What does it take to manage one’s time effectively? Let’s break this down into terms we can easily associate with.
From Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
Effective: Producing a result that is wanted
Time: The measured or measurable period during which an action, process, or condition exists or continues
Management: The act or skill of controlling and making decisions about something
Therefore, it would make complete sense to say that Effective Time Management is to produce the result of measuring an action by using the skill of making a decision. Yet for so many this seems to remain a mystery or a goal that is regarded as hard to reach.
In reality, effective time management is quite simple if you take it in steps.
When setting your goals, make sure they are clearly defined and realistically achievable. Be sure you are applying the SMART technique to them.
When breaking down your goals into steps, make sure you realize that each step must be accomplished before moving onto the next one. By keeping these in a project management folder labeled “Goal One” with sub-titles of each step really does help. Assigning them a due date also helps you to focus on each step as well as to prioritize them.
To prioritize, you must be effective as well as efficient.
You need to decide which tasks are the most important and need to be done first and then focus on completing those before all else. Try to avoid distractions and disruptions that will interfere with the completion of your steps.
When things do not go the way you expected them to, develop a strategy to deal with the pressure and keep a positive outlook. Remember the old saying “you learn from your mistakes”? You will make mistakes and that’s okay. There will be stumbling blocks that you must hurdle over. There will be times when you might have to tweak a step in order to carry on. And, please, remember that taking breaks are part of the process that allows you to refocus and stay on track much better than if you worked ten hours straight. Just know that this is all part of the process.
A really helpful tip is to use some sort of time tracking when working on your steps (something like Toggl, RescueTime, MyMinutes, or Harvest to name a few examples of free apps available for this purpose). This will be a structured way to track not only your time on each step but a good review of goal setting, scheduling, and work-life balance in general.
To sum up effective time management, the keys to remember are:
Did you know that I offer a free course on increasing your focus which will help you with getting a better handle on time management?
The free course includes:
If you struggle with managing your time or staying focused on the must-do tasks, Pamela is your business soulmate.