It’s the enemy of us all and we are at its mercy. Time, as the saying goes, waits for no one. However, there is help at hand! In fact, a lot of time has been devoted to the benefits of time management and how to achieve it. Today’s stressful lifestyle means a constant juggling of work, family life and social life. It’s easy to take your eye off the ball and let one of those departments suffer. Being organized can’t be left to chance. It really does require some effort and it pays off in the end.
There are numerous books written on the subject and courses and workshops are conducted to teach us the methods and benefits of time management. The Filofax, so popular with go-getters in the 1980s, brought the first stirrings of laying down a format for dividing up time. Some people prefer software applications that follow the same principles. A lot of people have things to do lists but it needs to be more refined than that.
Prioritizing is the key; otherwise there are too many paths to wander down in a forest full of waiting tasks. It’s a good idea to have an end goal in sight; otherwise specific tasks lose their sense of identity. Ask yourself, where would you like to be in five year’s time or ten or fifteen? Also, the benefits of time management will be lost if the set targets are not in sympathy with work colleagues or family members. Are you all singing from the same hymn sheet?
Once a clear goal is formalized, there are targets to decide and placed in order of chronology and importance. It’s the most satisfying feeling in the world to tick off those boxes. Daily, weekly and monthly tasks should be set out in detail. Not everything always goes to plan of course and a bit of flexibility needs to be built in. The benefits of time management will only work if the targets are realistic. Neither underestimate nor overestimate what can be achieved.
Everyone likes to be in control but you will never leave the office on time if you don’t delegate. It will soon become apparent, who can be trusted and who can’t. Another important aspect of the benefits of time management is self discipline. Procrastination won’t get the job done. This is especially significant if you are working from home, an increasing activity these days. It may be a sunny day and the golf course is calling but that monthly report won’t write itself. When the weekly targets have been met, that’s the time to reward yourself with a little rest and recreation. After all, all work and no play makes Jack or Jill a dull boy or girl.
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Time Management for Dummies (UK Edition) by Clare Evans
Do it Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management by Mark Forster
The 25 Best Time Management Tools and Techniques: How to Get More Done without Driving Yourself Crazy by Pamela Dodd and Doug Sundheim
Eat That Frog. 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy (Paperback – 1 Jan 2008)