The irony of time management is that there is no such thing. This is because everyone is equally given 24 hours and the reality is, we cannot manage it to be less or more. The secret to champion every 24- hour is self-management. So, it actually comes down to how you manage the 24 hours. Why do we manage time, or rather why do we manage ourselves? The answer to this is to achieve success. Success does not happen overnight. It involves hours of practise and effort.
Here are seven golden tips to manage youself.
When you’re stuck in a dark place and you suddenly see light, you immediately respond to it. Here, your goal is the light and you are moving towards it. Without a goal, our day will be directionless, as we will be spending a lot of time doing unproductive tasks.
Having a specific goal leads us to a destination and enables us to work hard towards achieving it. By knowing where we are headed, we will be able to manage our priorities, time and resources to get there. Having a clear focus will help us decide what’s worth spending our time on and what will act as a distraction.
2. Start your day early
Many successful people start their day early. By waking up early, you seize the day with an early start. Some of the most powerful leaders across industries and different geographies wake up early to exercise and read before their day begins. Examples include Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson, PepsiCo’s Indra Nooyi and Trump Organisation’s Donald Trump.
As a student, your day will fill up fast. If you wait till the afternoon or evening to do something, you are less likely to put it all together. In short, mornings give you the perfect opportunity to set a positive tone for the day.
3. The Power of the To-Do-List
The “To-Do-List” is a traditional tool used to manage time or self wisely. How does it work? It acts as a checklist where you place the most important tasks on the top. Even if they’re things that you dread, tackle them first. Include things that you want to do in your list as well to make sure you have items you’re looking forward to.
Another way to implement a “to-do-list” is to include a time budget for different categories of tasks. Figure out what the key categories in your daily agenda are. For instance, an agenda of a student includes academic commitments, self-development and entertainment. Use this as a guideline to fill the “to-do-list”. At the end of the day, you can be proud to have achieved so much from different categories in one day.
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4. Keep your work with you
Everyday, you will find your thoughts wandering unproductively. This is common when you are either traveling to school or work, waiting for the bus or an appointment. In such a situation, if you are able to keep your work with you, you can take advantage of those extra minutes. By putting this into practice, you will be able to be more productive and have room for more activities on a daily basis. A good example here would be Japan, where its citizens have the habit of reading when they are either traveling or waiting for an appointment. This allows them to maximise each second of the day.
5. Always be realistic and learn to prioritise
We find ourselves being over-occupied due to the lack of realistic actions. It boils down to managing our priorities. Sometimes, it is hard to know how and what to prioritise, especially for Gen-Ys who generally have many commitments. However, it is essential to learn to prioritise and be realistic when dealing with commitments and tasks.
A simple tool will be the urgent/important matrix. It will help you understand the difference between an urgent task and an important one. Another useful tool is the action priority matrix. This tool will help you determine if a task is of high-yield, high-priority or low value. By identifying the difference, you will be able to manage your activities better.
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The human body is a system which needs constant regulation and must be re-energised. How do we do that? By constantly revitalising the body through eating, sleeping and exercising accordingly. Think of your body as a computer system. Without enough power, the computer will operate sluggishly. When you fail to regulate your body, you reduce its capability to perform tasks and eventually productivity will decrease. When our bodies fall sick, we will be wasting time as we wait to recover. Teenagers face a lot of stress which has a negative effect on the body.
The ideal way to overcome stress and still make the best out of the day is by practising a healthy lifestyle and adhere to the three pillars of good health – diet, exercise and sleep.
On a normal day, a human being will try to complete as many tasks as possible. At the end of the day, only a portion of the tasks is completed. Many of us go through the same activity cycle every day. It starts when we get up from bed in the morning until we go back to bed at night.
Reflection is an opportunity to change the way we are doing things. By reflecting, we will be able to identify spots where we are either spending too much time on or too little. This will allow us to change what we are doing in order to maximise the utilisation of time.
Check out the Leaderonomics Show featuring Datuk Nicol David to learn more about staying motivated!