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10 tips to manage your time more proficiently

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Urvi Aradhya - Chief Human Resource Officer, K Raheja Corp, Mumbai

15-Jan-2019

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Time management is about improving the overall quality, rather than trying to tick everything off your list. It is important to instill balance and moderation in life which can be achieved by organizing yourself by using your time wisely.

Time management is often the most important factor on each employee's mind, especially the younger generation. An individual might be logging in long hours at work but are they yielding any positive results? More often than not, this leads to additional stress and burnouts very early on in their career path. This matter of concern especially faced by the younger generation boils down to the factor of 'Time Management'. Highly successful people have mastered the art of managing their time efficiently and well and making optimum use of it. They carefully evaluate their tasks at hand and the amount of time required for each to derive maximum results.

Considering the fact that we spend a significant amount of our waking hours towards our professional aspirations and goals, learning how to make optimum use of that time will help us to lead a successful and content life, both professionally and personally. Let us look at some ways which can help us crack the time management code. 

1. Prioritize : It is imperative to understand which tasks need to be achieved on a particular day. We often try to cramp up all our work in a single day which does not lead to any positive result and feel dejected on failing to complete the task at hand. However by dividing your tasks in the following categories will help you understand which tasks need urgent attention and so on. 

a) Urgent : Critical tasks that need to be done right away or has a shorter deadline of submission.

b) Critical : Task that can be done after all urgent work is complete. 

2. Deadlines : Once you have understood the task at hand, set specific and realistic deadlines for each. These will help you be on track and manage each task efficiently through the day without any stress. 

3. Distractions : It is only natural to get distracted at your work. However, one needs to identify such factors that sidetrack and deter you from achieving the task at hand. De-clutter your desk space and set up a place that helps the brain associate with work. Distractions can easily guide you into a spiral of low productivity and frustration and blocking it can help you have a fruitful day.

4. Analyze : If you scrutinize your day well, you will discover pockets of free time that go wasted. Start working out on where you are losing the most time and reduce the burden of unproductive activities during that period. 

5. Multi-tasking : The multi-tasking concept refers to a person dealing with more than one task at the same time. Focusing your attention on multiple things make it challenging for your mind to switch between them and it is advised to have undivided focus on one important task at a time. Moreover, multi-tasking can take away your ability to think creatively because it takes up a lot of your temporary brain storage which leads to inefficiency and stress. 

6. Goals : Evaluate what and how you are going to achieve the targets set for the day. This can be accomplished by drafting TTD or Tasks To-Do list. Ideally, this should be done at the beginning of the day. It helps plan your work goals to be achieved with the goals you're aiming for and another list with the things you're spending time doing. This will give you a useful gauge in your efforts and help you to contribute to achieve organizational objectives.

7. Scheduling : It is imperative to schedule your day ahead of time to alleviate the risk of missing out on important details and tasks. This activity can go a long way in making you more organized in your thought processes and work. While you may have to invest some amount of time in planning, the benefits of the same are manifold.

8. Say 'NO' : It is important to understand when to say no. Once you have set out to achieve your predetermined targets, ensure you disallow things that will hamper your productivity. It is permissible to say no or ensure help at a later stage when you are completing the tasks at hand. If a coworker requests for help, evaluate the urgency and criticality of the task before committing. This will help you stay on track and maintain an effective work life balance. 

9. Delegate : The end goal is to accomplish your task efficiently making optimum use of time. If that requires outsourcing or delegating your work, do so. Each individual is equipped with varying strengths and weaknesses. If you can identify the tasks where you can use your strengths to the fullest, delegate the other small tasks to employees. Once you do that, ensure you trust the person and give them enough room to get the job done. Do not micro manage else the whole activity is a waste. Delegating will also help you be a better manager in the future and allow you to be an effective team player. 

10.Unwind : We all are humans and we need time to recharge ourselves to perform to our maximum potential. This involves taking short breaks throughout the day; take a short walk, speak to your peers, change your seat. This will help break the monotony and allow your brain to decompress. Moreover, once you have signed out of office, unplug completely. Keep the electronic usage to a minimum and respond to work emails or call only if absolutely necessary. Inculcate productive habits and read a book, watch informative documentaries, have healthy discussions with your family and get a goodnights rest. The impact of unwinding is often underestimated and people fail to realize our minds need a break and downtime as well.

Time management is about improving the overall quality, rather than trying to tick everything off your list. It is important to instill balance and moderation in life which can be achieved by organizing yourself by using your time wisely. Once you learn the tricks of time management, you will witness lower stress levels leading to a calmer and joyous state of mind. This will help in achieving an ideal work life balance and perform your duties at home and work efficiently.