In order to competently manage your time, it is not at all necessary to own a time machine, but it is worth getting acquainted with the rules for distributing forces by seconds. Especially for those for whom the words “time is money” are not an empty phrase, but a life motto. If you are one of them, then it is vital for you to master at least elementary time management skills.
What it is?
Time management in literal translation from English is “time management”. This does not mean that, having mastered this art, you will be able to move into the past or the future. The main function of time management is to make every minute of life effective. And it’s not just about work, it’s a whole system that adds up the numerous elements of our lives. In simple terms, time management determines our schedule for the day, week, month, or even year.
Do not think that this definition and concept is used only in business. Housewives also often do not have enough time to do all the household chores. And often this happens not at all because they do not have enough strength, they simply distribute time and effort incorrectly.
The main characteristic of time management is the right approach not only to the time itself, but also to how we spend it at home, at work and even on vacation.
First of all, time management is used to increase the personal effectiveness of each individual employee at his workplace and, as a result, to increase the productivity of the entire organization, whether it is a high-tech machine tool factory or a beauty salon. In order to correctly choose the type of time management that will be used by one or another individual, you must first study not only his personal goals and objectives, but also personal qualities, the square of goals and even biorhythms.
If all human resources are correctly calculated, then any, even the busiest and most in-demand specialist, will always have enough time both for work and for rest.
Once again, we will make a reservation — competent time management is useful not only in a career, but also in a family.
The basic principles of time management are to properly distribute the load on yourself and time. It is necessary to highlight the main tasks and get rid of the «time wasters». Among its absorbers are communication on the Internet or in the office that means nothing to you, viewing unnecessary news or promotional mailings that come to your mail or in the form of SMS, numerous smoke breaks or tea breaks, and so on.
Before you get your schedule right, you need to prioritize. The author of one of the most famous and effective methods for this is the 34th President of the United States of America, Dwight Eisenhower. The point is the following. Divide all planned tasks into 4 parts:
- urgent and important;
- urgent but not important;
- important but not urgent;
- non-urgent and unimportant.
Make a table in this order and proceed with the execution of the intended. Your task is to set a general goal for yourself, and then create a tree of your own goals. In time management, this process is also called goal setting.
Choosing more valuable
First, let’s separate the wheat from the chaff and highlight what we really need. Do you really have to go shopping with your girlfriend tomorrow to help her choose a birthday present for her mom? Maybe she can easily cope with this mission on her own? You will spend this time on something that is really worth your effort. BUT remember how many hours you spent on meaningless conversations with the same girlfriend on the phone, and now imagine how much you could have done during this time.
And how many hours a day do you spend looking at photos of people you know on social networks? But this is not only your precious time, but also emotions that can be used much more effectively. The same applies to «sitting» at the layout of solitaire and other «exciting» entertainment.
«Take down» from the computer everything that distracts you from the general idea and get down to business.
It is impossible to embrace the immensity and in order not to become depressed about the fact that you always have time for nothing, do not overestimate the bar initially. Include in the plan exactly as much as is realistic to implement and always leave a little time in reserveso that when faced with unexpected obstacles or urgently arising problems, they have time to cope with both.
Put things in order in your head, and then time will flow much more slowly than it seems to you now.
Set the right goals
Before embarking on a particular task, decide on the goal that you are pursuing. Why do you need to wipe your desktop for the fifth time in a week? Are you a supporter of perfect cleanliness? Is this true or do you just want to take your mind off things with a damp cloth? Why did you pour tea for the tenth time in a day, did you really want to drink it, or were you distracted from the main tasks in this way?
Another nuance that needs to be taken into account in order to achieve the goal on time is not to overestimate it. Understand why you are taking on a large project. What do you want to achieve — money, fame, honor among colleagues or promotion. Only by understanding what is the true goal, you will be able to 100% motivate yourself and get to work without being distracted by extraneous things.
Tap into the power of success
Use every victory as fuel for the way forward. Give yourself “grades” or hang “medals”. If you closed a project on time or did it ahead of schedule — do not immediately take on the next one, enjoy the “finishing” moment, remember these feelings and only then move on. Remember to reward yourself for a job well done.
Thank yourself with a trip to a beauty salon, a massage, a dinner at a restaurant, or at least buy a chocolate bar (or an exotic fruit if you stick to the basics of healthy lifestyle).
Multitasking is evil
Don’t grab on to everything. You don’t have ten arms, and you only have one head. Having taken up several things at the same time, you run the risk of not completing any of them, at least, it will definitely not be possible to do it qualitatively. It’s like learning a poem by heart and solving a physics problem at the same time. Which, you see, is unrealistic. The same is true at work.
But in the household, to save time and effort, some things can be combined. After all, while potatoes are being boiled or eggs for salad are being cooled, it is quite possible to wipe the dust from the windowsill or vacuum the floor in the kitchen, for example.
To save time and effort, get yourself the maximum number of modern assistants. The same robot vacuum cleaner in a year will save not even hours, but days of your life. And if you add a dishwasher to it and a couple of other useful devices in the household, then you will free up weeks, or even months.
Don’t let your business go by itself. Make a daily work plan. Ideally, this should be done the night before. When scheduling the next day, do not forget that a force majeure situation may arise at any time. You will need to take the mother to the hospital or pick up the child from school early. Always leave yourself time for such «unforeseen expenses.» If it is not required for these needs, spend it on additional classes.
Another important point. Be sure to take time to rest. Breaks are simply necessary. Pauses for light exercises, a lunch break, and even a call to a child should also be included in your schedule.
