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Make Time Management a Lifestyle

Make Time Management a Lifestyle
Lifestyle

    Most of us would like to accomplish more than what we are able to in a day. How many times have you felt that it would be so much easier if you only had a few more extra hours in a day to complete the various tasks that you have on your plate? And how many times have you wished that you could do with a lesser amount of stress and strain that your workload is causing you?

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    The thing you need to know to overcome this feeling of being over laden with work all the time is to be able to manage your time better. And the most important thing to understand is that time management is not something that you can do as and when you feel that work is getting difficult to handle. It is a lifestyle that you need to adopt and practice each and every day of your life! It is a habit that will lead you to a life where you have peace of mind, better and more efficient work churn out and more time on your hands to do the things you enjoy.

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    The other thing to appreciate when you start off on your journey to be able to manage your time better is to be prepared that this change that you are going to adopt in your lifestyle will take some time to internalize. It is not something that you can switch on at will. But also be aware of the fact that once this change has been made, life will be much smoother.

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    There are many techniques that you can adopt to help you in managing your time better and get a kick-start in this process. And the best technique to start with is to learn how to focus on the job at hand. This can be done once you have prepared a list and prioritized the tasks that you have on hand. But once you have decided to take up a particular job, don’t let yourself get distracted on the way. Don’t allow thoughts on other projects to mingle and disturb your thought process. Ensure that you are determined to complete the job at hand before you allow your mind to take detours into other arenas awaiting attention. Avoid taking any kind of breaks while you are at that task and ensure that you complete it before you consider a cup of coffee or a call that you need to make.

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    Learning the tricks of determination, concentration and discipline shall ensure that after a while you will get so used to focusing on the task that you are doing that you will not need to consciously drive out errant thoughts from entering. At this level, you can safely assume that you have learnt one of the tricks of time management that will ensure that your work gets finished on time and is far better in quality that it used to be earlier.

    Vishal P. Rao runs the Work at Home Forum, an online community of those who work from home.

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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

    1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
    2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
    3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
    4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
    5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
    6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
    7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
    8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
    9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
    10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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