Introduction to Time Management Strategies
Before we look at the different time management strategies, let us first understand the concept of Time Management. Linkin Park, the famous world-renowned American rock band, had once told in one of his compositions, ‘that all he knew was that time is the most valuable thing that could fly by as easily just as the pendulum swings. He wanted to encapsulate in this line the single most concern of every human being – scarcity of time. Somewhere from ‘Time is money to ‘Time is more valuable than money, we can finally call ourselves an evolved species. The term time management is hence of very much relevance nowadays.
When you know that the second you are passing just now gave you just one opportunity to live in it, it becomes quintessential to make full of it. The way we manage our time typically decides how successful we are going to be. Winners hence know when they are wasting time and when they have time to waste. This is where time management strategies come to our rescue.
Time management – A never-ending quest.
Constant practice of using the available time more productively and effectively can be considered as Time Management. The most important thing one needs to understand is that the amount of time one gets will always be limited. When you think of any moment as reducing the balance from your bank account, you truly understand its value. Time management in such cases pushes you to achieve more at the same time.
Steps of Time Management Strategies for Student
Mentioned below is a 4 step process that comes in handy when one thinks about Time Management strategies for students:
1. Objectify – Why are you doing all this?
The goal with which you start needs to be clear. Resource optimization is effective only when objectives are clear. Unfortunately, many people start their time management with unrealistic objectives and end up stressing out.
Strategy – Start small to achieve big. Keep simple and achievable milestones.
This has two important benefits:
- Your confidence remains high as you don’t lose sight of your goal.
- It becomes easy for you to track your progress.
2. Prioritize – What is necessary vs What is important?
You can’t reach Everest in one step; remember this. The process of time management has to have clear prioritization of tasks. All company websites mention vision and mission statements. It comes out of the idea of prioritization. Not all tasks are needed to be done at once. One needs to be crisp in defining the steps in his time management journey. As explained by Vilfredo Pareto, 80 percent of activities have resulted from 20 percent of all efforts; milestones are needed to be planned accordingly.
Strategy – Eisenhower Matrix is considered to be one of the best methods in the process of prioritization. This matrix divides all the tasks on the basis of urgency and importance. Thus, the x-axis has ‘Urgent’ and ‘Not Urgent’, while Y-axis consists of ‘Important’ and ‘Not Important’. Four quadrants thus formed give us a clear picture about tasks we need to do now, tasks we need to delegate, tasks we need to decide upon, and finally, tasks we need to avoid.
3. Execute – The difficult part
All strategies are just a piece of paper when they are not executed properly. Many a time, we hear people complaining about procrastination. It is one of the most predominant reasons for tasks to fail. Executing the prioritized tasks in due time hence becomes our major step in time management.
Strategy – Cyril Parkinson, in one of his explanations, mentioned the importance of constraints. He observed that work is usually expanded to the time available for its completion. What is hence becomes necessary is the self-imposing of deadlines. It brings you out of the procrastination cycle and also pushes you to do your work creatively. As Bill Gates had once said that he would always prefer a lazy person to work on a difficult job as only a lazy person can find the easiest way to do it.
Another strategy that helps in execution is the habit of taking breaks. It acts as a pressure release button when you take regular breaks during long work hours. 25 Minutes are usually considered to be an ideal time for one to remain focused on the same thing.
4. Review – Be ready for contingencies
No matter however prepared we keep ourselves, life gives a turn in such a way that all our planning goes haywire. The effectiveness of a plan is not getting good results. It is rather in avoiding bad results. Getting alternative/backup plans ready in such scenarios becomes a wise thing to do.
Strategy – Stress build-up due to multiple pipelined objectives has become the most common reason to fail for people trying to manage their time. Forcing yourself to do a particular task usually develops unnecessary stress. This can lead to poor performance. What becomes useful in such matters is a small dose of distraction. If you have contingency plans ready and you feel like losing track while on the path of doing something, distract yourself completely. This acts as a solid stress buster. This distraction, however, should not be very long. One needs to come back to working mode quickly after this distraction.
The above-mentioned four steps may seem very straightforward, but its’ impact has demonstrated successful results in many peoples’ endeavors. Time management is a skill or an art that each one of us should master right early in our growing up years- of doing a large number of things to achieve a few common goals within the stipulated period of time. The key element to be considered here is segregating all your work into a pipeline and ranking them in priority order. There may be times when some work, in spite of not being very important, needs to take very little time to be submitted. In such a case, it is totally fine if we break the priority rule and switch to the lower-ranked tasks first, as it gives a boost to finish other commitments as early as possible. While time remains the most valuable asset for mankind, I hope these four steps help you manage it well to achieve your goals within time.
This has been a guide to Time Management Strategies. Here we discuss the process which comes in handy when one thinks about Time Management. You may also look at the following articles to learn more –
- Prince2 in project management
- Why is Project Management Important
- Scope for Management
- Stress Management at Workplace