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How can I Manage My Time Better?

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Posted 25 January 2013 by Chris FarmerChris Farmer

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You may find the following will help with the development of your time management skills training.

How can I manage my time better?

Many people ask the question, "How can I manage my time?" "How can I become better at time management?".

It is important to be a good time manager, because we are all bound by a constraint that none of us can change: There are only 24 hours in a day.

Sometimes, you wish that there were more, and that this day would continue on, forever. Other times you wish that there were fewer hours, and that this day was over much sooner.

But the clock ticks relentlessly onward, at a rate of one second, per second. And we are obliged to fit everything that we need to do, into the limited time that is allotted to us. Time waits for no man!

So, how can you better manage your time?

Here are the steps:

1. Work to a written list.

All good time managers work to written lists. All good time managers make a written note of tasks, as they come to mind. That note quickly grows into a very long list. Soon, you find that you have 28 items on your to-do list. You don't have time to do them all today, so now you must now prioritise from the original 28 items and calculate the most valuable use of your time.

2. Identify the most valuable use of your time, and focus on that, to the exclusion of all else!

Everything has a specific value, to you. Not everything has the same value. You must therefore, refine your capacity to allocate a definite value to each task. Score the task items, on your list, out of 100, for their task-value.

  • 100 = top task value.
  • 01 = very low task value.

Then, focus your attention only on those tasks that score the highest.

Slash the time spent on low scoring items.

If you did this one thing, well and consistently, then you will transform your productivity.

3. Judge task-value by thinking about the long-term consequences of doing (or failing to do) the task and do NOT judge the task-value by how much pleasure you derive from doing (or avoiding) the task.

Here is the truth. Many things you like doing are not good for you, or your organisation.

Many things you don't like doing are, indeed, good for you, and your organisation.

Your likes and dislikes are not the proper standard for judging tasks.

We don't care whether you like it, or not.

Do it anyway!

The proper standard for judging tasks is the long-range consequences of the task.

4. Think long range, not short range.

Good time management thinking requires that you think long range.

Failure to think long range will mean that you fail to prepare the ground for the events that are due to happen six months from now, or a year from now.

As a consequence, when the clock brings these future events into the present, you will discover that you are not prepared. You are not ready. You don't have the right things in the right place, to handle the situation, and therefore you are in disorder, and are left scrambling around, trying to sort out the latest catastrophe that has befallen you.

If today, you are scrambling around trying to sort-out the latest catastrophe, then it means that either you, or your colleagues, have failed to do the preparatory and preventative activity that should have been done, six months ago.

  • Mend the roof of the house during the summer.
  • Don't wait till the snow comes and then attempt to mend the hole in the roof.

5. Avoid spending too much time socialising in endless gossip and office politics.

Think of the number of hours that are lost to the UK economy; hours taken up in useless office gossip, office politics, complaining about the management, and chatting about the sport and TV.

I understand that one has to be a human being; but the idea is to be a productive human being, not a "waste of space" human being.

Every conversation can be given a value.

Some conversations have no value for anyone. In fact, some conversations are harmful and counterproductive. Not only do they not contain much value, they are of a negative value. They are poisonous. They poison the air and they cause too much trouble and strife.

  • Don't waste your time on pointless conversations that are of no value.
  • Don't waste your time on counterproductive, poisonous conversations based on bitching, complaining and malicious gossip.

Instead, invest your time in conversations concerning how best to achieve your goals and-or how best to solve your lasted batch of unexpected problems.

When at work, do your work. And only do your work.

6. Create Energy: energy is "the capacity to do work".

Energy is defined, by physicists, as the capacity to do work.

If you have insufficient energy, then you won't be able to do your work.

If you have abundant energy, then you will be able to storm through your work.

Many people run out of energy in the afternoon. Some have given the name "the graveyard shift" to that period of time between 1.30 PM and 3.30 PM. This is when they run out of steam.

It can be even worse. Some people arrive at work looking tired.

You say to them "Good morning, how are you today?"

They say "I'm knackered".

Knackered???

Its nine o clock in the morning!

Ask some pertinent questions:

What time did you get to bed last night? Answer: 1.00 AM.

What did you drink last night? Answer: two bottles of red wine.

What did you eat last night? Answer: a pizza and ice cream.

What did you do last night? Answer: I watched TV and played on the computer until 01.00 AM.

The conclusion is that this guy is not tired; he is sluggish.

He is feeling sluggish because he is:

  1. Eating too much of the wrong foods.
  2. Drinking too much alcohol.
  3. Not exercising enough. Consequently, he does not have the right biochemical conditions that allow him to have abundant energy. He feels "knackered"- all the time.

He thinks that it is a sign of him getting older.

He is wrong; it is a sign of him becoming more and more unfit.

If you are unfit, you are less efficient in every realm.

If you are fit, you are more efficient in every realm, because you can generate the power to do your work.

If you do your work, you are in business.

If you cannot do your work, you are soon out of business.

In order to have sufficient energy, to do your work and to feel fit; reverse the negative trend and do the following:

  1. Don't eat too much of the wrong foods.
  2. Don't drink too much alcohol.
  3. Exercise enough to stimulate an adaptive response.

7. Learn and apply the law of diminishing returns.

The "law of diminishing returns", states that there is a limit to the additional benefit derived from ongoing additional investments.

For example:

If you had a plot of land, you could extract a certain yield from that land.

And if you put more workers on the land, you may increase that yield.

And if you then put machinery on the land, you may further increase that yield.

And if you then put nitrogen fertiliser on the land, you may further increase that yield.

And if you then dug some irrigation channels, you may further increase that yield.

But, there comes a point when, no matter how many people, how much machinery, nitrogen and water you pour onto the land; you cannot increase the yield any further.

And worse; if you put too many people, too much machinery, nitrogen and water onto the land, then you will ruin the productivity of the land.

You have reached the point of diminishing returns.

At that point more effort is wasted at best.

And at worst, more effort is harmful and counterproductive.

What is true of land is true of almost everything else.

More is not necessarily better.

If some additional weight is good, more weight is not better.

If some complaining is good, more is not better.

If some analysis is good, more is not better.

If some anger is good, more is not better.

If some fear is good, more is not better.

If some rest is good, more is not better.

If some aspirin is good, more is not better.

You get the point.

There is always a cut-off point, where doing more and more of this activity is of no use.

At that point, more effort is wasted; more effort will be actually harmful and counterproductive.

Always, have a feeling for the point of diminishing returns.

In relation to this article, I think I have now reached that point!

Here is a summary:

So, how can you better manage your time?

Pay attention to the following:

  • Time waits for no man!
  • Work to a list.
  • Identify the most valuable use of your time, and focus on that, to exclusion of all else.
  • Judge value by thinking about the long-term consequences of doing (or failing to do) the task.
  • Think long range, not short range.
  • Avoid spending too much time socialising and endless gossip and office politics.
  • If you are fit you are more efficient in every realm because you can generate the power to do your work. In order to have sufficient energy to do your work and feel fit; then reverse the trend and do the following:
  • Don't eat too much of the wrong foods.
  • Don't drink too much alcohol.
  • Exercise enough to stimulate an adaptive response.
  • Learn and apply the law of diminishing returns.

Thank you.

For more information about time management visit the Corporate Coach Group website

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