The Basics of Time Management
By Donovan Baldwin*
The subject of time management can be viewed from several perspectives, but it is commonly, and most simply, understood as proper allocation of time, in order to use it optimally for the purpose of accomplishing more within that time.
While often thought of as an issue for middle and high level management of corporate entities, time management can be applied to a lot of situations, including school, work, and just about everywhere else which requires that something to get done within a certain period of time.
Time Management In Focus
With a lot of things to do in a span of 24 hours, most people have a difficult time setting their priorities and recognizing what are the things that must be done first. There are a lot of distractions in life that can take our attention away from far more important things. Eventually, most of us fail to maximize our use of time that we end up accomplishing nothing for the day. Hence, the big question is: how do you manage your time?
Time management pretty much is bound by the basic laws of economics.
Like so many other things, time management is means of allocating a scarce resource, in order to reap maximum efficiency from a person's, or organization's, efforts. However, we donít need to study economy in depth in order to efficiently manage our time.
All we really need is a bit of common sense and good sense of judgment in order to maximize everything we do and effectively make use of the time available in which to do it.
Some Things To Consider To Properly Manage Your Time
In order to effectively manage your time, there are a few things that you have to consider.
One of the first steps is to learn to do the most important, or most urgent, tasks first. This is what sets efficient and responsible people apart from those who arenít.
Knowing what things to put first, second, third, etc. will help you to overcome distractions along the way.
However, recognizing priorities is really just the first step towards effective time management.
As the old adage says, it is easier said than done.
Introducing the To-Do List
Even before you prioritize "things" one of the first actions is to list the things you have to do each day. When you already have the checklist or to-do list for the day, you have to create a mindset wherein you must fulfill them. Once you are used to this list, soon you will get used to this that you do not even have to keep listing them. Instead, youíd create a mental note for what you are set to do for the rest of the day.
By doing this simple, you will not only be able to set your priorities, but develop a sense of responsibility that will prove helpful in the long run.
Knowing what your priorities are is just a step towards a greater good.
One goal of proper time management is going to be relaxation, which, in addition to being good in itself, is also an important factor in our everyday activities. Towards this end, tne good thing to do is to initiate periodic rest times ideally 10 minutes every 2 hours in order to relax our mind and muscles from the stressful.
A study several years ago showed how regular periods of rest could actually allow a worker to do more, than one who kept working even after tired.
When I was in the army, it was standard practice to "take 10" once an hour. Of course, in basic training, the drill sergeants often said, "Take ten, expect five, get two!"
What a jolly group of guys!
Anyway, it is pretty well proven that relaxing once in a while not only improves performance, but also improves our ability to concentrate on what we are doing. Hence, a little "goofing off" can actually improve your level of productivity.
So, planning and prioritizing relieves us of stress and helps us be more relaxed about our obligations. Getting rid of stress, and providing a framework for successful activity, makes our efforts easier and yet more effective...which helps relieve stress...etc.
Advantages Of Time Management
So, as you are beginning to understand, there are a lot of advantages when we properly manage our time but we will just discuss a few and most important ones.
It eliminates cramming: When you have properly laid out your to-do list and set your priorities, you are able to finish your tasks efficiently and perhaps even early. This saves time and youíll be more likely to accomplish things in advance. This means you avoid cramming.
When you do your work earlier than usual it also follows you to achieve better results because you could allocate more time to focus on your task.
Getting things done quickly and efficiently eliminates stress. When you learn to regularly beat deadlines, there is the tendency to free up more time.
When this happens, you can improve your resting habits and thus reduce stress.
Proper Time Management helps you achieve more effective results with less effort and eliminates stress because you properly allocate your time for both work and rest.
Proper allocation of your time is not always going to be completely easy, but, once you get used to managing your time more effectively, you are sure to become more productive...and more relaxed.
*ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Donovan Baldwin is a freelance writer, accountant, truck driving instructor, food service manager, optician, and retired soldier currently living in the Dallas - Fort Worth, Texas, area. He is a University of West Florida alumnus (BA Accounting 1973) and is retired from the U. S. Army after 21 years of service.