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People Who Manage Their Time Well Follow These 3 Rules

People Who Manage Their Time Well Follow These 3 Rules

I’m sure you are constantly told to manage your time better, because it boosts your efficiency, saves time, and reduces stress. Everyone knows the benefits of a better time management, but how many of us could actually do it?

Most of us like to procrastinate and realize we don’t have much time left, then the thought of having a lot of unfinished tasks stresses you out. If you find yourself working last minute, or submitting your task late, your time management needs some help.

Before I tell you how you could manage your time better, you need to know what it means to have good time management.

Good time management doesn’t mainly focus on quantity.

To most people, managing your time well equals getting more done in less time.

Say you have 20 things to do within 10 hours, and you successfully finish all the tasks on time. The more things you can accomplish in a limited time frame, the better your time management is.

Without a doubt, you finish everything on your to-do list on time, but is this the most effective way to manage your time?

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It is more effective to focus on quality.

Time management is basically organizing and planning how much time you spend on the tasks in hand. Having better time management takes time and skill. The more effective time management focuses on doing a few things with great importance, which means quality over quantity.

Focus on the results rather than the activities. It’s good to keep track of how much you have done, but it is more important to decide on what you should pursue on how much value you could add.

When you don’t feel stressed or overburdened as you move from one task to the other, you know you have a better time management. Here are 3 ways to improve your time management skills:

1. Prioritize your tasks according to their importance and urgency

Before you work on the tasks on your to-do list, you have to know which ones are urgent and important. This is the Eisenhower’s principle.

  • Important tasks lead you to achieve your personal goals; while
  • Urgent activities are immediate, with instant consequences, these tasks are usually associated with achieving someone else’s goal.

The Eisenhower’s principle suggests prioritization of tasks into four levels:

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    1. Important and urgent: These tasks should be dealt with FIRST. They are either unexpected issues or those you have waited until the very last minute to work on. You can plan ahead to avoid the latter from happening, but for unplanned surprises, leave some time out in your schedule to allow room for buffering.
    2. Important but not urgent: These activities are important to achieve your goals, so make sure to give yourself plenty of time to work on.
    3. Not important but urgent: These are the roadblocks to block you from accomplishing your own tasks, and they are usually from others. Don’t be worried to say “no” or delegate the tasks to someone else. But do leave some slots open, in case people really need your help.
    4. Not important and not urgent: Always avoid these tasks. They are simply distractions.

    The main key to better prioritize your tasks is leaving slots of time out to make sure you have enough time if something goes wrong.

    2. Smartly use leverage to gain more

    There are many approaches to one task, and all of them are effective, but to truly make use of the least effort for the greatest returns, apply the concept of leverage to finish your task.

    One of the ways to make the most out of everything is to find common patterns in tasks and set up a workflow so you can smoothly finish all the tasks you need without spending unnecessary extra time and energy.

    Say you need to write 3 articles in 10 hours. You dissect the processes in writing a article, like research, writing, and proofreading. You then develop a workflow to avoid writing while researching, then going back to edit your article.

    Another way is to leverage other’s time. I have mentioned there are “not important but urgent”, and these are the tasks you can delegate to ease your burdens.

    Here are more suggestions on leveraging your time.

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    3. Give yourself timed sessions and short breaks

    Sometimes, spending too much time on a single task can actually backfire. The law of diminishing returns suggests there’s a point where the level of profits may not be in proportion to the level of investment.

    To better your time management, you have to keep in mind to not over-invest your time in certain tasks. You can use the Pomodoro Technique[1] to avoid working overtime.

    The Pomodoro Technique is developed in 1980s. The Italian word “pomodoro” means “tomato”. The technique is simple — divide and structure your work in 25-minute sessions (or pomodori), with a 5-minute break in between.

    Say you are working a presentation, you estimate you need around 125 minutes to complete the task. You divide the task into five 25-minute sessions with a short break in between. Make sure the sessions don’t clash with your other plans or commitments. Set a timer to 25 minutes and start your work. Take a rest after each session then repeat until the sessions are over. Take a 20 to 30-minute break afterwards.

