Effective Time Management

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Systematic time planning and management help us not only improve performance, protect against multiple mistakes and wasted resources, but also improves our well-being, strengthens our work motivation, and job satisfaction.

We like to say that wins not the one who is better, but the one who is faster. Let's talk about time planning and its effective management. Time planning - is it an improvisation's killer or daily assistant? I always say that I know how to plan my time. Because it helps me, it's better for me. Could there be a more serious argument?

 But sometimes I meet all kinds of articles on the Internet claiming that we do not need to plan the time. I really agree that there are people able to live in improvisation chaos, and they do not need to plan the time. But that's not me. And if it's not you, this blog is just for you.

I will not give a complete time planning methodology, nor will I give any time planning tools or links to good tips. I will start from the beginning - from principles. I want to deny flying myths. Methods, tools will come along the way. And if you know good apps - share in comments;  it will definitely be useful to someone.

Time management” is the process of organizing and planning how to divide your time between specific activities. Good time management enables you to work smarter – not harder – so that you get more done in less time, even when time is tight and pressures are high.

Credit: mindtools.com

I want to make positive statements, not writing the wrong myth, but as I think it's right.

Time Planning Is The Focus Of Attention

It seems that when we plan the time, we have to come up with what and when to do something. But it's not always true. We are really planning where to look and when, and how intensely. After all, it will be difficult if in the evening after work, when the fatigue forces us to go to bed, we plan some important and complicated work. It looks we still have time, but how about our attention? Can we still keep it up and make the decisions?

I agree that sometimes the work in such a way is inevitable, but then think about how to get the energy to do the necessary work.  How to get not a time -  we have it, but the energy to keep the attention. That's why students begin to drink coffee and energy drinks during the session.

It is phenomenal, we can do the same job in a shorter period, but with an intensive concentrating our focus. Just take breaks. So sometimes it is necessary to take into account not when we have time to do some work, but when our attention is free and not distracted.


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And sometimes, especially when it comes to communication and pleasant time spending, attention is essential. If you want to relax with friends, but taking care of 100 things at once, you will hardly use the time as planned. If you want to talk, to discuss or find out about something, you will hardly be able to achieve the result if you just devote a time. You need to devote not a time but attention and communicate attentively.

Time Planning Is Knowing The Works To Do

In other words, time planning is really a job planning. Only if we know what the work is waiting to be accomplished, we can decide reliably if what we are doing now is what we should do, and we can decide which works are important and which are not.

After all, if you want to know what to do at each moment, you can simply do the work in a row. But suddenly you can feel how the work far away in the row will start burning because you had to do it yesterday.

Knowing the list of jobs and priorities is the essence of time planning, not a constant watch on the clock.


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Unexpected Events Cannot Destroy Plans

Unexpected events cannot destroy plans; they just change them or adjust them.

I often hear proverbs that a man is planning and God laughs and that, in general, nothing can be planned because something happens and destroys plans.

So if you know the things you need to do and know what's important, when new jobs appear, they just change priorities. Pay attention to those things that are most important at the time. Plans do not collapse; they are simply supplemented.

I agree that if you wanted to have dinner with a friend at 12 o'clock but got a tooth pain and had to visit a dentist, you did not fulfill what you planned. But at the moment, the visit to a doctor was more important than having dinner with a friend. It means, everything was by the plan; you did what was most important to do.

We are planning to know what is most important now.


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Planning Helps Improvisation 

Planning helps to improvisation without decreasing its freedom.

Well, you can keep all the things you need to do in your head and just understand intuitively the tasks you need to do now. But you can keep all the work on the list and choose what to do now intuitively. Sometimes use the help of reminders to keep in mind what to do now. Don't overload yourself with all the details, and choose only the most important things to do now.

If you do not plan the time but plan your attention and work - you do not enclose yourself in the frames of the calendar - on the contrary, it raises the ability to improvise to a higher level. You get rid of burning work frames.

If you are planning well - it reduces stress and when the stress is reduced - increases creativity and improvisation skills.


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Time Planning Is Especially Useful When Others Around You Don't Plan

Although it sometimes seems the opposite - how can you be the only one planning when there is chaos around. If you don't plan your time in hours and minutes and plan your attention and work - don't let others knock yourself out of the track with the last minute's works.

First, perhaps those last-minute works already are done if they were really important enough. Second, they simply will change your priorities, and any other work will become more relevant at that time. It's not a disaster. 

Time Planning Saves Your Time

It may seem that fifteen minutes or half an hour of spending every morning planning is a waste of time, so you could do something productive. But this is not true (at least for me).

How do I save time?

First, less rush about. I no longer have to remember all the work that needs to be done and desperately choose what to do now. I write down the works, and sometimes together add the priorities.

For example, I have 15 minutes waiting for a call. It is unwise to undertake a complex task that can take half an hour to complete and requires concentration. The call will distract attention, so better make the little things. And if I have a good hour, it is not wise to do the little things, because jumping from one to the other will weary me. It is easier to focus on a long and difficult task.


Plan the time - Photo credit: blog.vidupm.com

Secondly, I do the most important work first.

