Time Management: The First Practical Tips for Everyone

Posted under Time Management on Sunday 31 August 2008 at 1:09 pm

Time ManagementI looked through my previous entries and realized that we still did not make any practical step that could help us become more organized and change our attitude toward the way we spend our time. That’s a shame of mine, and thank you, my dear readers, for your great patience and continuous interest. Now, instead of going on talking about planning, scheduling, analyzing our daily routine and other boring concepts of time management, we will come strictly to the point and try to launch a small attack on our tardiness and slowness.

One thing I need to tell you before we begin. After reading several books on time management and trying all those tips they recommend, I realized that the best way to move ahead and achieve some progress is to make changes in life and introduce new rules gradually. No need to think that if you want to become more organized, you need to start the next day with 20 minutes of panning, thinking about the priorities, trying to fit the schedules and spending crazy efforts for this everything. No way! So, let’s come to action, ladies and gentlemen! Let’s see what we can do right away to save some minutes for effective work and for more effective leisure.

1. Have you ever thought that spending so much time for gathering yourself up and collecting your energies before you actually come to work in the morning is a serious waste of time? Many people have a habit of starting their working day with a cup of tea or coffee, a smoke or a little chat with the colleagues, but sometimes it takes really long, so their day begins much later than it could. Therefore, our first step will be directed on minimization of the time you need to focus and get to the point! For example, at the start of your working day you used to read the news online for 30 minutes or so. Try to decrease this time to 10 minutes and begin dealing with your tasks 20 minutes earlier than you usually do: most probably, you will notice positive changes in the end of the day.

2. It can fall into a little controversy with the previous idea, but frequently a special habit or ritual that we always practice before starting our working day, can be a good sign for our mind to get concentrated and come to work right away. A friend of mine starts her day with a cup of herbal tea, and another friend of mine always needs to listen to some hip-hop to feel refreshed in the morning. The main idea of this recommendation is to develop such a “hook” for your mind which will allow you not to delay your getting down to work (like watching news or chatting with friends), but ring the bells in your mind for immediate action. For example, if you start your day with a cup of coffee, you can drink it while you are checking out you business e-mails or cleaning your table from dozens of papers left from the day before. Make your morning ritual fit your type of work, and let it be a sign for your mind to get focused on your routine as soon as possible.

3. This is a new rule that will help us deal with small and not urgent, but very unpleasant tasks. For example, a single guy usually postpones doing such chores as ironing or taking out his garbage, a secretary can postpone writing an apology e-mail to the company’s potential client or talking to her tight-fisted boss about upgrading her computer. Sometimes we collect a plenty of such tasks on our shoulders that usually makes us nervous and increases pressure causing new stresses. Why to stand on this day by day? Make a new rule: eat a frog every day! Chose ONE task or duty that you’d really like to avoid doing, pull yourself together and accomplish this task. Make it a habit of yours and, believe me, the outcomes will be beyond your expectations. You will fell really relaxed and proud of yourself!

4. Finally, today’s last tip. Many people put off doing bulky and difficult tasks (pleasant or unpleasant) for the reasons we already know (“Don’t know where to begin!”, “No, I am unequal to this task!”, “Oh, it will take all of my time and I will get tired!”, “Hmmm, I’d better ask my boss, how to deal with this!”, “Hell, no! I will never manage with this!”, etc. etc.). First of all, stop making a mountain out of a molehill! Any huge task can turn into a simple list of activities. Break down your rock into small pieces and every day move away some of them. Than, in a week or two, your way will be clear and your formidable task will be completed without any worries and stresses.

I hope this helps.

Time Management: What We Have to Know About It

Posted under Time Management on Saturday 30 August 2008 at 1:51 am

A man who dares waste one hour of time
has not discovered the value of life
Charles Darwin

Everyone knows that time management is a special technology of time optimization that helps people use their time more effectively, according to everyone’s special goals and personal values. Undoubtedly, this concept is a great organizational tool for everyone, but especially for those who always have lack of time. Those people who have developed good time management skills usually have no problem with setting up absolutely realistic objectives or goals and achieving those goals by using their time in the most effective way. However, everyone must understand that if you want to reach some progress and become more self organized, such practices as planning and controlling your time have to turn into an ineradicable habit of yours.

Certainly, you can argue that we do not always have hold on time and our life is full of surprises that frequently ruin our plans. This is right, just like a known proverb says: man proposes, God disposes. Well, every morning (or every evening before going to sleep) the majority of us usually makes some plans for coming day and schedules the things that must be done. But very frequently something unexpected or urgent comes up in our daily routine, so we have to switch our attention and efforts to doing those “unplanned” things that sometimes are quite bulky and boring. That is why in the evening we have to admit to ourselves again and again that our plans did not work due to the circumstances that are beyond our control.

