At the end of the day, though, it is important to develop a system that works for you. Many such books and programs suggest you begin the day by “attacking” your most difficult task first, thereby getting it out of the way and feeling accomplished from the start. For many people, starting their day with a difficult endeavor is demotivating and leaves them exhausted. These individuals are more inspired when they tackle the day’s “easiest” tasks, giving them the drive to push onward to the next and perhaps more difficult task. They key is to figure out what works best for YOU!
Bottom line: you will find your days to be much more enjoyable if you are not always rushing and running out of time before you finish what you need to do. Don’t waste time, start now!
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