The author of this highly rated article is Paul du Toit, CSP.
Author, Mindset Shifter, Certified Speaking Professional
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I’ve often wished I could buy just an extra hour each day. But I can’t. What I can do is employ a strategy to manage the time I have better than I am right now.
What strikes me each time I run out of time or run late for something, is that I really am my own worst enemy. After all, time management is self management and while many never seem to have enough time, we all start off each day with the same amount of time – twenty four hours. It is interesting then, that a minority manage extremely well with the time they have. How do they do it?
I remember chatting to a friend studying for an exam some years ago who regularly put herself under undue pressure by not getting down to her studies early enough. She would tidy her desk, get the books out, organise everything she’d need at hand and then get a quick cup of tea before she started. On her way downstairs the cute new kitten was playing with a ball of wool. This was irresistible – so he got cuddled and played with. Twenty minutes later she was making tea and noticed a programme on TV that looked interesting. Another 30 minutes later, she noticed the dirty dishcloths and gave them a quick wash so they would be ready for this evening, which led to anything but what she’d set out to do – study!
Distraction is a form of procrastination. We become distracted so that we don’t have to deal with things we’re uncertain about or uncomfortable with, or things that we’re less enthusiastic about. The problem is these things never go away. They continue to haunt us until the guilt drives us mad. When we get down to doing what we’ve been avoiding, we often sit back and wonder what was so bad about doing what we should have done in the first place.
People who manage their time effectively not only get more done, but are generally less stressed and more successful overall. This may explain why some people seem to have potential, but fall short when it comes to results. It will also explain why people with seemingly little potential can attain extraordinary things – by applying their minds to things that other people aren’t! The difference is the ability to translate the talk or thoughts into constructive action. The 4 key components of time management are:
- Set goals and create a strategy to accomplish them
- Prioritise each day
- Delegate things you don’t have to do to someone else
- Manage distractions
Managing your time effectively is simply a habit. How else would you explain the “lateness phenomenon”? You have probably noticed that it is always the same people who are late, the same ones who squeak in just on time and the same ones who are always early.
We operate in patterns. If we’re untidy – that’s a habit. If we spend most of each weekend watching TV instead of going out and doing something – that too becomes a habit, as is buying the newspaper each day (what on earth for?). We have both good and bad habits. The good news is that managing your time effectively can quite easily be turned into a habit. But this is something you have to do – you can’t delegate your habits!