Introduction As with many other books on Management, there are many books on Time Management. However, this is a hugely personal asset and this should be managed effectively at the personal level. Of course, our interaction with society is inevitable, but we need to somehow do it. Time Management is an art. Once again, personal observation of winners is a huge imperative. Here, the focus is on a) Identifying how we spend time b) Identifying personal time wasters c) Adding life to years d) Setting short term objectives and long term goals and e) review of all activities.
Identifying how we spend time We often hear people saying "it just goes" or "it just happens", when referring to their ways of spending time. Quiz them further and you will notice that they are less motivated people in life and ones who have pessimistic mentalities. We should avoid them.
We just need to take stock of how we spend a full day and the hours we spend on each activity. Once the documentation is done, we would have taken the first step in more Effective Time Management. This is a huge imperative, as it is unique to ourselves. We have reached here, through some efforts. We always need a move on, to better pastures, a better and brighter tomorrow. We can get this move on done effectively, only if we identify the "how" of our actual time management.
Identifying personal time wasters This is no rocket science. It is deceptively simple. We have the cell phone which is the worst distraction. We sometimes spend time gossiping in offices. Or, we spend huge time in pleasing our bosses. Or we spend huge time in fighting with our wives. Or, we would be spending too much time reading about political matters, which is absolutely useless, anyway.
So, as a further extension of step one, if we are able to zero in on all the unwanted and wasteful time wasters, we can easily eliminate these one by one. For example, as an immediate baby step, the time spent on reading the newspaper or magazines about political affairs can be cut down by as much as fifty percent.
If it is a student in a college, a whole lot of time is wasted in impressing girls, or trying to desperately have a boy or a girl friend. Many love affairs land up in a huge amount of time wasted on the absolutely wasteful activities.
Once again, we need to put down everything on paper. It should be noted that this is a hugely personal task. The entire thing should be confidential and should be shared only with those who can help us in more effective Time Management. It should not be revealed to anyone.
Adding life to years At the world famous Loyola College, Chennai, almost every teacher would say, "add life to your years, not years to your life". Completely eliminating time on some time wasters is a must. For example, the time we spend on gossip. Similarly, the time we spend on the cell phones or watching you tube videos.
Adding life to years is a huge task and it is easier said than done. This can and should happen, as a natural follow up of step two. How does one do this? The first step is to take a big vow to change. It should not be something like "I will throw away all the old and be a totally new person". This is as ridiculous as it can ever get. It has to be a gradual transformation over a period of twelve to twenty four months. However, conscious efforts to cut down on the personal time wasters is a big must. It should happen everyday, and it be result oriented.
For example, it should be noted down that you have spent just ten minutes reading political affairs. Or just twenty minutes over the cell phone, in place of the one hour on previous occasions. It is possible. The wasteful conversations can be cut down with a simple "I am busy now. I will call you back". Never call back. The opposite guy who was wasting your time for so many years will simply hang up. Reserve a couple of minutes to say hello, even if you bump into him in a shopping center on the weekends.
Now, the crux. Wanting to change is a deeply emotional and sometimes painful decision, but it should happen. The feeling of being empowered and saying "I can do it" is the most important thing. The planning for more constructive things should start now. The vast canvas of what has to be done, is hugely personal and person-specific.
Let us take a student in class ten. He nurtures an ambition to crack the IIT examination and go abroad for a MS and a doctorate in robotics, from the USA. It is his passion. He is based in a small town like Tirunelveli, a small town in South Tamil Nadu. Chances are that his environment would not support him. So, coming to Chennai for the plus two education is step one. Step two is to undergo a massive transformation in the way he spends time. Going through the steps outlined above will help, but his immediate task is to not only feel empowered, but also take on all the challenges of a metro life. This is exactly where his challenge will take him to. Which is the gateway to the next step of setting short term objectives and long term goals.
Setting short term objectives and long term goals Though this step looks like codified common sense, it is not so. Take the above example. The boy is now in the metro city of Chennai, in the midst of people who speak and write superb English. Our guy is okay. So, the first goal would be a) catching up on the spoken English gap within six months. This is a positive time bound objective. In addition to the regular school work, the boy has to really put in a huge amount of hard work, like learning new words, speaking with other students, rubbing shoulders with knowledgeable elders and so on. Noting down whatever has been done, will help the student also plan for better time management.
Once he is able to focus on all his tasks, allocating time to each important task becomes very easy. However, it should be noted that the will power of the person is also key. Any let up will pull him down on effective Time Management. Furthermore, time spent in the coaching center would also eat into his time. So, the boy should plan action-packed eighteen hour days and months. Every single minute will take him closer to the goal.
