5 Time Management Articles To Transform How You Manage Work
Time management articles are transformational in their power to help manage your time. Often a short, quick read, these articles can be influential, impactful and instructional to everyone. Here’s a step by step approach to time management that points you to a few other useful resources.
So you sit down to begin work. The report you plan to write is due next week.
A ping indicates an incoming email message. You read it.
There’s an interesting link in it. You click.
There’s an article about a recent development in your field. You read it.
And then, you follow the discussion around it on a popular forum.
Suddenly, with a cry of surprise, you notice the time on the clock.
Two hours have whizzed by… and you’re still distracted and browsing the Web.
Your work on the report hasn’t even started!
Hurriedly, you close other files and fire up your text editor to begin your report.
There’s a knock at the door.
Your friend walks in, a sad expression on his face, and sits down in front of you. With a sigh, you realize you’ll have to tolerate a half-hour of whining about his troubles.
An hour later, he finally leaves and you’re about to get back to the report.
Just then, your colleague calls from the office.
He’s leaving on an emergency, and you’ll have to make the important presentation at the meeting tomorrow. The files are in an email he just sent you.
Urgent things are taking control of your life.
Important things are being pushed to the back-burner.
It’s how you’ve suffered ever since you can remember.
It’s time to change all of that – starting right now. With Time Management Tao. In a way that’s stress and anxiety free.
Let’s talk about 3 simple ways to initiate this process.
Time Management Articles – Step by Step Guides
Most time management articles are prescriptive. They assume that everyone’s needs are exactly the same. They refer to a simple approach that’s universally applicable.
But you and I know that it doesn’t work that way. Your needs are unique, personal and individualistic. Your tasks and to do lists are different from mine. And your priorities are based on what matters most to your life and future.
So a universally applicable process must be infinitely adaptable. This one is. It has just 3 steps. They are simple to follow. Are you ready to begin?
1. Set Goals
Stephen Covey, author of hundreds of time management articles and one of the most famous experts on organization, stresses the importance of starting with the end in mind.
In broad categories – like health, finance and relationships – you must begin by clearly setting out your 3 or 4 biggest goals and targets.
For instance, in the ‘relationships’ category, you may list
- spending more time with your children
- make your relationship with your spouse the highest priority
- find the right balance between work and family
For each goal or target, write down a ‘mission statement’ that explicitly and clearly lays out what must happen in order to call it a ‘success’.
2. Plan Activities
Goals alone won’t take you anywhere, just like a map won’t get you to where you’re going. You’ve got to take action on the plan. So, decide on what activities will take you closer to your goals.
There are 3 steps to doing this:
- list out all the activities that are necessary
- prioritize them according to their importance
- decide to commit 80% of your time to the top priority activities
You should prepare a daily schedule that will ensure your most productive time and energy is devoted to the few activities that deliver the highest return, in terms of reaching your biggest goals.
3. Finish Up Tasks
Once you’ve set goals and planned activities, all that’s left is to knock them down, one task after another. To do that, you must follow a schedule, or a to-do list (which is often the only focus of most time management articles!)
- Schedule only activities that take you towards your goals
- Set your daily schedule at a regular time every day. Budget for it.
- Review your schedule daily, to make sure the priorities are right.
- Allow time for unexpected developments, delays and distractions.
- Evaluate your performance periodically and make suitable changes.
With an intelligently prepared to-do list that is guided by your goals and high priority activities, you can conquer even the most challenging projects with success and confidence.
3 Shocking Time Management Facts To Jolt You Into Higher Productivity
Some time management facts will astound and amaze you. Take this, for instance. It is estimated that top Fortune 500 CEOs get an average of 23 minutes of productive time in a day!
The biggest time wasters are meetings. Other things that detract from their productivity include phone calls and other distractions.
But meetings are at the top of the list of head honchos on many surveys conducted about time management facts.
How to get around this?
The solution is rather simple – and effective. Protect your productive time jealously.
Yes, it can be that easy. Guard your time furiously. Don’t answer the phone. Do not get up from your seat, if you work at a desk. Don’t let your attention wander away into sidelines… focus only on the task at hand.
Of all the time management facts, the most hard to believe is how often executives and managers waste time in meetings.
Plan your meeting agenda. Organize a schedule for how to work through it. And take a leadership role in making sure that things move along in the right sequence.
Doing this can save hours and hours for many people.
Another important component of improving your efficiency is intelligent delegation of duties.
- If you have a secretary, have your calls screened. Or else, use an answering machine or service.
- Answer the important calls on a schedule – it depends on your routine, maybe once an hour, or 3 times a day or something else.
