Time Management Techniques To Effectively Work In a Warp-Speed, Multi-Tasking, Lightning-Fast World
Time management techniques are easy to find, but difficult to learn. Picking the most effective time management methods and implementing them in a disciplined manner can transform your success, at work and in personal life. This list of 10 proven tips and techniques can become a good starting point.
How we wish we were taught good time management techniques at school!
Most of what we learn about managing time more effectively comes from hard knocks as we grow up and grow wiser.
In a world that’s speeding along and getting faster by the minute, you must be able to organize the deluge of information that’s coming, and put it to use efficiently. If procrastination or lack of proper goals holds you back, you’ll pay a heavy price.
Knowing and using effective time management techniques can be the skill that differentiates you from everyone else at work.
When you handle even large workloads with efficiency and style, your career will take off. But when you learn how to balance this skill with other elements that keep you in harmony with all facets of your life, you will become truly enlightened.
Here are 10 techniques that will help you manage time better.
1. Strive For An Empty Email Inbox
Email is both a boon and a curse. We all spend a lot of time dealing with email. Only few of us do it efficiently and well. Keeping your email inbox as close to empty as possible is a learned skill, one that’s critical to your time management expertise.
- Touch email only once.
- Read it, decide upon it, and act.
- If it needs a reply, answer.
- When you need it for later reference, file it.
- If it needs further thinking over, move it to a folder.
One touch – and only one – will save you hours every month in wasteful effort.
2. Focus On One Thing Only
We’ve all been fed the KoolAid of ‘multi-tasking’.
But the reality is that juggling multiple tasks at once is wasteful and lowers your productivity.
Stop doing it. Be aware of whatever you are doing, and concentrate fully on it – until the task is done.
Then, move on to the next item on your list and deal with it in the same way, until that too is done.
Rinse and repeat.
You’ll breeze through your list quicker than when you try and do many things at the same time.
3. Prioritize Your To-Do List
Tempting as it may be, hurrying to finish the most urgent or pressing tasks is a losing strategy.
You’ll spend the most productive part of your day fighting fires, only to discover, after much time has flown, that your most important things remain undone.
So complete the most important tasks first.
Prioritize your list of things to do, and start with the one that has the biggest impact on your overall goals.
Try and focus an hour or two on this task at the beginning of your work day, and leave the less important stuff for later. This is among the most effective time management techniques you’ll adopt.
4. Avoid Distractions
- Do you keep checking email every 15 minutes?
- Or firing up Twitter to catch up on tweets?
- Or drop by Facebook to share some gossip with friends?
It’s costing you – dearly.
Although we live in a 24/7 culture online, there is absolutely no necessity to remain ‘hooked to the grid’ all day long.
While others may expect an immediate response to their posts, tweets or emails, you are not obligated to cater to these whims. Be consistent in how soon you respond, but don’t strive for immediacy at the cost of postponing your important work.
The Ming Vase Time Management guide on “How To Focus” digs deeper into systems to improve concentration and focus so that you get things done more effectively.
5. Get Organized
Using ‘dashboards’ or quick reference lists can shave precious minutes from your daily routine.
Having a set of frequently used Web links, passwords, and other data jotted down in an easy-to-reach place can work better than post-it notes scattered all around.
Time saved on searching is time that can be devoted to being more productive.
6. Listen To Your Body
All of us have biological rhythms and unique work habits. You may be most productive early in the morning. Or you may discover you are most creative in the afternoon. Maybe you’re a ‘night owl’ who works best when the world is asleep.
No matter what your unique routine is, you will benefit from time management techniques that schedule major projects for your period of highest productivity.
7. Streamline and Simplify
Do you handle many repetitive tasks?
On a computer, do you run similar routines several times a day?
If you do, learning simple scripting to execute macros or hotkeys can save precious seconds each time – and this adds up to significant time savings over the course of months or years.
Simplifying a task that takes multiple steps, and cutting them down by even 10%, can have a similar effect over time.