    Use technology to start bettering your time management.

    It might be difficult to incorporate the Eisenhower’s principle, the concept of leverage, and Pomodoro Technique all into one for a better time management. Here are three time management apps to help you along the way:

    MyLifeOrganized (MLO)

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      The first step to better your time management is organization. MLO offers help for you to target what you want to accomplish in order to meet your objectives. It generates to-do lists for you, prioritize your tasks, and track your actions.

      Toggl

        It’s always good to have a log sheet to time yourself. Toggl helps you to manage your time better by tracking how much time you spent on each and every task.

        Focus Booster

          Have you ever wandered off to somewhere else while working on something important? Focus Booster uses the Pomodoro Technique and allows you to set a timed sessions for better focus and work quality.

          Reference

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          Frank Yung

          Writer. Storyteller. Foodie.

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          Last Updated on October 21, 2019

          How to Be a Good Leader and Lead Effectively

          How to Be a Good Leader and Lead Effectively

          U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a contender for the 2020 Democratic nomination, is a reminder of why I am so drawn to leadership as a topic. Whenever I think it is impossible for me to be more impressed with her, she proves me wrong.

          Earlier this week, a former marine suggested that he had been in a long-term sexual relationship with the Senator. She flipped the narrative and used the term “Cougar,” a term used to describe older women who date younger men, to reference her alma mater.

          Rather than calling the young man a liar, or responding to the accusations in kind, she re-focused the conversation back to her message of college affordability and lifted up that “Cougar” was the mascot for her alma mater. She went on to note that tuition at her school was just $50 per semester when she was a student. Class act.

          But by the end of the week, news broke that U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, another contender for the presidency, had a heart attack. Warren not only wished Sanders a speedy recovery but her campaign sent a meal to his staff. She knew that the hopes of staff, donors and supporters were with the Senator from Vermont and showed genuine compassion and empathy.

          To me, she has proven time and time again that she is more than a presidential candidate: she belongs in a leadership hall of fame.

          What makes some people excel as leaders is fascinating. You can read about leadership, research it and talk about it, yet the interest in leadership alone will not make you a better leader.

          You will have more information than the average person, but becoming a good leader is lifelong work. It requires experience – and lots of it. Most importantly, it requires observation and a commitment to action. Warren observed what was happening with Sen. Sanders, empathized with his team and then took action. Regardless of the outcome of this election, Sanders’ staff will likely never forget her gesture.

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          You would have had to work on a political campaign in order to appreciate the stress and anxiety that comes with it. In this moment, staff may not remember everything that Warren said throughout the lengthy campaign, but they will remember what she did during an unforgettable time during the campaign.

          If this model of leadership is appealing, and if you are searching for how to up your own leadership game, read on for six characteristics that good leaders share:

          1. Good leaders are devoted to the success of the people around them.

          Good leaders are not self-interested. Sure, they want to succeed, but they also want others to succeed.

          Good leaders see investing in others just as important as they see investing in themselves. They understand that their success is closely tied to the people around them, and they work to ensure that their peers, employees, friends and family have paths for growth and development.

          While the leaders may be the people in the spotlight, they are quick to point to the people around them who helped them (the leaders) enter that spotlight. Their willingness to lift others inspires their colleagues’ and friends’ devotion and loyalty.

          2. Good leaders are not overly dependent on others’ approval.

          It is important for managers to express their support for their teams; good leaders must be independent of the approval of others. I explained in an article for The Chronicle of Philanthropy, that:[1]

          “While a desire to be loved is natural, managers who prioritize approval from subordinates will become ineffective supervisors who may do employees harm. For example, a manager driven by a need for approval may shy away from delivering constructive feedback that could help an employee improve. A manager fearful of upsetting someone may tolerate behavior that degrades the work environment and culture.”

          In yet another example, a manager who is dependent on the approval of others may not make decisions that could be deemed unpopular in the short run but necessary in the long run.

          Think of the coaches who integrated their sporting teams. Their decision to do so, may have seemed odd, and even wrong, in the moment, but time has proven that those leaders were on the right side of history.

