By Daniel Val
You may think time management means scheduling every waking minute and putting yourself on an assembly line type of schedule. Actually, done correctly, time management can free you to do non-work activities that give your life balance.
1. Define long-term, written goals. Unless you want to be like the man who jumped on a horse and galloped off in all directions, you need to establish long term, written goals. Then, you need short term, written goals that will help you to achieve each of your long term goals. One of your long term goals should be to maintain the strength of your positive family bonds. Another of your long term goals should be to maintain your mental and physical health. Quality time with your family and personal exercise time require you to set aside definite time periods to achieve these two goals.
2. Delegation of duties is a time saver. Why should you perform clerical duties that, for example, a clerical assistant or a lower level professional can do for you more cheaply? Time is money, and your time is worth too much to do what you can hire someone else to do more cheaply. Even a part time assistant can be a great time and money saver. There are firms that specialize in contracting out part time workers. Also, you can Google the Internet to find independent part timers.
3. Don’t schedule your weekly and daily work tasks too tightly. Leave time for the unexpected. Murphy’s Law states, “If something can go wrong, it will go wrong, and at the worst possible moment.” Customer service, family relations, and your mental and physical health all can suffer from too tightly packed a work schedule.
4. Eliminate or minimize distractions. If you dedicate definite times for your family members, they will be more understanding when you tell them of your need for privacy and focus during your work hours.
5. Don’t put off doing large, difficult tasks. Break them into smaller, more manageable tasks, and do these small tasks one at a time. Do these difficult tasks during the peak energy periods of your day.
6. Arrange your work space. The items you use most often should be situated closest to you. For example, if you use a file often, it should be within reaching distance. If you consult a manual infrequently, it can be on a shelf within walking distance of your desk chair.
7. Try to find a way to combine tasks. For example, you can combine your aerobic exercise (walking) with self-improvement study by walking and listening to audiotapes on your walkman or downloads on your MP3 player. As another example, if you have to make a trip by car, wait until you have more than one task to accomplish. You will save not only time, but gas, which is very expensive.
8. Try to follow the “one touch” rule. That is, read it, and then file it, act on it, or trash it. Many people who do not follow this rule have so much paper on their desks that they cannot see their desk tops.
9. Occasionally, do a daily work log. If you record your daily work activities and how much time you have spent on them, you may be surprised. Some of your less productive activities may be consuming more of your time than is necessary or profitable. The 80/20 rule holds that 20 percent of your work activities may be giving you 80 percent of your profits. Thus, you want to spend as much time as possible on your more profitable activities.
10. Set aside time to learn and grow. Learn about topics such as stress management, personal organization, and problem solving. These are other ways to work smarter. HBM
Daniel Vale is a home-based writer.