When I know all the works that wait for me, I can choose which one is most important. And do it when the focus is the freshest. This is how the most important works are done, and I have less burning last-minute works.

Thirdly, due to planning, I experience less stress from uncertainty. And stress is wearisome, due to stress the attention is reduced. When I have less stress, I am able to keep the focus on my tasks and do more.

Time planning helps everyone, not just busy bosses and managers.

I've heard such stories as housewives are planning the lunches for a month ahead. This allows them to spend less time in the shop or on deciding what to prepare for lunch today, which can lead to more time for children.

I planned my homework time in my childhood, so I had more time to play. 

Anyone can get more time for their favorite activities if they get along better with the unwanted ones.

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Planning Consists Of A List Of Jobs And A Calendar 

Planning consists of a list of jobs and a calendar, not just a calendar.

You've probably understood that a list of jobs is the main tool for planning. Calendar - only auxiliary tool. Do not have a goal to stuff the calendar from morning to evening at work, and to portray it as productive. This is a little useful pure time scheduling. It is not resistant to changes, disturbances, destroying improvisation.

The calendar is only for those jobs that you know for the exact time. 12 am to the dentist, at 9 pm to the concert, on December 3rd - exam. And so on. A calendar is also useful for reminders. After a week exam so starts preparing for it. After a week - Christmas - buy gifts. After a month is your vacation - start thinking about where to go.

The main tool is a list of works. What is it? List with priorities (important, burn, irrelevant)? Many lists by attention level (fresh, medium, tired)? Many lists by type of work (calls, at a computer, in a city, to learn, at home)? Many lists by area of life (work, family, leisure, home)? Millions of theories and none are suitable for everyone. Start with a simple list, then see what you really need.


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You do not need a special program for time planning. Paper and pencil are enough, and you can use an excel. I wasn't able to get out of paper planning because what could be better than a piece of paper with a to-do list, where I see bubbles (urgent) or triangles (important). But it's my choice although it's possible doing the same thing on a computer or desktop, in any gadget (such as Evernote).

Time Scheduling Is A Periodic Matter

Under no circumstances, it is a one-time deal. It is not true that you fill a calendar for a month ahead, and so you think that have planned your time. New jobs are constantly emerging; circumstances are changing; something you can't do; something can be postponed. Planning is like sleep; it is necessary to stop and refresh the image. What's done? What's not done? What's new?

How often do you need to refresh it? It depends on the workload. Maybe every day - if you work so much that always not able to do the job. But with the list, you have to work continuously: the work done must be deleted immediately; new ones should be added as soon as they occur.

Occasionally, prioritization is needed to refresh too. Maybe delete outdated works, perhaps write new ideas.


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It Is Not Necessary And Impossible To Always Do Everything Planned

Because you do not know what new works will appear today. Because you don't know how long the planned works will take. It is best not to have a list of "day jobs" at all, because in the evening it kills when you see that only 2 of the 50 jobs are done.

You may have a list of actual works, or something else, but in no way "days" or "weeks" works. It will just demotivate.

It is very difficult, but you have to accept that there will be a thousand missed jobs every day. Time planning kills the illusion that you can do everything and then go to rest. If you can't - go rest now. Learn to relax at the works. Learn to do breaks.


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You Can Plan Both Leisure And Work

After all, it's good to note that at Christmas night, December 25th 21 hours, you go to the concert. You can also plan other leisure activities as well.

Meetings with friends, activities with family. Write ideas you might want to put into the list of leisure activities (finally to offer friends to go on a hike, buy a badminton kit and play with kids, finally to go to the theater with your beloved, finally to appoint a half-day and clean up your collection of postage stamps).

And you can plan home chores(remember the housewives planning lunch?). When to wash, when to iron, when to clean a home.


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Planning Alone Will Not Solve Your Problems

Planning alone will not solve your problems; you need to follow your plan.

What's the point if you wrote all the works and see what's most important, but still do the little things until the last night remains. What's the point if you put a task on a calendar to prepare for the exam, but you wash the dishes instead? What's the point if you plan to pay attention and look for information on the Internet for your project, but you spend time on Facebook?

The ability to follow the plan appears gradually - first and foremost must be the plan itself. If you have a plan and don't follow it long enough, one of the two will happen: either you stop planning (and list all myths described here, why planning doesn't work) or you start to follow the plan.

That's what I wanted to tell you this time. Good luck with planning

On The Final Note

We all waste time and delay important tasks. It is important to understand what steal your time. Maybe that are social networks, meaningless browsing, or distracting conversations, or maybe a TV. Finding out these activities helped me - knowing what you should avoid is easier to do.


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By the way, it was found that the average person spends about 116 minutes per day on social networks. This time is bypassing the one that man devotes to eating and drinking or live communication. According to current data, we will spend about five years and four months on social networks throughout our lives. This number is expected to grow.

Most people plunge into work. They count the time depending on how much they can devote it for work. In fact, my advice on how to divide time is to focus your time on family and personal life. If there is no family, it's great: focus on hobbies. To everything you enjoy. But first, is family and your personal life.

So, when planning your days, weeks, setting goals, or just living, check from time to time what the life you see in the future. Often it helps the eyes.

Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein. - H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Credit: goodreads.com



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