          3. Good leaders have the capacity to share the spotlight.

          Attention is nice, but it is not the prime motivator for good leaders. Doing a good job is.

          For this reason, good leaders are willing to share the spotlight. They aren’t threatened by a lack of attention, and they do not need credit for every accomplishment. They are too focused on their goal and too focused on the urgency of their work.

          4. Good leaders are students.

          In the same way that human beings are constantly evolving, so too are leaders. As long as you are living, you have the potential to learn. It doesn’t matter how much knowledge you think you have; you can always learn something new.

          I have the experience of thinking I was doing everything right as a manager, only to receive conflicting feedback from my team. Perhaps my approach was not working for my team, and I had to be willing to hear their feedback to improve.

          Good leaders understand that their secret sauce is their willingness to keep receiving information and keep learning. They aren’t intimidated by what they do not know: As long as they maintain a willingness to keep growing, they believe they can overcome any obstacle they face.

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          As both masters and students, good leaders read, listen and study to grow. They consume content for information, not just entertainment purposes. They aren’t impressed with their knowledge; they are impressed with the learning journey.

          5. Good leaders view vulnerability as a superpower.

          It means “replacing ‘professional distance and cool,’ with uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure,” said Emma Sappala in a Dec. 11, 2014, article, “What Bosses Gain by being Vulnerable” for Harvard Business Journal.[2] She went on to note the importance of human connection, which she asserts is often missing at work.

          “As leaders and employees, we are often taught to keep a distance and project a certain image. An image of confidence, competence and authority. We may disclose our vulnerability to a spouse or close friend behind closed doors at night but we would never show it elsewhere during the day, let alone at work.”

          This rings so true for me as a woman leader. I was raised believing that any show of emotion in the workplace could be used against me. I was raised believing that it was best for women leaders to be stoic and to “never let ‘em see you sweat.” This may have prevented me from connecting with employees and colleagues on a deeper, more personal level.

          6. Good leaders understand themselves.

          I am a huge fan of life coach and spiritual teacher Iyanla Vanzant. In addition to her hit show on the OWN network, Vanzant has authored dozens of books. In her books and teachings, she underscores the importance of knowing ourselves fully. She argues that we must know what makes us tick, what makes us happy and what makes us angry.

          Self-awareness enables us to put ourselves in situations where we can thrive, and it also enables us to have compassion when we fall short of the goals and expectations we have for ourselves. Relatedly, understanding ourselves will allow us to know our strength. When we know our strengths, we will be able to put people around us who compliment our strengths and fill the gaps in our leadership.

          Final Thoughts

          Being a good leader, first and foremost, is an inside job. You must focus on growing as a person regardless of the leadership title that you hold. You cannot take others where you yourself have not been. So focusing on yourself, regardless of your time or where you are in your career will have long term benefits for you and the people around you.

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          Further, if you want to become a good leader, you should start by setting the intention to do so. What you focus on grows. If you focus on becoming a better leader, you will research and invest in things that help you to fulfill this intention. You will also view the good and bad leadership experiences as steppingstones that hone your character and help you improve.

          After you set the intention, get really clear on what a good leader looks like to you. Each of us has a different understanding of leadership. Is a good leader someone who takes risk? Is a good leader, in your estimation, someone who develops other leaders? Whatever it is, know what you’re shooting for. Once you define what it means to be a good leader, look for people who exemplify your vision. Watch and engage with them if you can.

          Finally, understand that becoming a good leader doesn’t happen overnight. You must continually work at improving, investing in yourself and reflecting on what is going well and what you must improve. In this way, every experience is an opportunity to grow and a chance to ask: ‘What is this experience trying to teach me?’ or ‘what action is necessary based on this situation?’

          If you are committed to questioning, evaluating and acting, you are that much closer to becoming a better leader.

          More About Effective Leadership

          Featured photo credit: Sam Power via unsplash.com

          Reference

          [1] The Chronicle of Philanthropy: Why Good Managers Overcome the Desire to Be Liked
          [2] Harvard Business Journal: What Bosses Gain by being Vulnerable

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