Setting goals and objectives is hugely person-specific. There cannot be any prescriptions. However, every single objective and a long term goal, over a period of say, ten years, should be very specific. For example, a meaningful goal would be "I want to get into agriculture part-time and will get this done in three years time". Since this is still not taxed, many wise individuals are directly into it. However, a training in organic farming methods for a period of eight months, at least for seven hours on all week ends and holidays is a must.
This is exactly how people who have got into it are doing it, or have done it. A friend of mine purchased two acres in a remote village near a district headquarters town. He did mention the above objective and I thought he was just joking. Three years down the line, he has fifty teak wood trees planted there and has learned the nuances of organic farming. He is learning everyday.
So, what happened? It is the seriousness of purpose that has helped him do it within the time frame of three years. It is another story that the area itself has become very costly now, thanks to a new bus route that has now opened up. So, it does seem that luck favors the brave as well! Time Management can be effective if we learn some lessons from such people.
Review of all activities Constant review of all Time Management activities is a must. What has happened to us as individuals, who have worked so long with some plans and documentation? Review every fifteen days is a must to further fine-tune the process. Of course, eighteen hour days are quite common in our lives. But how we spend these eighteen hour days is a key component of our success. Often a good goal, like entering into agriculture, can teach us huge lessons in Time Management. This is because we have got into a new orbit of different activities.
Conclusion If we take constructive action on each of the aforesaid steps, more meaningful actions will follow as a natural consequence. The "move on" would be better. Some improvisations like cutting down on commuting time, by searching for a rented house near the place of work, can help a great deal too.
As already mentioned, everything is person-specific. We should go through the steps and formulate our own action plans.
It is a very nicely written article which is going to help all those readers who complain of lack of time. It is not time’s fault but ours that we cannot accomplish the necessary tasks at required hours. Not knowing the skill of time management is the real reason behind the mess.
We all are using time but instead of using it productively, we are wasting it to a large extent and then we complain that we do not have enough time to complete so and so activity. It is because we are not productively using the available time. The environment in which we work is full of distractions. These distractions are the main reasons which steal our precious time from us. Thus, we need to create a suitable work environment for ourselves. We need to surround ourselves with the entities which motivate us and help us work better. We need to keep the distractions as much away from ourselves as possible. Distractions can be anything from televisions to mobiles and from unwanted gossips to unwanted thoughts that keep lingering in our minds.
We need to prioritize our tasks. It is best to create a list of to-do tasks. The most important ones should be written above and the least important ones should rank low in the list. Thus, we will be able to pay more concentration and finish the most important tasks first that cannot be delayed further. The least important ones can be later conveniently completed. It sounds simple but it is the most effective time management tip that can be practised in lives.
There are lots of do’s and don’ts when it comes to time management. However, multitasking is a strict no if we need to learn the skill of time management and finish every task efficiently. Multitasking does not help to manage time. It no way helps in completing more amount of work in the small amount of time. It rather hinders the productivity.
For a very successful life, time management is very important. As far as an individual is concerned, from the studentship onwards one has to plan how to use the available time fruitfully. Of course, during the studentship period, the child will be controlled and guided by parents and teachers. Since studying is the major work, the planning of the time must be done with more attention being given to studies. It does not mean that one need not look into other things. Every person will have certain other things which are to be attended by oneself. So naturally, every day certain period must be set apart for that. Then comes the routine personal needs.
After the classes, the afternoons/ evenings may be used for purposes like reading newspapers/ magazines etc., playing indoor /outdoor games or an evening walk. Come back after that and have a bath. Now it would be the time for doing the homework for the next day. This may consume the time till supper. After supper, the study can be continued by way of revising the day's class works. Also revision of certain tough topics can be done during this time. This can go up to the sleep time. A minimum of six hours can be allotted for sleep. It would be better to spend some time in the morning for bodily exercises. Preparation for that day's classes can be done before and after the breakfast.
For an employed person also the time schedule can be more or less the same. However the works done in between will vary based on the nature of employment. Again a family person will have to make certain modifications in available time.
It is important to plan the day based on the nature and need of the day as far as possible.
Time management is very important for a person to be successful in the life. The total time available and how best we can utilize the same without wasting it is the key to the success of an individual. Everyday activities are to be planned and a programme is to be made based on the projected works and time required for each job. Some people, without having any plans, unnecessarily waste their time spending a long time on a simple task.