Time Management

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Introduction and Importance of time management

Time management is a key to academic success. Students around the world learn this sooner or later. The best students are not necessarily those who are intelligent but those who use their time effectively. When you plan your days and weeks in advance, time can be your friend rather than your enemy. And although time management can seem like a pain, once you have mastered this skill, it will enable you to get the most out of life. It can free you to live more effectively, calmly and enjoyably. It can help you get more done with less stress, disorganization and frustration. It can also give you higher marks throughout the school year, as well as on your quizzes, tests, and exams.

Think about it. Have you ever heard of an athlete, even one who is paid millions of dollars a year, playing in a game without showing up for practice? Have you heard of a musician delivering a concert without taking time daily to rehearse? Have you heard of a scientist proclaiming a grand discovery without hundreds of failed trials? All these professionals know that in order to succeed in their professional areas, they have to put in their time.

Unfortunately, millions of students around the world behave otherwise. They appear for exams expecting magic! Without making adequate time to study, they hope to get the highest grades and are then disappointed or ashamed when the results prove otherwise. Frankly, in today’s highly competitive world, if you are lucky enough to be in school, college, or university, you are holding a coveted spot, desired by many. You may have deprived another eager young person from getting admission, because your application appeared more promising, more likely to succeed. So after all the effort to get in, what are you doing about it? Are you making the time to study after working so hard and possibly paying so much to actually get into a particular school?

Once you make the decision, there are a number of excellent time management systems that you can follow. Although these are sometimes expensive or complex, you can achieve your goal by adopting a simple time management approach. 

Time is money! Managers are keenly conscious that time should be effectively used by all staff. The phrase that ‘there is not enough’ time is one that we frequently hear. The reality is that time is often not being utilized to the best advantage, or planned and controlled in an orderly fashion. Managing time means getting more control over how we spend it and there are some straightforward techniques that can be applied. It is chiefly about conditioning our environment rather than allowing our environment to condition us, and not allowing time pressures to build up from the interruptions, questions or demands of others Time management is the act or process of planning and exercising conscious control over the amount of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency or productivity. Crop man showing modern wristwatch with display on foggy day

Time management may be aided by a range of skills, tools, and techniques used to manage time when accomplishing specific tasks, projects and goals complying with a due date. Initially, time management referred to just business or work activities, but eventually the term broadened to include personal activities as well.

A time management system is a designed combination of processes, tools, techniques, and methods. Time management is usually a necessity in any project development as it determines the project completion time and scope. Time management is often considered necessary because (1) available time is limited, (2) time cannot be stored: if unused it is lost forever, (3) one’s goals are usually multiple, sometimes conflict, and not all goals are of equal priority, (4) goals cannot be accomplished without the application of effort, which requires the use of time.

Time management is recognized as a critical factor for determining success in college. High-performing students tend to make a conscious effort to plan and manage their time. Perhaps the main reason more students don’t focus on time management is that it’s not trivial and takes real effort. This chapter will examine some of the important aspects of time management and offer successful strategies that can help you manage your time more efficiently. Let’s start by focusing on schedules and plans.

Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist, discovered this principle in 1897 when he observed that 80 percent of the land in England was owned by 20 percent of the population. It is known as Pareto Principle.

Pareto’s theory of predictable imbalance has since been applied to almost every aspect of modern life. The 80:20 rule states that the relationship between input and output is rarely, balanced. When applied to work it means that approximately 20 percent of your efforts produce 80 percent of the result. According to Pareto Principle, or the 80:20 rule 80% of unfocussed effort generates 20% of the results. The remaining 80% of results are achieved with only 20% of the effort. Cheerful black businessman talking on smartphone in park