- Meet with people only by prior appointment – and set clearly defined time limits for meetings.
- Go into meetings fully prepared with relevant information to hand – and insist that others also treat these gatherings with the same respect and importance.
Just these simple techniques, rigidly implemented, will save you hours every day.
Time Management Ideas To Improve Your Efficiency
Time management ideas can be extremely powerful in transforming your success. The right idea, when implemented effectively, can double, triple or even quadruple your efficiency – with just a simple tweak to what you’re already doing. Here are two time management ideas that you’ll find helpful.
Mind Maps On Paper
When beginning a complex project, try to ‘think on paper’.
Fill a blank sheet with random notes, often radiating out of a central theme or purpose.
As an example, for a project where the central theme is building awareness about a cause and raising funds, the steps to take might include lists of 10 to 12 items for each, and some tasks needed to be broken down into smaller parts.
There may be people to meet and ask for support with spreading the word. A list of promotional activities to carry out, announcements to write, and other trivia will fill up your time sheet.
At the end, when the paper is filled with random thoughts, you can spend an hour formulating a sequential plan.
The best time management ideas are of no use without correct implementation. But when you set out to execute a well-thought plan, you exponentially increase the chance of success with it.
This simple process will save you hours of time later down the line. If you just plunge in and start, you’ll only get stuck at various stages – and maybe forget to cover a few bases.
Select Off-Peak Times To Do Your Work
- Ever been stuck in rush-hour traffic?
- Or caught in a long queue at the check-out counter at the supermarket?
- Or waited for your turn at the popular rides in theme parks?
Not fun at all.
Plus, think of the enormous waste of precious time. That’s why you must learn to live your life ‘off-peak’.
Try and drive to work a bit earlier to beat the traffic jams. Encourage your spouse or significant other to do the bulk of your shopping around the middle of the month, when stores are less crowded.
Avoid going to amusement parks on holidays, but instead take time off during regular work hours to enjoy the peaceful, uncrowded entertainment.
There are times when you must try new time management ideas and do things during peak hours.
For instance, if your ‘friends’ or partners are known for long-winded drawn out conversations on the phone, try calling them when they are likely to be busiest – so THEY try and cut the conversation short (saving you time!)
By tailoring the timing of what you do, you’ll benefit from the ‘off-peak’ periods in multiple ways. Timing is an important tenet of the Time Management Tao philosophy.
Important Time Management Questions
There are many important time management questions you’ll ask yourself over the years you strive to improve your productivity, boost your efficiency and manage your time better.
One of the most important time management questions is “How to get everything done?”
Well, the answer is really obvious. You cannot do everything by yourself. That has been painfully clear over the years you’ve been trying. So the answer is to find the right people – and…
For years, I did things myself. Delegation was not a word in my lexicon.
There are many reasons for it. I didn’t know anyone suitable, with the necessary skills, and had no idea where to look for one. I felt comfortable doing what I did, was pretty good at it, and thought no one else could do it as well.
But at one stage, I found myself bogged down, dealing with the nitty-gritty tiny details that every major project entails. The result was I had less time to concentrate on other elements of my work and life. Surely you too have been in the same boat!
The time management questions get more complex and difficult as you progress along the journey to becoming more effective.
Some issues are related to setting up systems to let things run on auto-pilot. That can free up your time, but requires some planning and intelligent automation to put into practice.
What if you ignore these questions about time management?
You’re just struggling. Your frustration grows. And eventually, you’re forced to seek help. You may get lucky and quickly find people to help with your work. Or you may need to plod along and keep looking until you find someone.
Once you do, it’ll be amazing how by delegating just a few simple tasks you will free up so much time!
You’ll find time to focus on higher level work that’s guided by your bigger, longer term goals rather than getting bogged down in the day to day trivia that cannot be ignored or brushed under the carpet.
You’ll be free to plan a strategy, find new partners and concentrate on many other activities that will take you closer to your goals, help you reach your targets and transform your life totally.
That’s the power in facing up to those difficult time management questions and taking the trouble to figure out answers to them.
As a time management strategy, getting your ‘dream team’ in place should claim the highest priority. And asking yourself probing and insightful questions about managing time is the best first step that leads to this happy conclusion.
This is a very broad overview of the process to improving your efficiency and managing your time wisely and well.
You can read many more time management articles on other sections of this site, and learn more about Time Management Tao which is rooted in how to:
- Find your center – know WHAT to do
- Understand your order – know HOW to do it
- Pick your timing – know WHO to use & WHEN
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For a selection of some of the best time management articles from around the Web, check out these 3 powerful resources: