Time is a valuable resource that you do not pay for directly but are responsible for investing wisely and in productive ways. The way you manage the 24 hours you are given every day can spell the difference between your success or failure in achieving your goals.
Often, you can get lulled into a sense of complacency as routines and monotonous tasks take over your daily schedule; to maximize time management, one has to stop to take into account how each hour of the day is spent.
A daily planner or organizer can be a helpful tool in ensuring that your time is invested well and that your tasks and responsibilities are taken care of in timely fashion. When you see a list detailing the different tasks that need to be accomplished, you can then:
- Decide which tasks need to be prioritized
- What tasks can be combined for efficiency
- And how to better plan your work day to maximize time.
Whether you choose to have an electronic planner or just a traditional organizer, you can then easily spot opportunities for improvement in time management. Here are things to watch for when scheduling your day.
1. Unnecessary tasks
Some of the things you could be spending valuable time on every day may not be that essential, or can be set aside in favor of more important things on your to-do list. For instance, if you find yourself making quick trip to the grocery store every couple of days to buy household essentials, scheduling a well-planned shopping trip during the weekend or another weekday would eliminate the need for mid-week grocery runs, saving you time, effort and fuel costs.
Even when you have a schedule to adhere to and a list of things that need to be done, there are so may distractions and external factors that can take your focus away from the task at hand. For many, this could be surfing non-work related websites or social networking sites; other distractions include personal phone calls, extended chit-chat sessions with co-workers or friends, or a sudden urge to play with your dog or cat. Zero in on those usual distractions and find ways to insulate yourself from these factors when you need to; often, these distractions can be easily avoided if you plan ahead and make changes to your routines.
3. Identify spare time
No matter how busy you may think you are, there are still many minutes or hours to spare if you can responsibly and effectively manage your time. Identify those extra minutes and figure out how they can be productive parts of your day; for example, if you usually have a ten-minute wait for the bus or train on your way to work or back, what errands or tasks can you squeeze into those ten minutes? If the type of work you do requires that you stay up-to-date with the latest news and information, you can use any waiting times to read up on the day’s news and hot topics, so when you get to the office you can get right to work.
4. Wind down
It is also very important to allow your body, soul and mind enough time to get rested and refreshed. Overworking yourself by jampacking your daily schedule will result in burn out, compounding health issues and eventually will make you even less efficient than if you took better care of your health. Include ample breaks and rest times in your schedule; an amply managed and well-planned personal schedule will make it easier for you to also take extended time off for personal relaxation.