  • Features of time
  1. Time is an asset. It is an asst of fictitious nature.
  2. Time is an opportunity. It is a change given to an individual to create, innovate and manufacture something
  3. Supply is limited. Time is limited in its supply.
  4. Three secrets of time management
  5. Value of time- unlike money and material, time once lost cannot be regained or replaced. Time is a resource which can not be substituted.
  6. Time budgeting- more than money, time is to be budgeted properly.
  7. Concentration- is doing one’s immediate duty on hand with proper care and attention. Such care and attention is possible only when a person has concentration in what he does.
  8. Time Management Concept
  • Effective Scheduling:
  • Scheduling is the process by which you look at the time available to you and plan how you will use it to achieve the goals you have set.
  • A schedule is a tool that helps you plan your time and work. Think of it as a time map with every task spread out in plain sight.
  • Since, it is your schedule, you can decide how flexible or rigid the schedule need to be to get tasks done.
  • Importance of Time Management
  • Scheduling and managing time wisely are important for the college student.
  • If you miss important appointments and deadlines you will cause complications to both your academic and social lives.
  • This causes anxiety, frustration, guilt, and other nasty feelings.
  • Time wasters-
  • Indecision
  • Inefficiency
  • Unanticipated interruptions that do not pay off
  • Procrastination
  • Unrealistic time estimates
  • Unnecessary errors
  • Crisis management
  • Poor organization in effective meetings
  • Micro-management
  • Doing urgent rather than important things
  • Poor planning and lack of contingency plans
  • Failure to delegate or delegating without authority
  • Lack of priorities, standards, policies or procedures.
  • Time savers
  • Manage the decision making process; not the decisions
  • Concentrate on doing only one task at a time
  • Establish daily, short-term, mid-term and long-term goals
  • Handle correspondence quickly with short letters or memos
  • Throw unneeded things way
  • Establish personal deadlines and ones for your organization.
  • Do not waste other people’s time
  • Ensure all meeting have a purpose, a time limit, and include only essential people.
  • Get rid of busy work
  • Maintain accurate calendars and abide by them.
  • Know when to stop a task, policy or procedure
  • Delegate everything possible and empower subordinates
  • Keep things simple
  • Ensure time is set aside for high priority tasks
  • Set aside time for reflection
  • Use checklists and to do lists
  • Adjust priorities as a result of new tasks.

Steps towards better Time Management

  1. Know How You Spend Your Time
  2. Keeping a time log helps to determine how you are using your time.
  3.  Record what you are doing for 15-minute intervals for a week or two.
  4. Evaluate the results. Ask if you did everything that was needed; determine which tasks require the most time; determine the time of day when you are most productive; and analyze where most of your time is devoted – job, family, personal, recreation, etc.
  5. Identifying most time-consuming tasks.
  6. Have a good sense of the amount of time required for routine tasks which helps realistic planning and estimating how much time is available for other activities.
  7. Set Priorities
  8. Managing your time effectively requires a distinction between what is important and what is urgent
  9. Experts agree that the most important tasks usually aren’t the most urgent tasks.
  10. While the activities that are both urgent and important must be done,
  11. One of the easiest ways to prioritize is to make a “to do” list.
  12. Whether you need a daily, weekly or monthly list depends on your lifestyle.
  13. You may choose to group items in categories such as high, medium and low, number them in order, or use a

How to Prioritize ?

ABC List An ABC list is an easy way to prioritize a list of tasks. An ABC list works best as a kind of daily “to-do” list where each item is assigned a category: A for MUST be done, B for SHOULD be done, and C for COULD be done. Though this sounds simple, it is a very effective way to keep you focused upon completing tasks that are most important. When you are busy or dreading a particular task, it is sometimes difficult to decide what ought to be done first and what can wait until later. For this reason, it is best to create an ABC task list each morning and revisit and revise it as you move through your day, taking care of “A” items, then “B” items, and finally any “C” items you have time left for. Some people find it helpful to assign an estimation of the time each task will take, allowing them to be more aware of how much time is spent on each type of task. A variation of the ABC list is a task list where each item is assigned a priority rating from 1 to 5, where 1’s are the highest priority and 5’s are the lowest.

