March 28

Learning to Manage Your Time Well

Time Management

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Are You Managing Your Time Well?

Do you ever get to the end of the day and wonder where the time went?

Learning to Manage Your Time Well

Or, even worse, feel as though you got nothing done?

If so, you’re not alone.

After all, where do you learn to manage your time? It’s not a skill that’s taught in school or at home.

It seems that you either have to be born knowing how, or you have to find a way to learn.

I think that most of us could learn to manage our time more effectively than we do.

Planning Ahead

One way to get more done is to plan ahead.

Take a look at your schedule for the next day or upcoming week, and then compare that to your to do list.

Do you actually have enough hours in the day to get all the things on your list done? Most of us are far too optimistic when it comes to what we think we can accomplish.

Maybe the first place to begin is to take another look at your to do list before you begin scheduling in your to dos.

Setting Priorities

A lot of us will think of something that we have to do and then add it to a list we’ve started somewhere.

When we get ready to tackle it, we usually just go in the order of what’s been written down.

Or sometimes we take a look, see what we can get done quickly, and then do those so that we can at least cross a few things off that never ending list.

But that’s not the most effective way of getting things done.

Instead you should be looking at what’s urgent and important. And you should realize that those two things are not the same.

You can divide tasks into four categories:

  1. Urgent and important
  2. Urgent, but not important
  3. Important but not urgent
  4. Not important or urgent

What to Tackle First

Urgent tasks usually have a time frame attached to them. But just because they are urgent doesn’t mean they come first.

For instance, maybe there’s a sale at a local store that ends today at 5:00 and you would like to check it out. However, you also have a bill due that has to be post marked by today and the post office closes at 5:00.

Both things are urgent, in that they end today at 5:00. But the bill, unlike the sale, is also important and therefore should be done first.

So urgent and important gets done first, followed by urgent but not important.

Maybe you also have a couple of other items on your to do list today: you need to call your insurance agent about your coverage before it renews next week, and you really should email your cousin that recipe you’ve been promising her.

Right now, the call to the insurance agent is important, but not urgent. By next week, when it gets closer to your renewal it will become urgent, but today, you can afford to put it off by a day or two if you need to.

And the email to your cousin really isn’t urgent or important (sorry), so you can get to that when you get a chance.

And to be honest, if you never do, it’s really not a big deal compared to everything else you do.

Sorting Things Out

Once you’ve prioritized your tasks, the easiest thing to do is to color code them if you’ve written them on a piece of paper. That way, you’re not writing everything over again, which is a waste of time.

Highlight 2 or 3 urgent and important tasks that you have time to do today.

No more than that.

Then schedule them into your day, like appointments. This helps make sure you get them done because you have set aside time to do so.

I know that 2 or 3 tasks seems like barely anything at all, but it’s a reasonable amount to expect. If you have extra time, you can add in the next one.

Either way, you can end your day knowing that you got something important done.

And that is time well spent.

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