Photo credit (above): lozikiki | Flickr
How often have you wished that you could get hold of Hermione’s Time Turner, from the Harry Potter books? Or, if you aren’t a Harry Potter fan, how many times have you wished that you could turn back time?
Picture this: you’ve procrastinated on your work for weeks, and your deadline is in two days. You’re panicking, because how on earth are you going to read the unabridged version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in just two days?
To avoid future mishaps, here are some tips on managing your time wisely:
Drop your to-do list
Pick up an appointment book instead. Rather than continuously adding onto a list that will go on and on, specifically schedule time to complete your pending tasks.
Schedule the time duration you should spend on your task, and commit to following it religiously. If you prefer a more tech-savvy approach, use Google Calendar or your phone’s calendar.
Set short breaks
When you start scheduling your tasks, don’t go crazy! Short breaks are necessary to keep your motivation and focus levels up.
Everyone works differently, so tailor your schedule to your method of working.
For example, some people work in bursts – doing work non-stop for certain hours, then needing a long break before starting again. Meanwhile, others might need a more structured approach to working.
Concentrate on your task
In a Salary.com survey carried out in 2012, 64% of its 3,200 participants admitted that they visit non-work related websites every day during work hours.
Thirty-nine per cent of them spend less than one hour a week on non-work related items, whilst 3% spend more than 10 hours on them.
To maximise your efficiency, devote yourself to your task. Work wherever you’re most comfortable with, turn off or put away distracting items (mobile phones or random items on your desk) and keep strictly to the time allotted!
If your work requires the use of your computer and you’re afraid that you may be tempted to browse other websites, there are many website blocker programmes found online that promote productivity.
Just say ‘no’
There’s no shame in whipping out your “Just Say No” card! Don’t try to take on more tasks than you’re able to. If you’re invited out by your friends during a busy time, try to reschedule.
By prioritising your tasks, you can then gauge what you can handle and when you can put them on hold for a movie night out.
Achieving this balance of work and play not only takes a load of stress off your shoulders, but also allows you to actually have sufficient time for yourself and your loved ones.
All the best on your journey of better time management!
First published in English daily The Star, Malaysia, 25 October 2014