How often do you feel overwhelmed and frustrated just trying to stay on top of all your work and to get through everything you have too? Managing your time efficiently is one of the best skills you could develop. Whether you work for yourself or for others, learning ways to successfully manage what needs to get done, is invaluable to staying productive.
When you leave work at the end of the day, are you able to leave work behind in your mind too or do you spend the evening thinking about everything you couldn’t get done that day and stressed at the thought of tomorrow?
If you find that you are lost when you think about what you need to do, if you have no idea where to start and find that you are not able to concentrate when you eventually start the task, then keep reading to learn about the three P’s of time management: Planning, Prioritizing and Performing.
Have you ever ever heard the saying ¨By failing to plan, you are planning to fail¨?
Planning is essential to the success of all projects and completing tasks. When you plan, you have a clearer idea of what you need to do to make a project successful. If you don’t plan, you might have to deal with unexpected problems and you could also miss important deadlines, dates, etc. Planning helps you feel less stressed, more organized and unambiguous about what needs to be done. You need to understand the value in planning, for the short and long term results.
Try to start planning the day before. Wouldn’t it feel great to wake up each day with focused direction of what tasks you need to start with and what you will need to do that day? How will you feel at the end of the day, once you have accomplished all you needed to? Follow some simple steps to start improving your time-management skills.
1. Write everything done that you need to do, make a TO DO list. Don’t keep anything in your mind, write it all
down on paper or an excel document, – whichever is better for you. Include routine tasks in your planning,
lunch breaks, etc
2. Make sure your tasks are limited to single activities and not an entire project.
3. For each task that you have to do, estimate the time it will take to complete a particular task. It may be
better to overestimate than underestimate.
4. Prioritize which tasks you will be performing that day. You don’t want to work from your TO DO LIST, but you
want to use it to choose which tasks are more important. Time is limited to 24hours a day and if you want to
be more productive, you need to do the tasks that will bring you the most return on your time invested.
An easy way to prioritize is to choose 3 or 4 items on your list, those that are the most important, what tasks will give you the most return on your investment of time? Then you can start looking at the next important ones, and so on, always taking in account the time you will allocate for each one.
Most of your time should be spent on tasks that are Important and Urgent as well Important and not urgent. Some people find it easier to categorize their tasks as follows:
1. Important and Urgent – Tasks that need to be done in a short period of time. If you spend too much time on tasks that are urgent, you are not leaving time for tasks that are important and not urgent.
2. Important and not urgent – These are tasks that you need to do but they don’t need to be done today. You should be spending most of your time on these type of tasks.
3. Urgent and not important – Ones where you need to do something but it’s not high priority. If you find that you take on too much because you can’t say no, most of those tasks would fall into this category.
4. Not Urgent and not important– It is important to make time for these tasks, like cleaning your desk, organizing your filing system. However, don’t make these tasks a priority unless they become urgent.
So now that you have planned what you need to do this week, you have also prioritized what needs to be done first, now you have to perform the task! How can you leverage your efforts when performing a task. First you must eliminate all distractions and interruptions that you normally have. Turn off your email, your mobile, tell your colleagues not to disturb you, get rid of whatever it is that you know normally breaks your concentration.
Then you need to concentrate on performing that task 100%. By focusing on that task only, completing one at a time, you will increase both the quantity and quality of your work and you will be surprised at how much you have accomplished.
Ensure you take time to implement the 3 P´S in your day, these are the keys to successfully managing your time.