A Five Step Approach to Better Time Management

Posted by on March 21, 2010 at 2:06 am

One of the most famous quotes by Peter F. Drucker is on time management. This was what he said: “Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed nothing else can be managed.”

Indeed time is in fact one of the most precious commodity in the world. You simply cannot attach a price to it. I sometimes wonder whether time will ever be available for purchase in the market, since we often hear people complaining about a lack of time. How wonderful will it be when that happens? Everyone will be able to complete the tasks they are required to accomplish for the day by buying time. However, the reality is that a lot of people are either misusing or trying to find more time.

One of the many reasons why we hear complains about a lack of time is due to doing too many things at a time. Poor prioritisation of tasks has led to everything being important and urgent. In the long run, it will definitely result in work overload and burnout. Before you are exhausted physically, mentally and emotionally due to poor time management, it’s time to take action to manage the only component manageable within the entire time management puzzle, that is you. What do I mean by this?

If you are always finding no time to complete your tasks at work no matter how hard you try and everything seems to be urgent to you all the time, you are probably trying too hard to manage time. The solution to get out of this predicament is to manage yourself instead of trying to manage time. Time is just too big for anybody to handle. Prioritising and organising what is important should be your goal. It is the key to good time management. To assist you in taking charge of your life and managing your time better, here is a five step approach to better time management:

Step one – Prioritise your tasks according to the level of importance

The first step is the most important of the five step approach where you list out all the tasks to be done and prioritise them accordingly in a top down approach from the most to the least level of importance.

Step two – Organise and plan your schedule

The second step will involve the allocation of time and planning of your personal schedule. In order to get the things done, time has to be set aside and integrated into your daily list of activities. You need to plan ahead and allocate enough time to avoid disappointment and prevent last minute rushes. This will allow you to complete your tasks in an efficient manner and also reduce stress caused due to last minute rushes to meet your work deadlines.

Step three – Choose the appropriate course of action for each task

The third step will require you to think about what course of action you will be taking. The action chosen will be repeated over time to complete the tasks. Therefore, it is important to plan ahead to prevent a waste of valuable time if a wrong course of action is chosen.

Step four – Set a deadline for each task

The forth step is also the step that will force you to work towards to meet the deadline for the task in case you are lazy. Most people tend to shelf the tasks that have no deadlines and will leave them there for an indefinite amount of time. These tasks will be forgotten over time. When a necessity suddenly arises for any of these tasks to be completed, that is when stress builds up as the deadline for these tasks are often very close as they are left uncompleted for such a long time.

Step five – Create a routine and stick to it

The last step is where you integrate all the tasks to be done into a routine so that they get completed slowly over time in an efficient manner. This allows you to better manage your tasks and ensure that they are completed on time.

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