Time management can be pretty stressful when we take more than we could handle. We juggle multiple tasks in an attempt to save some time for ourselves. And if we manage it somehow, the stress of working long hours becomes too exhausting to enjoy it. In those gloomy moments when we see someone else enjoying their free time while we work like drones, it simply adds fuel to the fire.
But have you ever wondered how people manage to cope with their demanding careers while still having enough time to spare for personal leisure?
The answer lies in the smart time management.
Keeping that in mind, let’s dive right into the top five effective time management techniques that have aided a lot of people in smartly managing their time, and effectively improving their job performance as well.
1.Control Your Time Through Deadlines
Deadlines are the core of every time management system. They help you make the most of your time in order to avoid working late hours.
Let me put it this way, when you’re working on a project at a tight deadline, you’ll focus all your attention on that job so you could finish it in record time. That would cut down the extra hours you might’ve spent on needless errands, thus eventually saving you from working overtime.
Now, how do you set a deadline? For starters, roughly track your time on a project. If one project takes 3-hours, set a 3-hour deadline on it.
Obviously, there are other possibilities to consider as well. For instance; you wish to add a half an hour as a contingency period, and that’s completely fine! However, make sure you don’t extend the deadlines unnecessarily.
Parkinson’s Law dictates that if your job takes 3 hours, be careful as to not extend it to 4 hours, otherwise your brain would subconsciously adjust the work pace to 4 hours as well.
I didn’t believe it first, but after examining it closely through practical experience, I had to admit its authenticity. I strongly suggest you try it yourself as well before coming to your own conclusion.
2.Tackle The Important Jobs First
Ever heard of 80/20 rule?
The Pareto Principle or 80/20 rule— named after its creator Vilfredo Pareto—stated that out of every 10 tasks in your list only two are the ones that hold the greatest weight in terms of importance.
Simply put, if you’ve got a list of tasks to complete in a day, pick out the priority jobs first. Once they are finished only then jump to the other tasks.
Making a list of daily tasks based on priority will help you cut down unimportant jobs just so you don’t over exert yourself following the “squeeze as much as you can” method.
3.Avoid Distraction To Optimize Your Time
Verily we come across a task that’s either too boring or too nerves wrecking to feel excited about. And so, we subconsciously procrastinate with time-wasting activities (Such as checking social media every 15 minutes, conversing on phone, playing music, etc.) just to avoid dealing with that job.
These frivolities swallow up a chunk of your time that could’ve been used productively instead. Thus, to avoid procrastination, the trick is to keep a fix time limit on projects with small timeouts in between to get a breathing space.
Pomodoro technique is one of the great systems to handle big jobs. It allows you a certain time limit—25 minutes approx—to perform your tasks with small breaks “called Pomodoro” to avoid energy drain.
The idea of this exercise is to avoid burn-out, which usually happen when we work all day long on a complex job or procrastinate it until the eleventh hour and then drain ourselves dry just to meet the deadlines.
4.Learn the art of Multi-tasking Management
If you scroll through the Google sites, most of them would defer you away from multi-tasking saying it’s not an effective time management technique and that it would be impossible to handle multiple jobs at once.
That’s because it really is impossible!
Multi-task doesn’t mean getting multiple jobs at once but rather manages them in a way that you effectively complete them systematically in record time.
Daniel Ramamoorthy, A global speaker & MC, in his article how to multitask beautifully explained the concept of multitasking using his own personal experience as an example.
He gave three main tips to multi-task effectively.
- Keep your goals clear, to avoid confusion.
- Focus on one project before tackling the next.
- Work with the pace your body can handle.
For me, his third point hit home accurately. If I am tackling a project that requires full attention, I choose the next one that’s easy to perform so I won’t have to take long breaks to recuperate and instead use that break time to work on my next project.
5.Lastly, Delegate Smartly
Delegation improves efficiency.
Usually, with expansion or promotion, the workload doubles over, and unless you delegate your tasks down the line, your efficiency would plummet rushing the jobs to meet the tight deadlines.
If you are reluctant to delegate, start with assigning trivial jobs first. Such as; putting emails, or replies on auto and hire freelancers—from third-party services such as Fiverr or UpWork— for menial tasks.
As a freelancer, I see tons of projects ranging from Data entry to Virtual Assistant, all of them aiming to outsource for menial jobs just so the employers can focus on their priority tasks.
Coming back to the main point, once you have gotten yourself use to deputing trivial tasks, move on to assigning bigger jobs, and so forth. By delegating gradually, you’ll be able to adjust to your new arrangement more smoothly.
Did you find this blog informative? Check out more on 5 Simple Practices to Maintain A Better Work-life Balance or Healthy lifestyle tips to enjoy a longer life