In addition, it must be compiled considering own biorhythms. If you are a «lark», then set the most difficult tasks at the beginning of the day, and leave the second half of it for things that require the least physical, mental and moral effort. If you are a “night owl”, and your head starts to work only closer to dinner, then do the simplest tasks in the morning, make important decisions when your body is filled with vital energy.
And don’t overcrowd your schedule, don’t take on too much workload. Leave there only what you can do and what is really important to you.
Eliminate dead investments
The word «investment» most often means financial investments. Will you invest in something that will never bring you income? No one will give a single ruble to the plant, which was destroyed yesterday, because it is a dead investment. The same is true with time. Stop putting it where it flies, like a pipe. Another talk show with an intriguing topic has started on TV, immediately turn off the screen. Ask yourself why do you need this information? Just? So why waste your precious time on this?
A friend called and once again began to talk about her husband, a klutz? End the conversation quickly, and advise your friend to contact a psychologist or register on a dating site.
Do not spray yourself and your life on trifles. Walk towards your goal in a direct way, without turning into the winding paths of unnecessary conversations.
If you follow all the above rules, and you still don’t have enough time, try using one of the techniques that have been developed at various times by both time management specialists and “random” people. One of the most common techniques all over the world is the Pomodoro technique. It was invented by an ordinary Italian student who always did not have time to prepare for exams.
One day he decided to take control of himself and his time. To do this, I used the most common kitchen tool — a timer in the form of a tomato (hence the name of a simple technology). He set a timer for 25 minutes and during that time he was only studying. What was his surprise, because literally immediately he had enough time to prepare. Try to do the same.
Set a timer (alarm clock) for a specific time during which you perform only one specific task. Neither a phone call, nor an email notification of a new letter, nor anything else should distract you from this task. Very soon you will feel that you are moving towards your goal much faster than before.
By the way, now there are special applications for smartphones that are created for followers of the Italian student’s idea.
Feel like a cheese maker using another popular time management method called «Swiss Cheese». It is used in the event that they cannot proceed with the implementation of a large project in any way. In this case, it is proposed to present this very project in the form of a square piece of cheese and start preparing Swiss cheese from it with many large holes. Each hole is a specific task that must be completed in order to get the final result.
If you don’t know where to start from, climb into the first “hole” that comes across at random. Make the minimum effort and then everything will go like clockwork. The only condition — do not quit what you started. Let what has been done seem like a very small part of what was conceived, but proceed to any stage only when you determine for sure that you can do it “in one sitting”. Otherwise, instead of many holes in your cheese, you will get one big hole, similar to an abyss, where both time and energy will fall through.
Strictly follow the deadline rule. The term came to us from America. Literally translated, it means «dead line». It is believed that this was originally the name of the line in the prison, crossing which the prisoner was immediately killed. In places not so remote, such methods have not been used for a long time, but in the business environment it has become very widespread. In the modern world, a deadline is a line in time space that cannot be crossed in any way.
This technology is especially popular among those who work remotely. There is no one to «fit» them, so you need to set limits for yourself. It is also often used for people of creative professions — journalists or advertisers. However, the deadline also has an intermediate stage — redline (translated as «red line»). This is the time when you need to hand over the rough work — the remaining time is needed to correct errors, refinements, and make amendments that the customer can make.
Sometimes we just can’t get started on the task at hand just because it seems to us unbearable, like an elephant. To make your work easier, divide a large volume into small pieces. Start small.
For example, you need to do a general cleaning of a country house or its repair. Both of these sound ominous. What if we break the process down into smaller steps? Make a table where at the top there will be repairs (general cleaning), and then sub-items: windows, doors, floors, furniture, and so on. Agree, so the work no longer seems too complicated. Therefore, do not make an elephant out of a fly.
Divine method «Kairos». The ancient Greeks considered Kairos the god of a happy moment. Experts in the field of time management have decided that modern man is on the same path with him. The essence of the method is to avoid spending separate time on something that can be combined with other things. For example, you need to buy a gift for your mother on March 8th. Decide where you want to do it and see if you have other things to do in that area of the city in the near future.
You may be able to combine 3 or 4 goals at once in one place (go to the bank to replenish your account, buy a new book, and so on). The same goes for business meetings. Before you go to negotiations, formulate all the questions and suggestions that you have accumulated to the interlocutor. It is possible that a phone call or a meeting at lunchtime is enough to solve them. And don’t forget to see if you have other things to do where you’re going.
By the way, smartphone application developers have created a special program that helps to use this method more efficiently. You just fill in your plans there, and the application will show what can be done with the least loss of time by combining your ideas into one system of geographical and hourly coordinates.
How to learn?
You can try to use all the tips that we have given in this article, but first you should do the simplest exercises. For example, make it a rule not to reset your alarm once it has rung. In 5 or even 10 minutes you will not sleep, but you may well be late for work, after which you will experience a lack of time throughout the day, and you are unlikely to be able to do everything.
By and large, there are no special secrets in how to save time. Here are just a few more suggestions.
- Use the skills of your colleagues or household members. Share your work with them — delegate authority. A junior research assistant will surely help you with pleasure, and a husband (son, daughter) will be able to cope with elementary household chores, such as taking out the trash or buying bread.
- If you decide to make time management a lifestyle, it is better to be trained at a special seminar or invite a specialist in this field to the company so that he optimizes the workflow.
As a bonus for reading this article, here’s another life hack for you. At least once a month, or better yet weekly, arrange a “clean day” for yourself, which you should spend without a phone, email or instant messengers. This is a labor feat with short breaks for a respite, during which you have to “clean up” all your affairs, if suddenly you didn’t have enough time for something during the week (month).
But if you begin to use at least part of the above rules, then time will always be under your control, and you will never have a desire to turn it back.