Time management is one of those skills that you don’t learn in school or university, yet it is one of the most important skills that you must master in order to be successful in today’s competitive workplace.
It doesn’t matter how many years of experience you have or how skilled you are; your inability to manage your time well enough to get your work done will definitely cause numerous difficulties and complications to both your professional and social lives. Careers are made or broken on your ability to handle multiple tasks and manage your time, no matter what type of work you do.
In that regard, I have come up with a number of time management techniques to help you achieve your career goals and maintain a balanced working life.
A) Prioritize tasks with Pareto’s 80/20 principle
Effective time managers are aware of the fact that they cannot do everything that has to be done at once. They prioritize tasks by consciously choosing to spend their time on what is most important to them. The key to effectively time management is to apply the “80/20 Principle”, which states that 80 per cent of your results are produced from 20 per cent of your efforts. This rule will help you discover the percentage of tasks that you need to focus on so as to achieve the greatest returns on your efforts with the limited amount of time that you have.
B) Manage time allocation with Parkinson’s law
Parkinson’s Law states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. It means that the time you need to complete a certain tasks depends on the time you originally give yourself to get it done with. If you give yourself a tight timeline to do something, you won’t start because you implicitly know that the time frame is unrealistic. If you allocate too much time to complete the task, you won’t start either, because you secretly know that you still have a lot of time on your hands.
C) Get it the right the first time with Total Quality Managements
TQM is a process whereby the need to get everything right the first time and to continually improve your production is required. Total Quality Management is not about doing more; it’s about improving the quality of important tasks at hand. This might take a little more time in the beginning but will definitely reduce rework required to fix mistakes and will save a lot of time in the long run.
Contrary to popular belief, time management is not about doing more things in less time, but it’s about doing the right things better. Keep in mind that the more you bite off, the longer you have to chew.
D) Taking control of technology
The internet is definitely one of the top time wasters in today’s corporate world; it can actually consume a whole working day before you even notice. Your email, for example, has grown into a serious time drainer with your inbox getting out of control throughout the day. But just because someone can contact you instantly, it does not mean that you have to reply immediately. Unless you job demands that, do not respond to your emails immediately, instead, assign a few times a day to check it and respond and don’t look at it otherwise.
Whether you feel overwhelmed by your workload or you just want to find an extra few minutes in the day, one fact will always remain the same: we all have the same 24hours and you really can’t manage that time, but you can manage yourself better. If you don’t time will do a pretty good job of managing you.