Time is the most precious commodity. It is the the same for anyone disregard of age, gender, nationality, etc. We all have a deposit of 86,400 seconds a day and whether we used them or not, they will be gone by the end of the day. You can’t accumulate your seconds and minutes for the next day. And when they are gone, we can’t take them back.
Therefore, we really can’t manage time but the the limitations with time, can force us to use it more wisely and that means to manage our life and work. What we can do is find better ways to spend our time, allowing us to accomplish our most important tasks and spend time with the people most important to us.
The most important step is to find when is what time in the day we are at our best. Some people are morning and some others are night people. We should not do anything but what gives us the most value and most return on those chunks of time. We need to find our priority or what is our strengths and complete them when we are most alert and productive during the day.
Students, especially, need to be very aware of what needs to be accomplished and when. They need to have a daily To Do List, a weekly and a monthly planner.
The first thing is to decide what to do with all the hours and minutes that we have during the week. We need to write the tasks, the time at school, time for out of school activities, time for necessary activities like eating and sleeping, time to do the school work, etc. on piece of paper. Then, we need to transfer them into our allocated time into the planner. For homework, we need to approximate the time that it would take us to complete each task for that day and block the time. Once everyday of the week is designed this way, we will have a great idea where and how our time will be spent.
The To Do List is great for listing the activities for the day and then prioritizing them in order of urgency and importance.
The monthly planner is needed for planning long term projects that need to be broken down into milestones. For these projects, you start from the end to the start meaning you will take note of the due date and then you move backwards to what needed to be done before the final date and so on until you get to the task at the start. You also plug in your tasks to be completed in the next months ahead in your monthly planner.
Also knowing how to set SMART goals is a must. SMART as we know stand for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and timely.
Are your goals SMART goals? For example, a general goal would be, “I want to achieve an ‘A’ in my math class.” But a specific goal would say, “I will schedule and study for one hour each day from 2pm-3pm for math in order to achieve an ‘A’.
Ensure the goals you want to accomplish in the next week, month and year are defined with SMART goal techniques. The best goals are usually created over time and through the process of more than one attempt, so spend some time completing this. So, you can always go back to your goals and modify or improve them.
Another important aspect of goal setting is accountability. Even if you have the best SMART goal and intentions, but don’t work towards completing your goal, you have not achieved anything but have created a lot of extra work for yourself planning and organizing a goal that has not been achieved. Also, check your schedules and ensure you are on track and you are accomplishing your goal of managing your time by completing your priorities and tasks at hand.
Using time wisely well comes down to two things. The first one prioritizing goals and the second is having the discipline to be able to work towards accomplishing them. We all have the same amount of time in a day, week, month and year, yet some people are better with managing their time and that is because they set their goals, prioritize them and then work on them consistently and effectively until they are complete.
Using the right systems are also very important to help us with time management. Use time sheets, planners, calendars, e-calendars, post-it notes, and whatever that you feel can help you stay on track with your time.
Avoid procrastination by using some good technics such as Five Minute Method. Tell yourself to work on an outstanding task for only five minute and at the end of that five minutes, see if you can continue a bit longer. Those five minutes will add up and you will find the momentum to finish it. Also, to avoid overwhelm, break down big projects into doable chunks and have a plan to finish them at some point in the future. As soon as you receive a big project, break it down into smaller steps and milestones and allocate time for each step and record it on your planner and start.
I hope these tips and technics will be useful to you. Have a managed life!