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Time Management Techniques

from: Jennifer C Morton - Guest Writer

One of the tasks we are often unsuccessful at is managing our time well. There really is no reason for this, since there are effective time management techniques. These techniques can help you with your most precious possession – your time. Time spent is gone forever. In spite of what we often profess, we cannot save time. Time moves continually and it is used – one way or another.

If we waste time, there is no bank where we can withdraw time we previously saved to replace the time wasted. To come to terms with our mortality is to realize that our time is limited. Given this realization and probability that you would like to better organize your time, here are some techniques.

Time management technique 1: Assess how you spend your time

As a first step in managing time better, you might want to analyze how you spend your time now. To do this, divide your day into fifteen-minute segments, then record what you are doing every fifteen minutes. Afterward, review this time diary and total the time spent on each activity throughout the day.

For instance, you might that you spent three hours watching television, one hour exercising, one hour studying, and two hours shopping. Next, evaluate the use of time. You might decide you spend too much time watching TV and too little time studying. Based upon this evaluation, decide on an adjustment, but make it specific. A good way to make this change is to draw up a contract with yourself that includes a reward for being successful.

Time management technique 2: Set Goals

The most important thing you can do to manage time is to set goals: daily, weekly, monthly, yearly and long-range. If you don’t have a clear sense of where you are headed just yet, you will not be able to plan how to get there. Your use of time should be organized to maximize the chances of achieving your goals.

Time management technique 3: Learn to prioritize

Once you have defined your goals, you need to prioritize them and your activities. Not all of your goals will be equally important. Focus on those goals that are of major importance to you, and work on the other goals secondarily. Likewise, focus on activities most important to the achievement of your highest goals and on other activities afterward.

Time management technique 4: Keep a schedule

Once you’ve prioritized your activities, you can then schedule them into you day. When will you go to the library? When will you shop for groceries? Don’t forget to schedule some relaxation and recreation, as well.

Time management technique 5: Maximize your rewards

In scheduling your activities, remember what some time management experts say: we get 80% of our rewards on only 20% of our activities and, conversely, get only 20% of our rewards on 80% of the time we spend. What this tells us is that we need to make sure we identify and engage in the 20% of the activities that give us 80% of our rewards before we move to the other activities. Maximize your rewards by organizing your time.

As you can see from the techniques mentioned above, time, while short and fleeting, is something that can be managed even by mere human beings like us. The best way to cope with it is to know early on what we want to happen to our lives and which directions we’d like to head, in order for us to more effectively map out a life plan. If we don’t know what our plans are, then it wouldn’t really make sense to get into time management because we’ll just end up with one big mess of activities.

Determine what you want first and then seek to manage your time. Remember, every second is precious, so you need to speed up. It’s for your own sake, anyway.

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The Randy Pausch Lecture - Time Management. One hour and sixteen minutes long, but really awesome content!

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