Time is one of the, if not the most important element in our lives. How we utilize time determines a lot about us as individuals and also directly affects our lives in many ways. Time management is a skill that is not taught to us directly in school or any other educational institute. It is still a skill that everyone should be thorough with and know about very well. To enhance these skills, here are 6 tips for effective time management.
6 Tips For Effective Time Management
The very basic stage of doing anything is to set goals. A comprehensive way of setting goals is to follow the SMART method that was developed by George Doran, Arthur Miller, and James Cunningham in the year 1981. The acronym stands for –
Specific – The goals should not be vague, as in something like ‘Complete house errands’, it is important to have a list of the specific things that need to be done. This makes remembering the tasks easy and helps in preparing for them as well.
Measurable – This point may vary from individual to individual. It states that a goal should be measurable in terms of the progress made towards it.
Achievable – These goals should be smaller in nature, and something that is achievable in no longer than 30 minutes. Setting smaller goals helps in completing them easier. For example, while studying, setting a goal for completing a chapter is much more doable as compared to completing an entire subject.
Realistic – It should have some importance to your day, as well as be something that can be physically done and accomplished. Setting a goal such as ‘Write a research paper’ will be difficult to achieve in a single day, hence it has to be broken down into parts.
Timely – They should have a set start and a set end time. This would help with avoiding procrastination and making sure all the other tasks are given the time they need.
There is always an abundant list of tasks that have to be completed daily. From these, some tasks may just not be as important and necessary to complete as the others. Hence, one should have a comprehensive priority list where all tasks are written in the order from the most to least important. This can help one understand which duties need to be fulfilled, and which tasks can wait a while.
Set a Time Limit
Each task and goal on the list or schedule should be completed in a given period. Even if there is no set schedule, it is always a good idea to have a hypothetical time in your head to complete the task. This can simply be done by keeping a reward system in place. You can set a task, complete it within a given time, and once it is done, reward system. The reward can be as little as getting yourself a small snack to eat, listening to music, taking a short walk around the house, spending time with pets, etc. This positive reinforcement can help in completing tasks faster and with more excitement.
As mentioned earlier, after every task, there should be a short reward system that should be in place. The rewards could also include taking occasional naps and just resting your mind and body. A break should be taken at least once in each two-hour working period. This helps in working efficiently and also relaxes the mind a little. Apart from that, taking weekly and monthly breaks is also important. A day off can help the mind to refresh and work better for the next week. But even during these breaks, activities should be taken up that relax the mind and body, instead of doing stressful things.
So far, everything we have covered includes structuring and organizing time. This is one of the important points in time management. Giving your entire day and week a structure is necessary as it helps you know what to do, and you end up saving time on deciding it. A schedule once put into practice becomes basic to follow through. It eventually becomes a habit. And after a while, your body automatically follows the schedule. While time organization is a must, organizing things around you physically is also necessary. Simple things such as keeping a clean room, clean desk and bag, etc. prevent the mind from getting scattered and distracted. This helps in saving time and mental and physical energy, which can be used on something that has more value. Hence, one should have a time slot for cleaning and reorganizing.
Remove Unnecessary Tasks
There is a high tendency to get tired and exhausted from the day-to-day schedule if there is a lot going on there. It can cause stress and result in hours and sometimes even days of fatigue and demotivate towards doing anything. Hence having a decent, un-scattered schedule is necessary. It is also important to remove unnecessary tasks that do not add any value to your day and replace them with more useful things or an extra break.