8 PRACTICAL TIME MANAGEMENT AND CONTROL SKILLS
Have you been so overwhelmed by the thoughts of not being able to handgrip your time properly? Well then, welcome on board, we sure are in the same boat.
The human creature is so different in the coding sequence of their various genes which is the unique factor that creates uniqueness in every one of us. So, this means that no two human beings are the same. However, we all have a synonymous dysfunctional mind that can’t seem to get things in their places. Deep down, there are several things we really want to get hold of. But somehow that little wish of ours is distorted by our very own thoughts, and that makes the wish a fairytale. One of such things is TIME.
Time utterly controls everything. It controls change, season, climate, and all other things. It is the reason anything and everything can be and is done. Time can be a friend—if properly managed and controlled—and it can also be an enemy—if it suffers from proper management. It is now up to us to decide if we want to be friends with it, by gaining total control of it or create a foe in it. Well, obviously every one of us wants to be “friends” with time. We want to so manage it and keep it under control, and that my dear friend is very much possible.
Just like every other skill, time management and control skill is a skill that can be learned and mastered. This kind of skill is a very salient one because, without it, every other skill will not yield productivity. So, learning how you can effectively and efficiently manage time is necessary. Ironically, you need time to be able to manage time, so exhibiting patient is of the essence.
Here are 8 practical time management and control skills that you can apply in your life for an apparent change:
In the real sense, we really can’t control or manage time. What we often tagged as “Managing of time” is actually “Managing of ourselves”.
Learning how to manage yourself – this includes putting your life in order, arranging your stuff, doing things on time and others—is a key step in gaining control of your time. You’ve to put in a deliberate effort to align and array your life in the order you want it to be. Nobody can actually help you control your life– you alone can do that. Managing yourself involves a frequent survey of your activities and noting the ones of great importance.
A little exercise you can undertake to help you manage yourself: write out all your habits, routines, schedules, tasks and every other thing you do with your time. Examine closely, each of the items on the list. Anyone that isn’t adding any productive value in your life should be prune away immediately.
Now, I know that habits formed over a long time—especially bad ones—are difficult to change or stop. But just know that it’s possible. Don’t be afraid of cutting out things that waste time unnecessarily in your life. Initially, it will hurt and you would even be tempted to go back on that activity, but you’ve to know that it will pay off much more later on.
Friends and families also have a role to play in your time management. You may have set out a time to do a particular task that is productive, but then a close friend comes to you insisting you both go visiting. Now, it is always hard to turn people down, especially if they are close to you.
But you can do it in a nice way that wouldn’t hurt the person or even you. Make your intentions known to the person, tell him/her how you would love to go but, you’ve got a more important task on your hands. If the person really values and respect you, he/she will accept your decision with a clear and open heart, and in the end, nobody gets hurt.
By the time you’ve been able to successfully manage yourself and everything you do, you’ll see that you’ll then begin to gain more time to yourself than you have ever in your entire life.
BECOME AN EARLY-RISER
Rising early is one of those numerous tasks that we find difficult to do, even if we decide to start doing it, we can’t really keep up with it—even with alarms—we just can’t bear the thought of getting up early.
Rising in the early morning is one of the habits of people who can effectively manage and control their time. The secret behind waking up earlier in the morning is that you tend to gain more minutes or even hours to yourself before you begin your day. This habit really helps the mind to fully activate and be present in all you do at the moment.
Part of the reason why waking up early may seem too difficult is because you actually didn’t plan on what you intend to do by the time you’re awake. Try infusing an important task on that period when you’ll be up, and you’ll see that you won’t have any reason to snooze alarms and go back to bed.
If you still feel quite tardy and drowsy when you’re up, try doing some exercise, say at least 5mimutes of cardio workout will help increase your heart rate and that will fully activate your system.
Developing the habit of waking up early is not that easy because you would be changing your internal body clock. But one step at a time will do the trick. Try taking out 5-10minutes each day away from your normal waking time. Do it till you get your target time and you’ll see how it will work out just fine for you. Gaining more time to your day by habitual waking up will really help to improve your overall efficiency.
BE SWIFT BUT STEADY
Many of us often feel that our precious time is being stolen from an outward source. But then, we fail to realize that nothing can actually steal our time if we don’t allow it to—we’re the sole cause of our lack of management of time. We often get so lethargic when it comes to getting an important task done, and that steals and kills time a lot.
