- Daily Zen
If you are one of those people rushing through life racing with time, then it is "time that you learned to keep time."
Time runs away from you” is an oft-repeated phrase that we have all heard. It is a euphemism for not being able to keep up with any task in a given amount of time.
If you are one of those people rushing through life racing with time, then it is “time that you learned to keep time.”
A first step would be to reflect back and think about where are you lacking in your time management. One thing is certain that there are only 24 hours in a day, and it is upon us how we decide to spend these 24 hours most efficiently and productively.
A survey by salary.com on time management had 89 percent of respondents admitting to wasting time every day at work:
A good way to start is by having a time tracking tool and seeing how much time you spend on what activity
A time tracking tool/app logs in your hours at work, your forays into social media, the chat times you have, etc.
Once you have a timetable of your activities, it will be easy to find out where you waste your time and by how much.
Once you have found out where you are spending your time doing most unproductive work, you can set about finding ways to improve.
If you are wandering into the social media morass very often, set a goal of having a detox of 3 hours.
Set an alarm and desist from visiting your Whatsapp, Facebook, Snap or Instagram accounts. Even going into your email box is taboo.
Gradually increase your time away from these distractions. The goal is to manage your time more effectively and avoid anything that adds stress to your workday.
Set aside 15 minutes in the morning to attend to emails and then desist visiting your inbox unless an urgent message crops up.
You should start each day with a list of to-do things. A better way would be to make one the previous night. List out the tasks for the day and try to prioritize the most urgent ones.
It is always better to tackle difficult tasks first. Pushing unpleasant things to later is human frailty but tackling such tasks in the first half of the morning means you spend your day stress-free.
You don’t need to finish all the listed tasks. The idea is to put down what needs to be done and handle them according to priority. Even if you manage just four tasks out of the listed 8, the sense of accomplishment will be great and give you the much-needed encouragement to continue with the list-making.
Another way to help you manage your time and what tasks to tackle is: Stephen Covey’s Four Quadrants strategy.
According to him, we can divide the various tasks into four quadrants based on their urgency and importance.
These are the four quadrants of the Time Management Matrix:
Q1: Urgent and important: Tasks involving deadlines, school assignments, urgent work emails; in short activities with direct impact.
Q2: Not Urgent but important: These are tasks that you need to do for long-term impact. Networking, sending enquiry emails or making potential sales call fall int his category.
Q3: Urgent but not important: these are activities that crop up suddenly that, for the moment, may seem important but have no lasting value. An unscheduled meeting to chalk out some procedural matter. It might be urgent for the overall running but is not important for you, and you can afford to miss it and catch up later via the minutes.
Q4: Not urgent and not important: These are tasks that fall into no value or productivity category. Time spent gossiping, oar scrolling through mindless YouTube videos.
If you have a routine to your day, you are less likely to procrastinate or dawdle. A routine means you have a set task and time for your day. It helps you stay focused and organized.
Often times we are sitting waiting outside a dentist’s or a doctor’s clinic or awaiting an appointment with a government official or a company executive. One can utilize this time to catch up with emails, read up some work-related material or an article of interest. Use this time as a catch-up activity time. You decide whether it is work related or stress-busting-related.