Basics of Time Management
"Clear Mind, Effective Action"
Personal Time Management
If you ask successful people how they achieved their status in the world, most of them would include personal time management tips somewhere in their reply. While we often find this mentioned in books on business management, very few of use realize what this same practice which helps make a business, or business executive successful, can be used by anybody.
With that in mind, let's look at a couple of questions: What exactly is time management? How can proper time management deliver the success you desire?
A Simple Definition of Personal Time Management
We can define time management in several ways. It can be viewed and discussed from a lot of different angles, but the simplest way to define personal time management is using time as efficiently as possible so as to achieve its maximum potential.
Personal time management shares some features with economics.
The objective of both is to effectively allocate scarce resources, which, in this case, is time. If done properly you can maximize the amount of work you can accomplish within a day.
While none of us can use the full 24 hours in a day to finish what we need to accomplish, the proper allocation, and use, of time is critically important.
Problems Which are the Result of Poor Time Management
Last minute cramming to meet a deadline is one of the most common indicators of poor time management. Missing or rescheduling meetings because you forgot them, or not being able to accomplish anything productive each day are also common clues to a time management problem.
All these lead to poor performance, which leads to more obstacles to personal productivity and self-esteem. This can be a circular process with one problem causing another, which causes another...and so on.
This cannot go on, and you must take action to not only break the cycle, but stop the original problems before they can set off another cycle.
Factors Which Lead to Poor Time Management
Simple overconfidence is a major factor which can lead to poor time management. Often, we take too many workloads thinking that we can manage to do them in less time or with less effort than they actually require. Overreaching in this manner only leads to inefficiency and waste of time.
As we accept, or are given, increased responsibility, our need to be realistic about abilities becomes more important. While you may need to expand your efforts to meet the needs of everyone expecting things from you, there is a limit to what you can realistically accomplish, and the effective time manager recognizes and admits his or her limitations.
If you don't know where to draw the line, or cannot bring yourself to admit a line must be drawn, problems are very likely to arise and you either have to become exponentially more efficient in meeting the demands of your work or prepare yourself for failure.
Poor time management not only results from a peerson's false notion that they can do too much within too little time, but also from their failure to foresee other factors that may affect their successful time management.
What Does Personal Time Management Allow You to Do?
Proper personal time management is the best way to improve your performance, your value to family and business, and yourself. However, becoming an efficient manager of time does not happen over night.
It's worth the effort, however, as proper time management allows you to eliminate losses, plan each day effectively, allocate time for more important tasks, learn to refuse excessive workloads, and ensure that your long-term goals are met as well as the short term ones.
Time management strategies, properly applied and practiced, will help you relieve stress and achieve success as you attend to your daily tasks. They also improve the quality of your work output on a daily basis. It is of utmost importance in the corporate world because time wasted translates into waste of money, and it is of importance in your world because time wasted can never be reclaimed.
The Personal Time Management Process
Like any other management process, personal time management must be planned, monitored, reviewed, and revised as needed on a regular basis. If you find flaws within your personal time management process, this must be immediately addressed in order to achieve maximum efficiency.
Over the Long Term
Long term objectives should be taken into consideration in a proper personal time management program. Long term objectives are often neglected due to the lack of specific deadlines and the human tendency to look at what we need to accomplish in the near future as opposed to what we hope to accomplish at a later time. The very fact that it is a future goal, there is no pressure associated with it. However, in order for your personal time management to work successfuly, you must consider your long term objectives and your day-to-day schedule and goals.
How You Get to Carnegie Hall
Remember the old joke about the violinist who was lost in New York City? He asked a beatnik (You DO remember beatniks, don't you?), "How do I get to Carnegie Hall?"
The beatnik, after spotting his violin case, replied, "Practice, man, practice!"
Just like the skills of the musician, gymnast, or salesman, to be successfully applied in your own life, personal time management methods need regular practice. Itís not realistic for you to change everything overnight, however. Phase new practices in a bit at a time, and, when you spot discrepancies in your own time management skills, make the necessary corrections and move on. Implementing an efficient personal time management system cannot be done overnight. It is going to be a long-term process of learning, practice, and gradual improvement until you have fully developed the skill of properly using your time wisely and efficiently.