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Time Management Skills

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Posted 15 November 2011 by Chris FarmerChris Farmer

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

Time management skills

In order to be a better time manager, you will need to do two things.

  1. Use good time management techniques.
  2. Avoid making time management errors.

If you did all the GOOD things, and avoided doing all the bad things, then surely your life will get better.

So, we can begin by making two lists:

  1. 6 Proper time management techniques Six GOOD things.
  2. 6 Time management errors. Six bad things.

My idea is for you to do the first list and ensure you DON'T do the second list.

Then your life will get better.

Six GOOD things: Proper time management techniques

  1. Decide your priorities.
  2. Work to a list.
  3. Focus your attention.
  4. Leave with sufficient time to arrive early.
  5. Put things back in their proper place.
  6. Get sufficient sleep and good nutrition to avoid running out of energy.

Six bad things: 6 Time management errors

  1. Trying to do it all, for everyone all the time, 100% perfectly.
  2. Reacting to whatever is in front of you.
  3. Spending too long in conversations that don't add value.
  4. Leaving things until the last minute.
  5. Failing to write a plan, by convincing yourself it is fine to "Improvise when you get there".
  6. Laziness.

Let us say a few words on each:

Notes on the 6 Proper time management techniques

1. Decide your priorities

In order to be a good time manager, you must prioritise.

Prioritising is the act of sorting tasks into lists of descending order of value and deadline pressure.

  1. The items that are the most valuable AND the most pressing should be done first.
  2. Then come the items that are valuable BUT NOT time pressing.
  3. Then come the time pressing but NOT so valuable.
  4. Then come the not valuable and the not time pressing

Sort tasks into categories and do them in order.

2. Work to a list

Don't rely on your unaided memory. Make a list.

Carry a notebook and record every item that pops into your head that is important enough to remember.

How many times have you failed to do something, simply because you forgot?

You went to the store, bought seven things and forgot three. Later, you had to repeat the trip to the store. That means: double the time investment, double the cost, but no added value.

Work to a list!

3. Focus your attention

Some people suffer with a butterfly mind.

Their minds dance around all the tasks, touching each one lightly, and never settles on one long enough to generate sufficient intensity to cause a breakthrough.

As a result they are busy all day, but don't finish a single task.

The remedy is to focus your mind on the task until it is done!

4. Leave with sufficient time to arrive a little early

Leave earlier!

Many people are consistently late for appointments. And they blame the traffic! Remember that a 20 minute journey takes more than 20 minutes.

A twenty-minute journey takes 20 minutes ONLY IF there are NO unexpected delays, errors or problems.

But there are almost ALWAYS unexpected delays, errors and problems that will be made by someone else, which will cause you to be late.

You should take that into account and therefore leave earlier.

5. Put things back in their proper place

In order to be efficient you must be organised. Organised means that everything has a location: its "natural place". Everything should be in its natural place.

If you don't put it back in its natural place, then multiple errors will proliferate:

  1. You won't be able to find it when you need it.
  2. You will lose precious time looking for it.
  3. You may not find it in time to use it.
  4. You will be in trouble with other people who want to use it, and who know you were the last person to have it.
  5. You will begin to feel as if the world is turning against you: Because it is! Because you don't put things back in their proper place! You have got to put it back in the proper place
  6. Get sufficient sleep and good nutrition to avoid running out of energy
    You need energy to do anything. Energy is the stuff of the universe.

Where does your energy come from?

Answer
Your body chemistry. In order for you to have sufficient energy, you must supply your body with two things

  1. Sufficient NUTRITION
  2. Sufficient SLEEP

Therefore:

  1. Go to bed on time
  2. Eat well

Part two: Six bad things:

Six common Time management errors.

1. Trying to do it all, for everyone, all the time, 100% perfectly

Don't try to do it all.

WHY?
Because you are a limited resource facing an unlimited demand.

You are a limited resource: you have a limited amount of:

  • Enthusiasm
  • Mental focus
  • Time

IF you are a limited resource facing an unlimited demand, and you try to do it all for everyone, all the time, what will be the result?

Answer:

  1. Burnout
  2. Stress
  3. Fatigue

2. Reacting to whatever is in front of you

Many people are too reactive. They are constantly reacting to environmental circumstances without reference to an overall goal or purpose.

If you look at Euro-politicians, they seem to be operating on the theory of "Whatever action will help me to survive the current crisis is good".

And their solution is to act in such a way that delays the crises for a year, but overall, makes the fundamental situation worse.

For a politician that temporary reactive solution is good enough because it "solves the problem" from his / her own personal perspective.

This is poor practice.

Don't simply react to problems. Solve them.

  1. Find the original causes and interrupt them
  2. Find true solutions and implement them

3. Spending too long in conversations that don't add value

Human beings are great communicators. We are the most communicative species on the planet. We love to chat. There are whole T.V. Careers built on chatting to celebrities: Opera Winefry is an example. But many careers are blighted by too much time being wasted in fruitless conversations. Examples:

  1. Meeting that go on for too long
  2. Questions that go on for too long
  3. Tea breaks that go on for too long

Don't waste your time in meaningless conversations.

4. Leaving things until the last minute

Beware of this phrase.

"We will cross that bridge when we come to it".

Remember our earlier note on prioritisation we said: The second priority category is those tasks that are the valuable BUT NOT YET time pressing.

Many important things are not time pressing: they DON'T need to be done today.

They DON'T need to be done today; but do them anyway!

  • You don't have to compliment your partner today; but do it anyway.
  • You don't have to organise your system today; but do it anyway.
  • You don't have to watch your food intake today; but do it anyway.
  • You don't have to think about your plans for a better future today; but do it anyway.

Don't put it off.
Don't leave important things until the last minute
The last minute is too late.

5. Failing to write a plan, by convincing yourself it is fine to "Improvise when you get there"

Improvisation is not an alternative to having a detailed written plan. Improvisation is a good idea ONLY within the context of having a detailed plan.

Example
The Normandy D day landings, 6 June 1944,

Question:
Were the D Day landings carefully planned?

Answer:
Yes! They were two years in the planning

But on the day, each individual person involved had to improvise moment by moment:
But they improvised within the framework of a detailed plan.

Improvisation is a good idea ONLY within the context of having a detailed plan Failing to plan and relying on Improvisation is simply CHAOS theory.

6. Laziness

What can we say about pure laziness?

  • He could work
  • He should work
  • But he won't work,

Because he is lazy

Laziness is born from the belief that: "It is more pleasurable to not work than to work". Combined with the belief that "If I don't work, nothing bad will happen to me".

Those people who adopt those twin beliefs end up as lazy individuals.

Don't be lazy because both beliefs are wrong.

  1. Doing nothing is not as pleasurable as achieving of a goal.
  2. Bad things do happen to lazy people. So don't be lazy. Be a goal focused individual.

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