By Gregg Hall
We all have the same 24 hours to work with and unfortunately depending on our individual requirements we lose six to eight of those hours to sleep. Knowing that we have already given up that many hours we don’t have any more time to waste so it’s important to focus on what you need to get done during your waking hours. Learn to manage your time properly and you will be able to focus and be more efficient.
The first thing that must be done before you can learn the proper time management skills is to identify the things you are doing wrong that eat up your time and make your activity unproductive. Look back over the last week and remember how you spent each day. Split the days up into five categories.
The first category is negative productivity or tasks that should have already been completed. This is the area that kills the schedules of most people and gets them off focus.
The second category is allowing your planned tasks to be interrupted by activities that are less important or not important at all. Don’t let others influence you to change your priorities.
The third category is things you have completed. These are the tasks that you actually planned and completed to fruition. You might just find after categorizing in this way that you are getting more done than you think.
The fourth category is the time that you work alone. Even if you are not working on the exact tasks that you should be if you are truly working then this can be deemed positive.
The fifth and final category is your down time or time off. I am not talking about short coffee breaks. This is true leisure activity such as working out. Having down time is crucial to success; if you try to work around the clock you will eventually get burned out.
Now that you have identified the areas where you are spending your time it is important to reduce the items that are eating away at your productivity and causing you to lose focus. Here are a few tips to help you.
First you need to plan your work and everything you need to do. Divide a sheet of paper in half and on one side write the tasks that must be done in order of priority with deadlines. On the other side write down the tasks you would like to see done but aren’t crucial. Focus on one task at a time then cross it off as you move down your list. You should take time to do this each morning.
Next you should have an effective time management system whether it is a desk calendar or an electronic system on your computer, laptop, or cell phone you need to use it daily. Have schedules for tasks and stick to them.
The next thing you need to do is to learn the meaning of the word, “no”. Saying no to something doesn’t mean you will never do it, it just means that you can’t do it now. If you are working on something that absolutely has to be done then you have to say no to the movie or the ball game. You have to be able to find the balance between work and leisure.