However, using the approach of effective time management you can interpret this situation in a different way. If you tried really hard and spent a lot of efforts to make your plans come true (despite of any urgent things and circumstances), you do not have to regret for the planned things you could not accomplish. But if you usually spend the most of your time for coffee breaks, chatting with your colleagues and smoking, you will not be happy even with those few things that you managed to accomplish during the day. In such case, knowing basic skills of time management can be very useful for you to develop a responsible approach to everything you do.

Time management was a subject of interest of many specialists and progressive thinkers of the last century. For example, our glorious president Benjamin Franklin was one of the pioneers of modern time management. He formulated several important principles based on his famous Success Strategies. These principles must be considered to be the major postulates of classic time management and generally they can be put to the following:

1. Plan your things, or they will “plan” you. In order to achieve success, you must have a specific plan and specific goals for your future.

2. Time is the most priceless asset of yours. This resource can not be collected, stored up or extended, that is why effective organization of our time is the only way to maximize its utility.

3. Develop the skills to distinguish major things from minor things. Effective time management includes developing the abilities to prioritize the tasks and specify the ones that must be done (no matter what) and the ones that should better be done (but can be possibly postponed).

4. Set up realistic plans, try to stick to those plans and make it a habit of yours.

Remember these principles and try to keep them in mind all the time. However, do not think that time management is something related only to planning! Philosophy of time management is focused around the following idea: if a man wants to get freedom for something, he has to limit his freedom in something else. So, time management is a technique that can help you free your time for something you truly wish to spend your time for. Moreover: effective time management can help you spend your time for something really important, and the earlier you learn its secrets, the more effective and interesting every day of your life gonna be!

You can say: “No, I do not believe in this! Time management is too ideal concept that does not work in real life!” Do not give up on this, really! All you need is to set up more ambitious goals (your personal goals) and do everything possible to achieve them! Aspire to impossible things, and you will receive maximum! Therefore, you do not have to develop anything ideal: just try to be as closer to the ideal as possible. You can certainly do it by adopting the system of effective time management for your life.

Why Do We Put the Things Off All the Time?

Posted under Procrastination on Sunday 24 August 2008 at 9:36 pm

Putting the things off until later, next day, next Monday, next week-end or next month destroyed millions of interesting ideas, initiatives and innovations, ruined successful organizational strategies and ambitious careers, caused thousands of misunderstandings and crashed thousands of hopes.

As I have already stated before, knowing why we procrastinate is not the way to solve this problem. However, analyzing own addictive avoidance behavior and identifying possible reasons of your habit to escape from doing things is a must on the way to your total recovery from this disease. Certainly, our procrastination is closely linked to our inability to organize and plan our own activities in a rational way. However, the problem of procrastination always goes far beyond disorganization.

Let me list the most common reasons why we put off the tasks we have to do:

Various fears of ours. This is the leading reason that motivates people to put off their tasks and, possibly, spend their time in looking for the ways to avoid doing those things. The fears include, first of all, fear of failure, fear of unpleasant experience and fear of frustration. Some procrastinators experience fear of success, because they do not want to assume the responsibility for their success and afraid that someone will tend to use their skills and talent, causing more and more loads and things to do.

A tendency to perfectionism. This is a very important reason of our chronic procrastination. Many people tend to plan and think about making their work go smoothly or budgeting and doing everything possible for the projects to be done perfectly well. That usually causes huge delays in actual making the things done. Moreover, all the energy and creativity is usually spent for analyzing, therefore, sometimes there are no resources left for doing the task on time.

Lack of motivation. Sometimes people delay doing their work because they are actually not willing to spend the efforts and resources for doing it. Maybe the work is too hard or the reward is too small. Lack of motivation is a serious factor that makes people procrastinate and fail to achieve good results.

Inability to prioritize the tasks and structure the work that must be done. Many people procrastinate because they simply do not know where and how to start doing their tasks. They have no idea what must be done first and that’s why they always get lost. Or even worse: they misplace the priorities and start working on something really not important and usually very boring. The result is always the same: “I’ll finish doing this useless thing later on!”.

Looking for crises. I have a friend who is certain that doing things under pressure always mobilizes and stimulates a person for achieving great results. That is why she usually does everything in the last minute.

Failure to estimate own time and abilities. Some people underestimate the time necessary for their work that frequently causes putting this work off since it will not take much of time. Overestimating the time or other resources needed for a project also frequently leads to procrastination because of the feeling that the project will take too much of efforts or too much of time.

Distractibility and tendency to fantasize. There are people who have problems with being concentrated on doing something for long time. Such people get distracted very easily and usually do several things in the same time, or jump from one activity to another because “something else has come up”. Moreover, very often they fantasize on doing something great and considerable, but never actually come to doing this – never in their life!

Anger. Some procrastinators try to escape from doing their tasks because of their anger or feeling bad about the necessity to do those tasks. Undoubtedly, this does not lead to any positive results.

Waiting for inspiration. Some people procrastinate because they are sure that for doing the work well they need to be in a good or special mood. However, sometimes such mood does not come for days…

Laziness and seeking pleasure. Some people really do not care about the things that must be done.

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