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Paul Abraham: Managing your time better

By Paul Abraham, of www.headingonwards.com

As we start a New Year and enter another “lockdown”, this is the ideal time to take stock and think of how you can manage your time better. Here are some of the reasons which could be stopping you maximising and getting the most from your time.

Relying on “mythical time”

If you sometimes tell yourself that you will have more time later and then put off completing the work to be done, you are relying on mythical time.  When you do so, you squander the real time available to you for completing the work.

Underestimating the demands on your time

We sometimes think we can do more than we actually can either because we are less efficient than we think we are or we have less free time than we recognise.  Don’t make the mistake of failing to expect the unexpected. 

In addition to your routine daily tasks you must also expect telephone calls, visitors and the odd accident, consider all of these as part of your daily routine.

Job creeping

If you fail to complete a job before agreeing or deciding to take on another, you may find yourself creeping from one job to the next and getting further and further behind.  This may cause you to rush through your jobs making mistakes and costing yourself time and money.  Don’t be a job creeper.

Job hopping

Job hopping is jumping from one job to another because of poor concentration, too many deadlines to meet, and little sense of priority.  You may have a good idea, but lose the thread of it because you forget to write it down and your mind is too full to remember it.  Avoid being a job hopper.

Ignoring reality

Even the most successful people have limitations on both time and energy.  You may want to be involved in doing so many things, especially when people request your help or advice, you may feel flattered and see your involvement as an opportunity for personal improvement or to help others.  By ignoring the reality of you own limitations, however, you may overextend yourself, which will adversely effect both you and others.

So now we understand how our time management skills could be holding us back in many areas of our life, here are things you can do to manage your time better and more efficiently.

  • Set aside time each day to plan the next day’s jobs and commitments.
  • Plan by clearly defining your goals for the immediate future.  Write down your weekly plans and review them at least once a week.  Mark off those jobs which have been completed.
  • Set realistic goals.  It’s good to aim high but not so high that your goals become impossible to achieve.  Be realistic, not only about the number of jobs you take on, but also about the amount of time each job will require.
  • Determine what jobs must be done and how much time each job will take.  Give all the other jobs a lower priority, working only on them when the “must do” jobs are completed.
  • Set limits.  Do not take on more jobs unless you know you will have spare time after completing your “must do” jobs.
  • Develop systems for completing routine work efficiently.
  • Control your time as much as possible.  Create periods when you are inaccessible except for emergency. 
  • Develop concentration skills.  Planning and efficient processing of routine work demand that you be able to concentrate.
  • Record important detail by writing them down in a journal or diary.
  • Slow down and regroup when you feel overwhelmed.  Refine your goals, develop your plans and prioritise your jobs.

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