8. Beat Procrastination
It’s hardest to begin work. Once you get going, the momentum will carry you along.
So break down a bigger project into smaller pieces – and get started on one. As it gets done, you’ll gather steam and be more energized to begin working on the next.
9. Claim Your Freedom
Yes, being efficient is good. But getting stressed out about delays is bad.
You have control. Take advantage of this power.
Don’t obsess over delays or falling behind schedule. Don’t let someone else’s priorities interfere with your completion of important work.
Poor time managers respond to every external stimulus and distraction. Good ones know that they must call the shots if their dreams are to come true.
These time management techniques may sound simple and obvious. But they are powerful and effective. Try them out and watch as they transform your work and your life, bringing greater harmony and peace into it.
The techniques are rooted in the 3 Time Management Tao principles:
- Find your center – know WHAT to do
- Understand your order – know HOW to do it
- Pick your timing – know WHO to use & WHEN
You’ll learn more about them in other sections of the site, and can receive updates about time management techniques by email when you sign up to our free “Time Taozine” by submitting the form (click the banner below).
4 Time Management Strategies That Actually Work
Easy, Powerful Principles To Boost Effectiveness For Students & Working People – Instantly
Time management strategies are necessary to improve your effectiveness at study or work. By learning how to implement a 4-part strategy to managing your time, you will miraculously find 3 extra hours or more in your over-crowded day, and stay on top of your work-load almost effortlessly. Better still, you will take the stress-free route to achieving all your goals and targets.
The most complicated time management strategies begin with these simple steps.
1. Create Your Schedule
Depending upon your nature of work and your unique time management needs, your schedule may be for a semester (if you’re a college student), or a year (if you’re setting targets for a financial/budget year), or a decade (if you’re planning a personal time management system).
This is your bird’s eye view of the future, where you outline your targets and paint a picture of how you want things to be at the end.
In this schedule, you must be sure to include all the components of your future goals, so that you won’t miss anything. If you do, the balance and harmony that you strive to achieve through effective time management strategies will be altered.
So, if you’re a student, be sure to record all known assignments, projects, and papers that are due over the course of your semester.
If you’re in sales, chalk out your travel schedule, meetings, performance reviews and training programs.
Don’t forget social engagements, family activities, hobbies and other fun elements of your life.
2. Develop Your Weekly Plan
Every week, as you go through the list you just made, develop a plan for the next 7 days.
- What tasks do you have to complete in the week ahead?
- How much time do you have for each? Will it be enough?
- Have you budgeted time for daily living activities?
- On which day will you carry out each task?
Knowing the answers to these questions will help you make meaningful lists.
When you’re not sure how long a particular activity will take, be conservative in your time allocation. If you finish it earlier than expected, you’ve got extra time on your hands.
As far as time management strategies go, that’s far better than having to complete a 7 hour job – and only have 2 hours available for it!
3. Draw Up The Day’s List
Each morning, quickly review the weekly list you just compiled.
Pull out the work that’s to be done today, and list it. It must be in a handy planner, mobile device, or even a sheet of paper or index card, so that you can carry it around with you and tick off each task as it’s finished.
Before setting out to work on them, though, prioritize them in order of importance. A simple, yet effective method is to give each item on your daily list a tag – A, B, or C.
- A’s are most important and you must finish them that day.
- B’s are the next most important, and you have to deal with them next.
- C’s are optional, and you can only tackle them after finishing the A’s and B’s.
4. Measure & Improve
The best time management strategies are ones that constantly evolve and grow better as you use them. So get into the habit of evaluating your progress.
Each evening, evaluate your daily schedule.
- Did you finish all the work? If not, why?
- Was your scheduling practical and realistic?
- How accurately did you estimate time to finish up these tasks?
- Is your priority setting correct?
If anything isn’t working as you expected, make changes and tweaks to your process.
- Prioritize better. Remove items that aren’t important enough.
