Time management is more than just the ability to plan and manage time.
Pleasure in life is also important
Organization of time based on WHAT, WHEN and HOW parameters is called third generation time planning.
It lacks one crucial aspect – the dimension of human life and pleasure (satisfaction). So nowadays we talk about fourth generation time planning.
The time management definition states:
Time management is a range of tools and approaches, using these leads to a more balanced and pleasurable life and more effective use of time.
Set your goals first and then your tasks
Correct time management must start with the goals you want to achieve.
Thanks to the goals, we know what we want and where we want to aim. It is easier to define tasks and individual goals which need to be overcome if we understand our goal.
The goal is not the activity but the result itself
If I decide to move to Spain in a couple of years and set up a farm there, one of my possible tasks might be learning Spanish. My goal is not the activity (learning Spanish) but the result of the activity (I will learn Spanish up to the 10th unit).
Another individual goal might be buying a course book – I have to go to a bookshop or call a language school. Likewise, we can achieve every goal by setting individual goals using a similar scheme. If we accomplish individual goals, we can achieve our main goal. The objective is not eager work or setting too high expectations, but to see the broader picture of the way, that we alone decided to follow.
Using the help of a mind map
The procedure is processed graphically and is called a mind map. Everyone concerned about fourth generation time management is supposed to be occupied by spending time on a mind map.
Are you good at planning?
The basis for planning is to understand limits and needs and spend sufficient time to get ready. There should to be a rule at the end of every week to go through a to-do-list for the next week as well as to do so for every subsequent day.
It is also great to have one specific place for writing notes or to-do-lists. We should think about time gaps while planning as a relaxing part of the day or as a balance for the time loss. It is necessary to know the approximate time needed to accomplish a task for the right planning. Try to be time realistic because a poor timetable more easily leads to collapse. Therefore, it is comfortable to plan tasks at 30 minute intervals. If you finish your task earlier, you can relax or work on less important tasks.
Are you an early bird or a night owl?
We should also consider our performance curve.
There are people who like to work mostly in the morning (early bird) and afternoon sees them less active. Others start to be effective in the afternoon and their activity is lower late in the evening (night owl).
It is good to know when our maximum activity level is , and when we are vigilant and concentrate the most and plan our activities accordingly – important and creative tasks. Plan routine work or administration at times of low efficiency. You must also not forget to plan enough breaks.
Four types of priorities
Do you argue that you do not have enough time? You say in reality that you are busy with more important stuff.
Setting your priorities will help you to differentiate each task according to its importance. We divide tasks into four groups:
- Important and urgent – deadline tasks, meetings, crisis situations, certain phone calls and emails.
- Not important but urgent – full-time rest, research, social interaction, studies, new inputs, family.
- Important but not urgent – not effective meetings, certain phone calls, not important and difficult tasks.
- Not important and not urgent – poor rest, poor nutrition (in favor of work or social time).
We are supposed to avoid the fourth group, of course.
Effective planning is supposed to include 15% of first group tasks, 20% of second group tasks and 65% of third group tasks. It is also useful to see if there are tasks you are more occupied with than they deserve and vice versa, if there are tasks which need more of our time and what we can do about it.
Time loss and how to get rid of it
Activities done without thinking and bringing no benefit are called time consuming:
- Every interruption of work
- Long breaks
- Indirect internet searches
- Chatting with colleagues
- Starting work without useful and available information
- We let useless work overload us
- Travelling and place changes
- Seeking documents because of insufficient organization, poorly organized work area
Silence and concentration
The important assumption for efficiency is silence and concentration. Interruptions ruin your attention and reduce your ability to go back to work. The more disturbed you are, the more difficult it is for you to get back to work.
Monitor whether you are not intentionally looking for another activity just to put off your task. Give yourself frequent short breaks and go for a walk.
If we start a new task, we should think through the procedure first. If you feel under pressure and can't concentrate enough, plan your breaks and concentrate on your important activities.
Keep a pen and notebook for notes and phone numbers right next to you. Have deadlines for every task. Avoid procrastination – it leads to a vicious circle. If you have subordinates and assistants, learn to delegate.
Remember that you cannot please everyone. It is not possible to complete everything. It is crucial to learn how to say“NO” and be assertive about your time and respect the time of others.
How to start
Change your attitude and learn new habits. Identify your strengths and weaknesses and take them into account – get the maximum out of your strengths and work on your weaknesses.
- Work on your mind map
- Put your individual goals into your time planning
- Develop a plan for the week and then for each day
- Make some time for planning and thinking about tasks
- Get your desktop organized
- Analyze your habits and improve them
Time management rules are not meant to be annoying, but they are supposed to be welcomed in managing our time, which will lead us to a more satisfied life and a less stressful work environment.
Understand your needs and do not be too strict on yourself. If you are not feeling well and you know that your performance is not the best, modify your work accordingly and get new power.
Knowing your strengths and weaknesses will envitably lead to a productive and effective accomplishment plan that will be helpful whenever you have an important task to complete.