Ask any leader about the resource that is in most shortage and almost all of them would unanimously say that it is time. When we know that time crunch is a big reality, then why don’t we work on it? Why does it always surprise us at the end of the day to find that we have not managed to complete all the tasks(personal or professional)? Why is it that some people are quite relaxed about this and some are very stressed out?
Procrastination and fast-action
We all know that to manage our life well, we need to manage our time well. It is a big equalizer. Irrespective of age, gender, geography, income or any other difference that we might have, it is the same for everyone. If managed well, it increases our productivity, reduces stress and improves the overall quality of life. If squandered away, then we lose out on a lot of things in life. If you are one of those people who find it difficult to manage time, then it is high time that you choose some of the strategies mentioned below to effectively and efficiently use it.
ProcrastinationVs. Fast-action: In simple words, procrastination is where a job is delayed for quite some time. Similarly, the opposite of this term is, fast-action, meaning that a job is done before the expected deadline. You might find many people in either category, but it is believed that extremes of both these behaviours are bad. In fact, there has to be a distinction between jobs that should not be hurried (creative ones) and ones which need not be delayed (repetitive ones).
We should not delay the work to such an extent that we end up doing every activity urgently. This habit is known as urgency addiction.
It is all right to procrastinate on jobs that are not creative and have some degree of a genuine urgency. However, we should not delay the work to such an extent that we end up doing every activity urgently. This habit is known as urgency addiction. On the other hand, if we do creative and thinking jobs in a hurry, we end up producing average or even below average quality work. One must understand the specific need and plan the timeline in advance.
If we do creative and thinking jobs in a hurry, we end up producing average or even below average quality work.
Time Bank - Assets vs.debts
Time assets are the decisions and the actions taken upon those decisions that you make today, which would help you save time in the future. Similarly, time debts are the decisions and actions upon those decisions that you make today, which would need an additional investment of time in the future. Most of the time, we don’t think along these lines. We just pick up an activity and try to complete it within minimum time. As a result, sometimes we have to redo a job as it does not reach the desired goal and at other times, somebody else gets a credit for the same job done in a better way. Since the goal is not achieved the first time around, your assignments/ideas are rejected, again and again, leading to a never-ending increasing spiral of time debt.
Pareto principle: Screening the important from the rest
If we don’t use our time judiciously using the above two strategies, then after a while we have a severe shortage of time, where every activity becomes urgent as well as important. A good start for time management under these circumstances would be to use Pareto’s principle. We have always known that work prioritization is an important factor for achieving results in time and we can use this principle just to filter the important and urgent assignments from the rest. The Pareto principle states that 20% of the invested input is responsible for 80% of the results obtained. This means that if we can prioritize 20% important and urgent work, we can improve upon80% of our goals.
In fact, all of us like to believe that we prioritize our work. The key lies in the criteria used. Usually, people make decisions on job prioritization based on the importance of the person asking for it or how much pressure is put on the completion doesn't always give good results. The Pareto principle would give us the maximum result if we arrange our work in order of the anticipated result or impact. Higher the anticipated impact or result, higher should be the priority.
Manage distractions: Discipline digital communications
One of the biggest distractors in today’s world is the social media. Data has become a very low cost, but it makes us spend our most of our precious time without realizing it. A good method to manage the social media distractions is to keep the data switched off on your mobile when you are working on important and/or urgent tasks. This would ensure that you don’t end up checking emails and chatting every other minute. In case somebody needs your attention urgently, they can always call you on phone.
A good method to manage the social media distractions is to keep the data switched off on your mobile when you are working on important and/or urgent tasks
The best way to manage time would be to use the above-given strategies and make a simple plan for every day. Being consistent in your approach will help you achieve whatever you want. Remember to focus on what you want and when you want it. ‘Your goals’ should be important to you and you have to make the best use of ‘your time’ to achieve them.