‘Don’t waste your time doing things that can be done by others’
“The bad news is time flies.
The good news is you’re the pilot.”
In today’s fast paced world where time is money, most people rush frantically through their day with heaped up schedules and chasing deadlines. Living under time pressure, their lives are ruled by the clock and the calendar.
From the days when time was marked by the passing of seasons, when there was plenty of leisure time and one looked for ways to ‘kill’ time, we have come to an age where most people struggle to get hold on time, are constantly engaged in an unending race against time and are desperately seeking measures to help them save time.
Roosevelt once remarked, "Never before have we had so little time in which to do so much."
Most people have a nagging feeling that they have too much work to do, too many commitments to fulfill and just not enough time at their disposal. They find it hard to keep up with the ever increasing work load and wish there were more hours in the day. Adam Hochschild’s words rightly sum up their predicament, “Work is hard, distractions are plentiful and time is short.”
Time indeed is precious and if valued properly can mean all the difference between the successful and the unsuccessful.
Contrary to what many people might think, the work day is long, tiring and frustrating not because of the huge amount of work but because of the poor time management. William Penn was right when he pointed out: “Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.”
Life in general has become hectic and the world has turned competitive. Every second counts. If you want to score over others and stay ahead in the race, you need to not only ‘work hard’ but ‘work smart’ by managing your time wisely.
Peter Drucker once said, "Time is the scarcest resource available." But the truth remains that there are twenty-four hours in a day and that is a lot of time if used judiciously.
Time management is just a resolve away and can begin as soon as you make up your mind to get started on it. The first and the foremost thing to do is to keep a log for a few days and watch how you spend your time. Once you evaluate that, you will cease to drift around killing time and begin making deliberate choices about how you are going to spend your time.
Someone has brilliantly put the essence of time management as follows: “What comes first, the compass or the clock? Before one can truly manage time (the clock), it is important to know where you are going, what your priorities and goals are, in which direction you are headed (the compass).”
So before you set out to manage time, craft a vision for your future. Then give yourself long-term and short-term goals in keeping with that vision. Goals are important for managing your time because they give you a direction to move in and a destination to work towards.
Faulty time management is more often than not the result of faulty work habits. Don’t begin work before you have planned properly. Meticulous planning is important; preparation time is never wasted.
Like Victor Hugo said, “He who every morning plans the transaction of the day and follows out the plan, carries a thread that will guide him through the labyrinth of the most busy life.”
Plan your day. Prepare your ‘to-do” list first thing in the morning. Have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish during the day. Then lay out your tasks and work to deadlines. Carry out work in segments; break a larger task into smaller easily achievable tasks. Make sure you track your time and proceed through the day as per your priorities.
Don’t carry out tasks back to back or work for long periods of time. Give sufficient time in between two tasks. Take short breaks to keep yourself relaxed.
Discipline is the soul of time management. Don’t give in to temptations. Don’t let low priority things and distractions side-track you. Don’t procrastinate. Tackle important tasks right away. Most important - don’t waste your time doing things that can be done by others or should not be done at all.
Don’t overwork. Plan your leisure time as well. Maintain a healthy lifestyle, eat proper and take plenty of rest. This will keep the stress away, avoid burnout and help you improve your focus while sustaining your enthusiasm leading to a greater efficiency.
Time management is not just about ‘having’ time. It is about making the best use of time and translating it into positive results. As Henry David Thoreau said, “It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?”
The Author is a Motivational Counselor, Speaker, Ophthalmologist, and Author of 'Principles of Success Made Easy-14 Easy Steps to Climb the Ladder of Success'