The first rule to become great at Time Management, is to prioritize your tasks, there are 4 grades of importance you should attribute:
1 – Important: Something that must be done, like going to the doctor
2 – Urgent: Something that should be done soon, like answering the phone
3 – Urgent and Important: Something that must be done immediately, like picking up your children from school
4 – None of the previous: Something that could also be ignored, like watching kittens on social networks
These are not fixed and can pass from a grade to the other in any moment, so you should regularly check them and move them when needed.
Moreover, each of us has a moment in the day when the work is easier and ends faster, so keep the moment and don’t waste this useful periods. Take the table with the four stages of urgency and start doing the “urgent and important” tasks, by doing so you will spare time and energies so that you can make more things in a shorter time.
But, what to do when you have something urgent and important that is continuously outdone by something more urgent and more important? The first thing to do is to check twice if it is truly like it seems to you or if you overvalued it.
Psychology offers us some interesting and peculiar tips that, at first glance, could be non-sense, but that sometimes could be the pillars of “time managers”:
- Tidying up is a good habit that characterizes the masters of time management, because clutter is a great distraction for the most of us. The psychological side of the matter is that if you can’t arrange your things properly, then you won’t be able to do it with your duties and responsibilities.
- Procrastination is a discussed topic, sometimes it is useful to relax and say the famous words “I’ll do this later”, but this mustn’t become a habit. When you postpone something regularly there could be two great reasons, the first one is that you have the wrong priorities, the second one could be that you’re planning your tasks to be done in the wrong moment, try to reschedule them and see if you could be more productive in other moments.
- Learning to delegate is the key point in time management: when you can’t do some tasks, just ask someone else to do them for you and you will have more time to complete more duties.
- Multitasking is good only if you’re good at it. If you’re not known for your skills in multitasking, don’t even try to use it for urgent and important duties at the same time. If you try to multitask without knowing how, it will become a time/energy-consuming attempt that probably will fail faster than you think.
- Plan the tasks in the evening, you will be active and already know what to expect from those activities in terms of energy and time investment. Don’t do it in the morning or you will see them as a mountain you should climb in a time that is too short for anybody.
The most useful and nice advice, though, is to start the day in the best way possible, don’t rush, don’t get anxious because of your workload. Just take a breath and start your day knowing that everything will find its space and time.