The slothful and slow attitude that is often put in tasks is part of the reason why so much time is being wasted. Quit being slow and sluggish, it doesn’t help in any way whatsoever.
If gaining more time to yourself is really what you want, then it would be better for you if you do things with swiftness, yet in a steady and organized way. Being swift doesn’t necessarily mean you should be hasty on your task, remember you still have to “make haste easy”.
One way that can help you increase your swiftness in getting tasks done is by setting “stopwatches”. Let’s say for example you normally use 30minutes to read a page on a book, try taking out 5minutes away from the 30minutes, set your timer for 25minutes. By so doing, you’ll see that your speed will increase because your brain has passed a message across that this task needs to be done before the timer goes off.
Now, don’t get me all haphazard with your task all because you wanna get it done on time. Let your swiftness be an effective one—one that will yield productive results.
Frequently getting tasks done before the deadlines, or time frame is an added advantage to your skill. It will help you relieve stress and get more tasks out of your hands.
In essence, you must learn how to get things done on time yet with great efficiency and effectiveness. This will really help in controlling the amount of time you have available.
AVOID ANY FORM OF PROCRASTINATION
Procrastination is such a subtle time-waster. It may seem as if you’re just harmlessly putting off a task so that you can do it later on but, the thing is you’re actually wasting time without you realizing it. As long as you put off a more important task for a less or not important one, you’re already wasting time.
I know many of us like to give ourselves acceptable reasons for not wanting to do a task in the present moment, but then the more you put off the task, the more time you begin to waste.
We all nag and whine about not having enough time in our hands to do important tasks, and we most times don’t even try to plan out how we’re going to do the task because we also think that planning wastes time. Well, for the record, planning saves your time in ways you can’t even imagine. If you plan your activities and tasks well enough, procrastinating will be difficult to do.
Procrastinating on any task doesn’t yield productivity in any way, what it actually does is mar the quality of the task.
A good time manager sees procrastination as a threat. He doesn’t allow it to steal into any of his time in any way. He consciously plans out his tasks and sees to it that it is done as at when due. Even when he feels like procrastinating, he fiercely resists it because, he knows that every second of his time counts, and he wouldn’t want to waste any of it for any silly reasons or excuses.
If you want to gain control of your life by controlling and managing your time effectively, try avoiding procrastinating on an important task that you intend to do. Always make a deliberate effort to plan your task into a specific time, this will help you to stay organize and in order. Good time management and control skills actually involve less procrastination, so address your procrastinating issues properly so that you’ll improve on your time management and control skills.
CUT OUT DISTRACTIONS
With the occurrences of so many activities around us and even the constant development of super-speed internet connections, distractions are bound to occur. It now depends on us, if we are to fall for those distractions or choose not to.
Contraptions—such as smartphones, iPads, iPods and other electronic devices—are the major tools of distractions in our present days. You may have made up your mind to read a page of a book, in the midst of reading you’re checking your phone every minute that passes by.
Then when something intriguing has caught your attention, you abandon your reading and then move to your phone, without you realizing that you’ve just distracted yourself from reading. From the onset, you may see it as harmless, but when you keep doing it, it becomes a habit, and when it becomes a habit, you tend to always lose focus easily. Concentrating on an important task will become a problem because you’ve given in to constant distraction.
One of the best ways to manage your time effectively is to cut any form of distraction. When doing an important task, try locking your concentration to it, focus intently, don’t move away from it until it’s finished, and you’ll see how much you’ll gain from that single act.
You have no idea how your most important task will yield effectiveness if you just choose to utterly focus on it, solely.
Distraction makes you waste time on less important tasks that seem enjoyable. But you sure do know that it is useless doing such things when you know you’ve got important tasks to do.
Learn to always prevent distractions before they eventually arrive. Think of all the things that distract your mind when you’re on an important task, try taking them out before you begin—that is if they are tangible things. Say your phone, for instance, you can switch it off, or take it to another room, then when you finish from your MIT, you can go get it—trust me, you’ll not die.
DELEGATE/ASSIGN TASKS TO OTHERS
We’re all humans with restrictions and limitations in respect to our time usage. The reason no human can live all by himself is that we need each other to survive, to strive, to grow and to maintain balance.
