“Lost time is never found again.” Benjamin Franklin
Time is one of our most precious tools in life. It is so important that time is being compared with life; wasting time, is equal to wasting life.
People who accomplish a lot in life are often people who manage their time and tasks effectively and intelligently. Without time management and scheduling, we tend to waste a lot of time on unproductive tasks and projects and we realize this when it is too late.
Therefore in order to take control over our life and achieve our goals, we need to have a proper schedule and time management.
Below are simple steps that can help you plan and implement tasks more effectively:
1. Write Down Your Tasks
It is recommended to have a daily worksheet in which you can record all the tasks for the day. Writing down the tasks not only gives you clarity on the work that needs to be done, but also helps you to organize your time better.
If there are free slots in your worksheet in any specific day, you can fill in the gaps with your unfinished work or what you need to accomplish on the following days. You can also allocate such moments for educational or self-improving activities to help you gain more skills. In this way all your moments everyday will become fruitful and no time will get wasted in between.
2. Prioritize Tasks Based on Importance
Prioritizing gives you the ability to categorize tasks. Often we invest time in on doing things that are not important and miss out on the important ones. By prioritizing you will know which tasks need to be done first. Even if you don’t get a chance to finish all the work planned, at least you have accomplished what is important and urgent.
Sometimes not focusing on unessential tasks gives you better ability to focus on the important ones. This is called one-pointedness. Remove the unnecessary and focus on the essential!
3. Give Each Task a Proper Deadline
Without deadlines, we often take our sweet time in doing things. Deadlines give you purpose and emotional drive to finish what you start.
We all have experienced when the deadline is near, we become more alert, fast and focused to deliver the task as promised. Therefore in order to finish your tasks more effectively, give them a deadline. This will make sure you finish them as expected. Just remember to give your tasks a realistic deadline. If you set a deadline which is not realistic and impossible to meet, you will be disappointed after a while and deadlines will not mean anything to you anymore.
4. Group Tasks Together
In order to increase your productivity it is recommended to group similar tasks together and attend to them simultaneously or one after the other. This will save lot of time which is usually spent to understand and analyze the tasks, and get in the mood to start and complete them.
5. Practice Punctuality
Punctuality comes from responsibility. If you work on your punctuality not only can you project a better picture of yourself which gives you more confidence, but also save time that you need to explain and convince others and apologize for being late.
6. Start Your Day With the Most Difficult Tasks
This might be a bit funny but it works. After scheduling and prioritizing your tasks, start your day by doing the most difficult ones first. Often people tend to start the day by checking emails, checking Facebook and doing stuff that it is not important and difficult. In this scenario, the most difficult tasks are being done last because it takes so much emotional will and effort to start them. However, this strategy does not work well because, the difficult tasks will be attended when the body and the mind are tired. Therefore the possibility of making mistakes or prolonging the work will increase.
On the other hand, if the most difficult tasks are done in the beginning of the day, they can be completed faster and with less effort and mistakes; since you are fresh and your ability to focus is higher. The easier and less important tasks, which do not take much effort and concentration, can be done later.
7. Give Music to Solo Tasks
Music here is being used as a kind of metronome to keep track of time. Especially for the regular daily jobs that you need to repeat everyday, music can help you manage your time better. After a while you get so familiar with the music and its various sections, that you will know when to speed up or when to accomplish each section. Furthermore, this will give you the ability to choose a piece of music that fits with the nature of your job, which can help you increase your productivity and get into the mood.
8. Plan Work Breaks Into Your Schedule
Everybody needs breaks. Your body and mind need a break in order to enable them to retain energy. Your brain needs regular breaks to process, categorize and store information. No one can work continuously without any breaks and keep up his or her productivity at optimum level all the time. Breaks are needed, but what you can do is to schedule your breaks.
After each difficult and time-consuming task, give yourself a break to rest the brain, calm your emotions and retain concentration. After a few days or weeks of continuous work, you also need a break to rest and recharge. This will give you more energy and stamina for upcoming projects.
9. Keep Yourself Emotionally Strong
Often when people are not sad, depressed or unsatisfied, their productivity decreases tremendously. It is therefore highly important to keep emotionally strong and determined. This is when passion comes into play. Many successful people recommend you to do the work that you love so you can keep our emotional will at optimum level.
Without emotional stamina and enthusiasm, your productivity decreases and in this case even a simple task might take a very long time. Passion and determination help you to move forward and stay focused even in the midst of difficult situations and crises.
10. Learn to Say No
You must pay attention to your limits. You cannot do everything that you are asked to, especially if it is not in line with your goal. You always have a choice to say NO! Often multitasking makes you stupid!
In family life as well as in your professional life, you need to refuse to accept tasks and responsibilities that are beyond your capabilities and do not help in achieving your targets. Taking more than what you can handle normally causes a lot of stress, which affects your most important tasks too.
Learn to say NO! Promises easily given are often not kept. Think about the consequences of accepting new projects or tasks. Think if they are in line with your specialty and your target. Think if you are capable and trained to do them. Then accept!