Personal Time Management
April 1, 2020 - April 1, 2020
Time management skills are your abilities to recognise and solve personal time management problems. The goal of these time management lessons is to show you what you can do to improve those skills.
MANAGE YOUR TIME DEADLINES
With good time management skills you are in control of your time and your life, of your stress and energy levels. You make progress at work. You are able to maintain balance between your work, personal and family lives. You have enough flexibility to respond to surprises or new opportunities.
All time management skills are learnable. More than likely you will see much improvement from simple becoming aware of the essence and causes of common personal time management problems. With these time management lessons, you can see better which time management techniques are most relevant for your situation.
Just get started with them. Many of your problems gradually disappear.
If you already know how you should be managing your time, but you still don’t so it, don’t give up. What you may be overlooking is the psychological side of your time management skills, psychological obstacles hidden behind your personality.
Depending on your personal situation, such obstacles may be the primary reason why you procrastinate, have difficulties saying no, delegating, or making time management decisions.
The psychological component of you time management skills can also be dealt with. The time management skills information below will point at a relevant solution for your situation.
HOW TO WRITE AN ACTION PLAN
When writing an action plan to achieve a particular goal or outcome, you can get much more help from the following steps.
- Clarify your goal. Can you get a visual picture of the expected outcome? How can you see if you have reached your destination? What does make your goal measurable? What constraints do you have, like the limits on time, money, or other resources?
- Write a list of actions. Write down all actions you may need to achieve your goal. At this step focus on generating and writing as many different options and ideas as possible. Take a sheet of paper and write more and more ideas, just as the come to your mind. While you are doing this, try not to judge or analyze.
- Analyze, prioritize and prune. Look at your list of actions. What are the absolutely necessary and effective steps to achieve your goal? Mark them somehow. After that, what action items can be dropped from in the plan without significant consequences for the outcome? Cross the out.
- Organize your list into a plan. Decide on the order of your action steps. Start from looking at your marked key actions. For each action, what other steps should be completed before that action? Rearrange you actions and ideas into a sequence of ordered action steps. Finally, look at your plan once again. Are there any ways to simplify it even more?
- Monitor the execution of your plan and review the plan regularly. How much have you progresses towards your goal by now? What new information you have got? Use this information to further adjust and optimize your plan.
TIME LOG TECHNIQUES
Time tracking with a time log is much more than a boring exercise in book keeping. If you approach it right, it will become a very effective time management learning tool. A few minutes of writing and analyzing your time and activity logs will eliminate many hours of wasted time.
EMBRACE THE REALITY OF YOUR PERSONAL TIME
Unless this has already happened to you before, your time log is more than likely to surprise you. You will see how much time is wasted in many unexpected ways. Often it appears that the busier you feel the more time is wasted.
Another important discovery is how much time things really take. One of the most common problems in personal time management is underestimating the time needed for each specific activity. First this is one of the reasons why planning and scheduling do not seem to work well for some people. If you always expect much more than you can fit in your time, than writing plans and to do lists just gets you more stressed.
Get a realistic picture of your time and your will feel much more in control. In fact, you will move much faster with less stress.
PREPARING AND WRITING YOUR TIME LOG
You don’t need to keep writing a time log permanently. It is sufficient to do it for 3-7 days, and repeat this procedure time after time. Yet, when you write a time log, make sure you don’t miss any even minor activity. Don’t let your time wasters to hide there. So that not to waste much time writing time tracking records, take a little preparation step. Take a sheet of paper and divide it into columns named like:
- People (involved)
Then continue with the activities you would normally do that day. On the way, update your time log. Do it either every time you switch to a new activity or at some short time intervals, like 10-20 minutes. Add entries to your “Time” and “Activities” column, and try to put marks like “Yes” or “No” in the “Scheduled”, “Interrupted”, and “Urgent” columns. Where relevant, make short notes on what people you spend time with too.
DOES YOUR TIME LOG TELL YOU?
When you have your time log written, you can move to the most important part, the analysis. Review your records and try to get answers to the following questions.
- What percentage of your time is spent in each different area of your life? How is it divided between work, business, family, recreational, spiritual, health?
- What percentage of your activities is important?
- Are urgent?
- What people you spend more time with?
- What percentage of your activities goes as planned?
- What are main interruptions?
Then think of possible adjustments and action steps. For example:
- Are there any activities you can cut back on?
- Is there anything you can delegate or simplify?