Managing Your Time – Its tough but not impossible

By Danish Imtiaz Gangani

The writer is a Manager, Career Development Center and a Trainer at IBA, Karachi and a certified NLP practitioner by the American Board of Neuro-Linguistic Programing (ABNLP).

We've all heard ourselves say it: "There's never enough time!" Truth is that we all have 24 hours each day and what we accomplish during that 24-hour period depends on our own motivation, our energy, our skills & abilities and other resources. Most people think that 'Time Management is Common Sense but Beware – Common sense is not so common!' Many students discover the need to develop or work on their time management skills when they arrive at college. Unlike school where teachers frequently structured your assignments and classes filled your day, in college, you will have less in-class time, more outside of class work, and a great deal of freedom and flexibility. This article will provide you with tips for managing your time well so you can get the most out of your time.

Since there are always demands on your time, it may be helpful to think about what you will do with your time and to consider some strategies for more effective time management. Time management is not a way to make you work harder and longer, but a mean to help you work smarter to accomplish your work more easily and rapidly. If you can manage your time more effectively, you will be rewarded in a variety of ways like:

  • You will achieve greater success in your very important and highly visible role
  • On a personal level, you will certainly feel healthier, more energetic, and generally in a better mood to serve yourself and people around you
  • You would have more creative time that allows you to find creative solutions to your problems, achieve better quality of work and time to spend with the people you love

However, there are lot of things that make it difficult for us to manage our time effectively which includes unclear objectives, disorganization of work, inability to say "no", internal and external interruptions, periods of inactivity, trying too many things at once, stress and fatigue. Therefore; it is really very important to recognize the existing obstacles, identify them and devise some practical strategies to overcome those obstacles. Here are some strategies you can use to overcome the obstacles mentioned above:

Goal Setting:
The first and most important strategy you can apply to manage your time is to set clear goals for yourself. Obviously, there are many things you want to accomplish in your life though, best favor you can do for yourself is to determine what those goals are and make sure your efforts are always directed toward their achievements. Keep in mind that the goals must be SMART i.e.: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time bounded.

Planning and Organizing
Take a few minutes, preferably the night before, to plan out every activity of the coming day. Always work from a list. Always think on paper. This is one of the most powerful and important disciplines of all for high performance.

Priority Setting
The essence of all time management, personal management, and life management is contained in your ability to set the proper priorities on the use of your time. This is essential for high performance. Personally, I would advise you to work on 4D formula when you are prioritizing your work. There are tasks that you have to 'DO' yourself while you can 'Delegate' some tasks to others. Similarly, there are tasks you can 'Delay' whereas there exist few which should be 'Deleted' from your list (I call them 'time eaters').

Concentration on your Highest-Value Activities
Your ability to work single-mindedly on your most important task will contribute as much to your success as any other discipline you can develop.

Learn when to say "NO"
You can't do anything. Don't undertake things you can't complete and remain consistent to your goals. When you learn to say "NO" you are not closing the door on your responsibilities, but rather you are making sure that you can meet your commitments and accomplish the maximum possible in the time available to you.

Use your waiting time
Another time management skill is to make good use of your "waiting time." Have you ever thought about how much time you spend doing nothing during an average day? Usually this is not a situation where you planned to do nothing; it just happened. There are two ways to look at these periods of time. You can either consider them as "waste of time" or as "gifts of time." If you choose to think of them as gifts of time, you can use them as opportunities to accomplish routine tasks that are necessary, but don't require large periods of time.

Consider your personal prime time
Are you one of those people who gets up before the sun rises and starts working? Is the early evening, after the evening meal, your time to work? Or are you someone who prefers to wait until the quiet of the late night hours to do the really hard tasks?

Everyone is different. Most research shows that tasks that take the most mental concentration are most effectively accomplished early in the day, but even these studies acknowledge that this is not always true, and that everyone has a "personal prime time." That's why it is important to identify that time and plan your most challenging tasks there.

The list of people who can benefit from better time management is a long one, and includes students, teachers, workers, managers, business owners, artists, musicians, contractors, engineers etc. The fact is, nearly everyone can benefit from learning the principles and techniques of how to be better stewards of time

Danish Imtiaz Gangani

Manager, Career Development Center and a Trainer at IBA, Karachi

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