Mar 2, 2009

How to Think About Time Management

Our time management skills are a reflection of our individual learning experiences, how we get along with others, how we react to changes when they occur, and our individual personalities. While we all know that there are 24 hours in a day and 7 days a week, we don't all know how to use time effectively. Rather than feeling in control of our time, we can easily feel that we are a slave to time, However, if we take time to stop, think, plan, and organize tasks, we have the opportunity to work with time rather than looking at it as an enemy. This change in our attitude may help us to see time as a resource to be used wisely.

First, with a positive frame of mind, stop and think of the goals that you want to reach, long range or short range. Try to see the path towards your goals in concrete terms or steps. Make an actual list with the tasks to be accomplished. Achievements or aims can be reached by becoming realistic and by knowing your direction. Making a list can make the tasks more concrete and help you to focus energy on completing tasks or projects.

Think about the amount of time it will take to achieve the goal or goals that you are working on. As you begin planning your strategies, you must also look forward and recognize your time frames for individual tasks. It is easy to frustrate ourselves by trying to do more than we can accomplish. If you fall into this trap, initially you may need to break out the amount of time needed to complete each task. While this may sound like an unnecessary extra step, it can be helpful in understanding what we can and can't accomplish in a given amount of time.

Separate the tasks to be completed immediately from the important tasks to insure that the goals at the top of the list are accomplished. This is critical. If we plan to do the most important task last, we run the risk of not getting the most important tasks done and frustrating ourselves.

Be realistic and expect changes. Good time management involves flexibility and open-mindedness. Do not expect that you can finish a task in what you've considered as your time frame unless everything goes perfectly, and for many of us, life rarely follows our individual schedules. Allow some flexibility in your time frame for unforeseen or unexpected circumstances. Giving yourself a little extra flexibility will increase your ability to reach your goals and decrease the chance that you will be frustrated.

Know the time frames when the activity level in the environment shifts to help you make the most of the time you have available. Often a house, or the people in it, will have a time frame when activity is at a higher or lower level. Most offices' have a schedule too. By being consciously aware of these time schedules, you can plan your day and your time more effectively. Make plans. Planning is a way of saving time and preparing you to reach your goals.

Unfortunately, there are often stumbling blocks along the path to success. One of these is the lack of time to complete each task. In addition, the improper use of time, the wrong utilization of resources, or the undertaking of unnecessary tasks within a given period of time can all lead us astray. Often, people are not able to accurately estimate the proper amount of time to complete a given project, or because of unforeseen circumstances and delays that pop up in our lives, a project can take much longer than we plan on. Our ability to react and change directions when these situations occur can determine if we can or can't reach the goals that we are working towards.

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