HOW TO MANAGE TIME
Updated: May 1, 2022
In our daily lives, there are seemingly endless tasks to get through from academics to work to personal life. Completing all of these tasks with a modicum of efficiency and in time can be highly demanding to the majority of us. Because of this, time management is a necessary skill no matter how old you are. It can help us make the most of each day, leading to the completion of our tasks that we have been holding off. In this article, I would like to make a few suggestions on time management so we can get our work done with more efficiency. Let’s find out!
1. Set objective, achievable weekly/monthly goals
Setting clear goals with time slots helps us have more motivation, or better yet execution to complete our tasks and organize our time in a more calculated way. By having a list of clear goals, we would concentrate on getting it done instead of worrying: “I haven’t finished this yet” “I wonder if I can get this done today?” Moreover, our piling tasks should remind us to abstain from distractions such as social media, TV or unnecessary social outings.
Before you start your day, write down all the tasks you need to do and order them by priority. For example, high priority tasks are marked as such. If you need to complete something that’s two weeks away, it would be a “high importance, low priority” task. Such is the delineation between these two terms. If you want to work a bit overtime or go beyond your to-do-list, but they are less important tasks, those are “low priority, low importance” tasks. Another popular method of organizing your tasks by priority is SMART - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. This method is also mentioned in the article 7 Habits of Successful People!
2. Remove possible distractions
“Ting… ting…” Every time a notification sound chimes from the phone, we always wonder what is happening there. Checking our messages leads to scrolling through our newsfeed and watching funny videos and we end up with our work still half finished. Does this ring any bells? Social media is a powerful tool in being up to date with the world around us and maintaining contact with the people that we care about. However, it’s a double-edged blade when we spend too much of our time absorbing toxic and useless information, examining other people’s lives or bait videos that kill our time.
Because of this, to work more efficiently or simply spend our time more wisely, we need to remove these distractions to focus on other things. Before sitting down at your desk, we need to put our phone far from our sight or at least turn on “do not disturb”. If you need to use your phone, turn off any notifications from Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok or Twitter that can entice you. Moreover, close unused tabs on your browser when you’re done, especially social media tabs.
3. Reorganize your workspace
Your work environment can easily boost productivity. There are no strict rules for organizing your desk so you should do it in a way that is most ergonomic for you. For example, if aesthetics help you get into the mood of working and staying focused, then you should decorate your desk with plants, motivational pictures or a bluetooth speaker. Preparing a workspace that you like will make us more enthusiastic to sit down and do work. This helps maintain our efficiency in general.
Another way to beautify your workspace is to clean and reorganize to fit our daily needs. Imagine a desk that is full of papers, envelopes, pens and garbage, anyone would be stressed or lose focus! Reorganizing your workspace is a sound way to remove little distractions that add up with mess. Set your most used materials in close proximity which helps us save time finding them or moving too far away.
4. Balancing work and rest
A person who manages their time well isn’t someone who finishes every task on hand, but is someone who knows how to balance every factor in their life, which includes rest and leisure. When creating your schedule, don’t forget to include your “me time”. Humans aren’t robots, we cannot work with 100% productivity over an extended period of time. We need to maintain a healthy sleep schedule which will allow us to go to bed and wake up at a consistent time each day, even on the weekends. Though this may seem like a natural occurrence, we should train our brains to feel sleepy at bedtime and refreshed when we wake up. Likewise, spending some time resting is a way to replenish energy by listening to your body. Even resting and sleeping takes discipline. Even though work is important, health and leisure is as essential in avoiding the mental and physical effects of burnout. Moreover, when working we ought to be ‘strict’ with ourselves and avoid social media or other distractions so when our leisure time comes we can actually focus on and thoroughly enjoy it.
If you sometimes feel your work is overloaded and need more time to rest, don’t hesitate to seek help from your friends within their capacity. However, make sure you entrust it to someone you can trust! Uncertainty about whether the person is really getting the job done can also be a cause of our 'anxiety rest' and make it pointless to rely on them. Delegation is sometimes a sign of intelligence, and organizing is not a weakness. The fact that we don't complete work on time or with a poor quality can affect our reputation and even that of an entire team.
Benjamin Franklin - a politician, scientist, poet, philosopher, inventor and social worker once said “Time lost is never found again”. Let’s make the most of our time so we don’t regret it in the future!