Updated: Sep 18, 2020
Time is intangible. Time is a measurement created by man. Yet time seems to be the most important element in our lives.
I hear, and perhaps say sometimes as well, expressions like, “I don’t have enough time,” “I am so busy at work that I cannot spend time with my family,” and “Time flies, time goes away.”
A little analysis of what time is and what could be “time management” and we would get a common answer. Time management is nothing but Self-management. Every minute that we have, as per the clock/watch, can be either utilized or wasted. The utility or wastage depends on our perception.
For example, watching TV may be a waste of time to one person, while the other person finds it useful. Or the same activity could be useful at times, and a waste at other times.
There are certain elements in Time Management that we may want to consider.
The first element which I believe is the foundation of managing time is planning. There are too many people who jump into action without a proper plan, and they end up wasting more time covering for mistakes made due to lack of planning. Life and work has two dimensions, a short-term (like the 100 metres race) and a long-term (like the 800 metres race or even the marathon) one. The more we plan, the more we prepare and run “marathons.”
Planning takes time and patience. It may seem that we are losing time when planning, but it is better than trying to amend mistakes, which generally takes longer, or sometimes even re-start the task because of a blunder.
To-Do Lists / Calendars
These lists are extremely important. They remind us what we need to do everyday, and we can do our follow-ups on time. I have seen most people trying to maintain this list, however, many don’t as well.
Any To-Do List will have numerous activities. So we need to prioritize them. A could stand for high priority (urgent and important), B could stand for medium priority (important but not very urgent), and C could stand for low priority (important but not urgent). Of course, we also need to stop doing things which are neither urgent nor important.
Procrastination is a tendency of delaying work because one does not want to do it or does not like it. Many time we procrastinate on work which is long and takes a lot of time to do. The best strategy here is to “Break it Down.” It means breaking the long task into smaller bits, which can be done within a shorter duration. So we can set short and small targets and keep achieving them. This gives us motivation to continue with the rest of the parts. Every time we complete one part of the task, we feel we are heading closer to the final target, which we are.
This is a simple activity where we analyse how we use our time everyday and every week. Right from eating to sleeping to our work, if we can analyse in detail how much time we spend on each activity, we would know which ones to cut down, and which activities should get more of our time.
Many people realize that they spend so much time gossiping during work hours, and also smoking, that they are unable to complete their work on time. So they stretch beyond office hours, and feel that they are unable to spend time with family.
There could be many other points that we can think of. However, if we can just do these basics as suggested above, we can definitely “get more time” to do things we want rather than doing those we don’t want to do.