- Set your time estimates more accurately.
- Leave some time for unexpected delays and interruptions, so that you can make up for lost time.
These time management strategies will ensure that you minimize waste, finish important tasks, and most importantly, avoid becoming stressed and anxious as you go through your productive day.
3 Vital Ingredients For Winning Time Management Systems
Why Old, Generic, Efficiency Driven Methods Failed – And The Future of Time Management Systems Is Promising
Time management systems that are personalized, aligned with your true purpose in life, and enhance your efficiency are the only ones destined to deliver on a promise of lower stress and greater delight. The others are a relic of the past, fit only to be consigned to the garbage dump of time management history!
Time management systems have ruled the lives of corporate wage slaves for centuries. More recently, they have gradually encroached on the existence of everyone else – including you and me.
But despite their ubiquitous presence and constant evolution, not many time management systems have worked well to increase satisfaction, reduce stress or enhance time utility effectively.
What’s the reason for this dismal failure?
Your Life Can’t Be Easily Categorized!
Listen to any time management video or training program, and you’ll hear about how all the events in your life can nicely fit into 3, 4 or 5 generic categories.
Go back home (or to the office) and try to put that lesson into practice, and you’ll realize just how impractical it is!
Your life, like mine, is too rich, varied and exciting to be compartmentalized.
And the important and special components of it are even harder to group in a general fashion. Your most boring chore may be what I live for.
That’s one of the biggest failings of existing systems that teach you how to manage time better.
Why Most Time Management Systems Failed
Most methods of learning time management are based on a prescriptive approach of drawing up to-do lists and ordering them by importance before getting them done. This is an elegant and simple method, one that should work wonders in everyone’s life.
But the reality is that even when we follow popular time management lessons to the letter, our day isn’t any less rushed, our stress levels aren’t any lower, and our sense of fulfilment at the end of the day isn’t any higher.
And at the core of this failure is the simple, yet often overlooked fact that the things you put on your to-do list and then set priorities on are hardly ever of your own choice.
Usually they are tasks and chores that devolve upon you from someone else.
- Your boss, your co-workers, and your employees.
- Your family, your friends, and your community.
- And your club, your religious associations and many more external groups.
All impose their needs and requirements upon your limited time.
You learn from time management powerpoints how to prioritize and finish tasks. But…
Time Management Systems Are NOT For Others
They are for YOU!
These systems should focus first on making you happier – by taking you closer to your goals, getting your personal to-do list done, achieving your unique targets and purpose.
That’s where the majority of conventional time management systems dropped the ball. Any system that remains viable into the future must overcome this fatal weakness and embrace these 3 principles:
Time Management Techniques #1:
The only way a system to manage time can be pertinent and relevant to you is if you can design (or adapt) it to your uniqueness.
It should be flexible and free-flowing enough to embrace the elements of your life and dreams that matter most – to YOU.
That’s why Time Management Tao begins with finding the center, the things of greatest importance to you.
Time Management Techniques #2:
Famous effectiveness coach Stephen Covey tells the story of a man who spent a lot of effort climbing up a tall tree, only to look around when he reached the top – to discover that he was in the wrong forest!
Many of us blindly follow efficiency systems without realizing they may not guide us in the right direction.
A great time management system must help you set course first, before showing you how to navigate more efficiently.
Time Management Techniques #3:
In the ultimate analysis, no winning system can be lacking in efficiency training.
But most time managing systems already do a fine job of teaching efficiency. It’s the combination with the other 2 factors that combine in creating the ultimate time management systems.
On this site, and in the Ming Vase Time Management series of guides, you will find this emphasis on showing you how to manage time in a unique, individual, and personalized way.
A way that aligns with your highest held values and deep, meaningful purpose.
You will find yourself setting goals that are relevant to you, and executing them effortlessly, fuelled by the passion and energy that comes from living a purposeful life.
That’s the Tao (or Way) to stress-free time management.
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