Have you ever felt like 24 hours is too short for a day? Do you need to sacrifice your sleeping hours for your work and assignments? Yes, many of us are facing the same problem. However, inadequate sleeping decreases productivity and it becomes an endless cycle of cutting off sleeping time to work. Hence, it is very important to equip yourself with good and effective time management skills.
1. Starting from a planner
A planner is always crucial to us to step toward a good time management. No matter if it is an electronic planner in your smartphone or a paper-based planner, there is no limitation, but choose a planner that you will stick to and use it on a daily basis. Some people like to have a big calendar as their planner so they can write everything clearly on it. On the other hand, some people prefer a small planner which is easy to carry around. It is just a matter of personal preference!
2. Take 15 minutes to plan your day
It is worth to spend around 15 minutes to kick start your day. In this 15 minutes, you can think about your day, your upcoming tasks and deadlines. Never start your day without a plan because a plan is a strategy to make the best use of your time and your day since it would become less stressful but more productive and joyful.
3. Identify all your tasks that you have to do
Write down all the tasks that you have to do clearly in your planner. No matter whether it is a big or small task, related to you job or not, just write it down and make your own to-do list. Then, you can break the big tasks into smaller concrete tasks since smaller tasks are always easier to manage and complete. With all the tasks on the list, the next step definitely is prioritizing and scheduling your day.
4. Prioritize your to-do list
A list without prioritizing is like spinning your wheels without really moving forward. I believe many of us would choose the easiest and smallest task to start with and forget about the deadline since it is easier to complete and get a sense of accomplishment. But then, are these small tasks important? Are these tasks urgent? We should not do the tasks that we like but we should arrange them based on the importance and urgency.
It is the easiest and simplest approach to prioritize your tasks by differentiating into three categories.
- The most important and the most urgent
- Important but not urgent
- Neither important nor urgent
By using this ABC analysis to prioritize, you can categorize your tasks and understand which task should be done first. Once the most important tasks in category A is done, you can move to another tasks in A or even in B.
5. Avoid Procrastination
Procrastination it the biggest obstacle to step toward a good time management. You spend 15 minutes on making a good plan, but procrastination could ruin your plan. If your plan is ruined, it means your time spent on planning is wasted also. However, there are many reasons causing procrastination.
Some people are naturally lazy. Some people procrastinate because of the fear of failure or even fear of unknown. There are many excuses to procrastinate. You have to ask yourself why you not complete your tasks. This can help you understand the cause of procrastination and recognize that you are procrastinating. To tackle this problem, you should adopt you own strategies of anti-procrastination. Here is an example to overcome fear of failure:
Fear of failure?
It is totally fine if you have this fear because everyone also has fear in different circumstances. The most important issue is to admit the problem that you have as well as to admit you are a procrastinator! If you dare to admit it, congratulations, you are getting closer and closer to get rid of this issue. Next step is to understand that you can get out from this issue. There are few methods:
- Having a “Plan B”- This can help you to get more confident to get the tasks done since you have plan B
- Positive thinking – It is the best way to build your confidence and change you thought from the fear.
- Potential outcomes analysis- you will feel more comfortable to start your task because you know what you are expecting in the tasks. Also, you could set the outcomes as you goal and follow it.
Everyone has their own individual preferences toward managing and controlling time. Find the best approach to adopt your own time management. With good time management skills, you can keep yourself in balance even if you are extremely busy since planning make the best use of your time. Do remember: time flies like an arrow, be sure to be a good pilot and control it! Control you time! Control destiny!
Written by Hazel Hoi Yau Cheng