If only I had time...
Learn the art of saying no to trivial issues that might eat into your day without producing much result
If only I had the time... how many times have we told ourselves these...after exams, after job interviews, after appraisal meetings? This time I will...this happens every New Year and by February or as time snuggles into March all our resolutions wane, some of them as fanciful as a lost April love story. Time management is like budget planning every year, an attempt to dole out lollies to everyone from the aam admi to the neta, we tell ourselves; this time I will devote more time to my family, kids' job... to fizzle it within no time. Is there any way out of this bubble?
A dive into the depths of time shows that all successful people in this world have respected one thing - Time and Tide.
Here are a few truths about managing time effectively:
You have to spend time in order to save time
In case you are the one always trying to play catch up with time, take the time to break down your tasks into smaller bits, assign deadlines and delegate, if possible. This can sometimes take hours to accomplish for a complicated task, hours that some feel might be better spent doing the actual task at hand. However, the time spend breaking down tasks into smaller pieces will not only take some of the pressure off you it will help you see that accomplishing your goals is much more realistic than you might otherwise think.
You have to work backwards to move forward
Cricket, the religion that binds every community in India bears testimony to the fact that Indian team has always increased its probability of winning while chasing a score rather than while setting a score. This analogy works very well in understanding time management. If you know that some task is to be done by a particular day or date always starts working backwards. Once the high level priorities are set, there is a need to take all those decomposed tasks in a forward stride. If you just start moving forward you might lose track of time and things may slip through the cracks.
You have to work today for a better tomorrow
The biggest impediments to success in our jobs are procrastination and wasted time. The way to tame both of these time-goblins is to begin each workday with a time management plan. Like putting a journal entry into a day book see to it that you complete all the tasks you had set out to do. Tomorrow will be a fresh day with its fresh challenges waiting - it is better to wrap up everything before the end of the day.
You have to say Yes to No
For all those who feel that they can do everything they set their eyes on, you need to build a faculty in your mind where there is a yesan affirmation to the belief that you have to say no to certain tasks- even when they come from your bosses. All you need to learn is the art of saying no to trivial issues that might eat into your day without producing much result. Instead put your food where your mouth is- concentrated on tasks that are meaningful.
What can you do when your boss gives you more work than you can complete on time? It's better to turn down an assignment than fail to complete it.
You have to plan ahead to stay ahead
An analysis of the tasks that we keep doing whether in our jobs or at school or college are we spending our time fire fighting. Getting up in time is a fire fight, getting ready for office is another fight, fighting the traffic is another fight, the pile of incomplete work at bay is not a fight it is a battle- most of our battles are those that we fight within ourselvesand the enemy is time. Is there a way to put an end to this perennial fight?
Plan ahead. Start with a simple to do list, prioritising your tasks. Keep what has to be completed today at the top and longer projects and future projects at the bottom.
Next, schedule the events of your day from start to finish. As well as phone calls you must make, meetings you must attend and errands you must run, schedule routine activities like filing paper files and checking e-mail. In addition, schedule your breaks. Knowing that you can rest at a specific time gives you something to work towards and actually can help keep your mind off the clock!
Work your prioritised tasks into your schedule or alternatively schedule blocks of time to whittle down your to do list. As you work through your list, just because something is rated 2, doesn't mean that you have to do it second. Alternate activities you enjoy with those that are less enjoyable. Mix short jobs with longer jobs. Remember to add extra minutes to each activity, long or short, difficult or easy, to give you time to cope with interruptions.
You have to spare time, for spare time
In this mayhem of race against time always spare some time to take a break from the humdrum of activities and do something that you enjoy the most. Reading the newspaper, playing your favourite game, listening to the old time favourite song of yours. Never say I don't have the time. Stealing moments to yourself would increase your productivity manifold. No matter what type of work you do, you can have a hand in making your workday more satisfying when you learn and use some time management techniques. Time management techniques show you the way, what they fail to do is to tell you is to persevere... to strike a balance between the clock and the compassto quote Stephen Covey focus on first things first.