If you’re truly honest with yourself, you’ll see that you cannot really do all the tasks on you. Even if you somehow manage to succeed at it, you’ll still burn out eventually. Doing so much at a time will not yield productive results in any way, don’t even think of trying it out.
Trying to do all your tasks all by yourself without asking for help will not cause any significant change in your life because your focus is multi-facet—you’re trying to focus on too many things at once—and this might not only cause stress syndrome for you, you might as well go nuts because you’re obviously trying to be a superhuman—not a chance man, not a chance.
This aspect of time management is where delegation comes into play. Delegation, as a matter of fact, is one of the best methods of creating more time for yourself and your most important task. Those important tasks that can still be done by others just the way you would have done it, should be delegated. Even tasks of less importance should be assigned too. In fact, delegate as many tasks as you can so that you can have enough time to focus solely on your most important tasks.
If you develop the habit of delegating tasks, your overall efficiency and productivity will skyrocket because you tend to do more of the very important tasks. Don’t hesitate to delegate tasks to others, it will save you a lot more than you can imagine.
we humans are “uni-focus” and not “multi-focus”. This means that we are designed to do one thing at a time, so we can only focus on one task at a time. But somehow, we always feel that we can multitask and get the job done well. I really don’t know where all that came from, but it’s crap.
Now, multitasking may seem like you’re getting so much done in so little time, but in the real sense, you’re actually just running around tasks. And eventually, most of those multitasked tasks will be half done, lowering the productivity of the overall tasks.
There is virtually no other thing that can yield more efficiency than solely focusing on one task at a time. When you multitask, you’re actually wasting your time because chances are you will still go back to those tasks to eventually finish them up. The initial encounter with them was mostly a “toiling act”.
A little bit of honesty; multitasking is tempting, like really tempting especially when you know that you’ve got so much to do at once. But you don’t have to fall for its trick, trust me, it won’t end well.
When you feel like multitasking is your only option, don’t go for it. There are other ways to handle tasks when they seem to be out of control. First, try writing out all the tasks then, prioritize them in order of their importance. Pick out the most important one and make sure you do it with 100% focused concentration, give your whole attention to it. Then you can move on to the next and the next, before you realize it, you must have been done with most of them. Now, some tasks on the list are not important but, they may appear urgent, just ignore those tasks because you’re concerned about doing your most important task first.
Reducing your level of multitasking will really help you to gain more control of your time.
PLAN IN CONTINGENT TIME
We all have times in our lives when the event we didn’t plan for comes and throws us off balance. Some of them are quite manageable and reasonable, while others seem entirely overwhelming which can even cause a panic attack. This is the more reason deliberate plans have to be made for contingencies—emergencies and unforeseen eventualities. Even if not every day, at least it should be done frequently.
You in your usual organized state may have planned out your day in an orderly manner, imagining it to go smoothly with no obstruction or whatsoever. Then an emergency came up. You then begin to feel out of control because you really didn’t plan for such occurrences. How do you then successfully manage the situation?
What you need to know first is that, whatever emergency it may be, it is not going to last forever. So just try to be calm and think of possible ways you can apply in handling the situation.
Different emergencies with their own degree of sacrifice. So, if your present emergency involves you missing out on a task or two, just do it and get over with it. But don’t let it consume you, you’re supposed to be in charge of the situation, and not the other way round.
When the issue has finally been addressed, make sure to go back on your missed tasks, immediately. As James Clear stated in his book, “Never miss twice”. Don’t allow that one occurrence to change your whole routine, fall back to your task as soon as you can.
This time management skill is not frequently talked about, but that doesn’t reduce its importance.
Seriously, it’s not always easy to plan for events that you’re not even sure of, it may seem as if you’re planning vaguely, but that shouldn’t hinder you because, adept management of time requires deliberate plans, even for the unexpected. Always register it somewhere in your mind that as you live your day, anything can happen, as Murphy’s law states, “Anything that will go wrong, will definitely go wrong”, and you have to be prepared for it always.
Time management and control skill doesn’t just develop overnight. You really have to put in conscious effort to make it work. Whatever way you choose to apply, stay on it and be consistent with it. Don’t make a start-and-stop routine.
If people around you don’t seem to get you, even after your explanation, do no further explanations, and don’t allow their opinions to change your decisions concerning your usage of time.
Be deliberate about all you do, don’t waste time in petty and cheap talks. Be conscious of time at all times and you’ll see that in no distant time, you’ll start feeling in control of your time.
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