The Art Of Time Management: My Own Experiences
Over the last two weeks I’ve been looking at time management. Firstly, I looked at the misconception that there is never enough time in the day. I found that the more time we have the more likely we are to waste it anyway. As one comment said, even if we had 48 hours in the day we’d still want more. With this in mind I started looking at what it takes to use your time better by looking at the two building blocks of good time management; being effective and efficient. To conclude I want to take a look at how I personally manage my time using those two principles, so that you have a better idea of what is involved. Excuse all the links in this post but to avoid repeating stuff I think it’s better if I point you to other posts dedicated to the various topics rather than rehashing it here. I hope it proves useful for you.
The critical first step is to be effective. Use that 80/20 rule to cut out stuff you don’t need to do and the work that has low value. In my previous posts I gave an example of how I cut out an hobby that was no longer providing me with any real satisfaction, but it doesn’t just have to be specific tasks that you remove, it can also be when you do those tasks. I used to try and clean my home everyday. I’d experiment with efficient ways of doing this, ranging from working on one room per day to designing a rota. Then i applied the 80/20 rule. I didn’t have guests coming round everyday so why did it have to be spotless all the time? It was lots of effort for little gain. When people are coming around is when cleaning up becomes a high value task. Working that out saved me a lot of time. If you want any extra help with this, a good aid that I’ve developed to determining high value work and when to actually do it is with my prioritizing by needs method. In fact the efficiency tip, Parkinson’s law, is very much tied up in this method. If I can put something off till it needs doing, without causing any stress than I will do.
I could go on and on about all the little tweaks in my life that have contributed in some way to helping me to do the important stuff in my life consistently and in an economical fashion, but one of my favorite tips for being efficient is simply to break work down into bitesize chunks. Regular readers will know how much I recommend doing that so I won’t rant about it here again, just be sure to give it a try. I have several weekly tasks to do for maintaining this blog and because I break them down and spread them out over the week things never get boring. In fact I use a basic rule; never do more than one bitesize task in a row from the same project. It keeps things fresh and allows me to spread my workload out over the week. My weekly planner is ideal for this, it enables me to manage my workload without any extra garbage distracting me. Never rely exclusively on your head!