  • The “A,B,C,” list is divided into three sections;           A, B, or C.
  • The items placed in the “A” section are those needed to be done that day.
  • The items placed in the “B” section need completion within the week.
  • The items placed in section “C” are those that need to be done within the month.
  • As the items B and C become more pertinent they are   bumped up to the A or B list.
  • Try it ! or come up with your own method, but do it. Color coding system.
  • Having a prioritized “to do” list allows you to say “no” to activities that may be interesting or provide a sense of achievement but do not fit your basic priorities

3. Use a Planning Tool

  • Time management experts recommend using a personal planning tool to improve your productivity.
  • Examples of personal planning tools include electronic
  • planners, pocket diaries, calendars, computer programs, wall charts, index cards and notebooks.
  • Writing down your tasks, schedules, and memory joggers can free your mind to focus on your priorities.
  • Always record your information on the tool itself.
  • Review your planning tool daily.
  • Carry your planning tool with you.
  • Remember to keep a list of your priorities in your planning tool and refer to it often.
  • Get Organized
  • Most people find that disorganization results in poor  time management.
  • Professional organizers recommend that you first get rid of the clutter.
  • A frequently used method is to set up three boxes (or corners of a room) labeled “Keep” – “Give Away” – “Toss.”
  • Separate the clutter by sorting items into these boxes. Immediately discard items in your “Toss” box. Your “Give Away” box may include items you want to sell, delegate, or discontinue so find a method to eliminate these items such as a yard sale, charitable donation, or gifts to friends or family members outside your home.

Basically you have 5 options for handling information: Implement a system that allows you to handle information

  • Throw it away, delete it, or otherwise get rid of it.
  • Delegate it: give it to someone else to do, file, or respond.
  • Act on it yourself. Then throw it away or file it.
  • File it temporarily until it needs action or until additional information is received. Follow-up: a “tickler” file can be useful for holding temporary information.
  • File it permanently where you can easily find it later.
  • Schedule Your Time Appropriately
  • Even the busiest people find time for what they want to do and feel is important.
  • Scheduling is not just recording what you have to do (e.g., meetings and appointments), it is also making a time commitment to the things you want to do.
  • Plan your most challenging tasks for when you have the most energy.
  • Block out time for your high priority activities first and protect that time from interruptions.
  • Try to limit scheduled time to about 3/4ths of your day, leaving time for creative activities such as planning, dreaming, thinking, and reading.
  • Delegate: Get Help from Others
  • It means assigning responsibility for a task to someone else, freeing up some of your time for tasks that require your expertise.
  • Delegation begins by identifying tasks that others can do and then selecting the appropriate person(s) to do them.
  • You need to select someone with the appropriate skills,
  •   experience, interest, and authority needed to accomplish the task.
  • Occasionally check to determine how well the person is progressing and to provide any assistance, being careful not to take over the responsibility.
  • Finally, don’t forget to reward the person for a job well done or make suggestions for improvements if needed.
  • Stop Procrastinating
  • Procrastination usually involves ignoring an unpleasant, but likely more important task, in favor of one that is more enjoyable or easier.
  • Procrastination is the tendency to prevaricate, delay or unreasonably postpone a task. It is a habit that affects everyone to a greater or lesser extent.
  • You may be putting off tasks for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the task seems overwhelming or unpleasant.
  • Try breaking down the task into smaller segments that require less time commitment and result in specific, realistic deadlines.
  • Some ways to stop Procrastination
  • Emotional Time Travel
  • Just Getting Started
  • Doing Easy Things First
  • Take a Walk
  • Set a Hard Deadline
  • Take A Nap
  • Put on Some Music
  • Get Up Early

