If only I had time...

Learn the art of say­ing no to triv­ial is­sues that might eat into your day with­out pro­duc­ing much re­sult

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - Guide - - FRONT PAGE - Gauri Ch­habra

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.

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