8. Manage External Time Wasters

  • Your time may be impacted by external factors imposed by other people and things. You can decrease or eliminate time spent in these activities by implementing some simple tips listed below.
  • Telephone calls
  • Set aside time to return calls.
  • Avoid small talk. Stay focused on the reason for the call.
  • Stand up while you talk on the phone. You are more likely to keep the conversation brief.
  • Take any necessary action immediately following the call.
  • Keep phone numbers readily available near the telephone.
  • Have specific time in a day for whatsapp and facebook.
  • Don’t share and forward too much.
  • Black Flat Screen Computer Monitor on Black Wooden Table
  • Unexpected guests
  • Establish blocks of time when you are available for visits.
  • Tell the visitor politely that you cannot meet with them at this time and schedule the visit for a more convenient time.
  • Set a mutually agreeable time limit for the visit.
  • When someone comes to the door, stand up and have your meeting standing.
  • Meetings
  • Know the purpose of the meeting in advance.
  • Arrive on time.
  • Start and end the meeting on time.
  • Prepare an agenda and stick to it. Use a timed agenda, if necessary.
  • Don’t schedule meetings unless they are necessary and have a specific purpose or agenda.
  • Mail and Email
  • Set aside a specific time to view and respond to your mail and e-mail, but don’t let it accumulate to the point that it becomes overwhelming to sort.
  • Turn off instant messaging features on e-mail.
  • Handle each item only once, if possible. Practice the options for dealing with clutter listed earlier.
  • Sort mail near a garbage can and delete junk e-mail immediately from your electronic mailbox.
  • Answer written messages by responding on the margins or bottom of the page.
  • Family obligations
  • Establish a master calendar for each family member to post their time commitments.
  • Make each family member responsible for consulting the master calendar for potential conflicts.
  • Create a central area for posting communications such as appointment reminders, announcements, and messages.
  • Avoid Multi-tasking
    • Recent psychological studies have shown that multi-tasking does not actually save time.
    • You lose time when switching from one task to another, resulting in a loss of productivity
    • Routine multi-tasking may lead to difficulty in concentrating and maintaining focus when needed.
  • Stay Healthy
    • The care and attention you give yourself is an important investment of time.
    • Scheduling time to relax, or do nothing, can help you rejuvenate both physically and mentally, enabling you to accomplish tasks more quickly and easily.
    • Learn to manage time according to your biological clock by scheduling priority tasks during your peak time of day, the time your energy level and concentration are at their best.
    • Poor time management can result in fatigue, moodiness, and more frequent illness.
    • To reduce stress, you should reward yourself for a time management success and exercise daily

11. Don’t be a perfectionist

  • Trying to be a perfect person sets you up for defeat. Nobody can be perfect.
  • Difficult tasks usually result in avoidance and procrastination.
  • You need to set achievable goals, but they should also be challenging.
  • There will always be people both weaker and stronger than you.
  • Learn to say No-
  • For example, an acquaintance of yours would like you to see a movie with him tonight. You really are not interested. You want to say no, but you hate turning people down. Politely saying no should become a habit. Saying no frees up time for the things that are most important.
  • Stop feeling bad– You have the right to say no. You just have to learn how to say it in a way that your colleague  can understand and accept it.
  • Keep your priorities in mind– It is always easier to say ‘no’ when your goals are clear to you. Communicate your reasons for declining a request without feeling guilty.
  • Avoid over explaining yourself.- Keep your explanation short and simple. You just have to say why you’re not willing to do that particular task.
  • Offer an alternative- If saying ‘no’ makes you uncomfortable, you can provide an alternative to making you feel better. For example, if you’re asked to work on a project when you’re not available, you can always recommend other workers. That offers a plan B to the one who requested your help.
  • Just say NO- We often waste too much time wondering how to say no, but in most situations a simple ‘I’m sorry, but I can’t’ is more than enough. Most conflicts exist only in our minds.

Project management. Time Management can be considered to be a project management subset and is more commonly known as project planning and project scheduling. Time Management has also been identified as one of the core functions identified in project management.

Attention management: Attention Management relates to the management of cognitive resources, and in particular the time that humans allocate their mind (and organize the minds of their employees) to conduct some activities.  Attention is the cognitive process of selectively concentrating on one aspect of the environment while ignoring other things. Attention has also been referred to as the allocation of processing resources.

Personal knowledge management: the way workers view time is connected to social issues such as the institution of family, gender roles, and the amount of labor by the individual.

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