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#70 [12.05.2006]
 

A New Approach to Time Management

By Nowshade Kabir ©Rusbiz.com

A New Approach to Time Management

In today’s hectic life style it is becoming increasingly difficult to manage time effectively. There are so many things to do, and so little time! Internet is supposed to be the ultimate means for bringing efficiency to your life. The information that you need, the business tool you use, everything is now at your finger tip thanks to ubiquitous access to the Internet. But did it make your life easier? Most of us will tell probably not. On the contrary! Easy access to virtually any information lures us to spend way too much time on the Internet. How to regain total control of our precious time?


Time is a relative concept

In the physical world time indeed is a relative matter. In Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity time’s relative value was exemplified in the paradox often referred to as “Paradox of Twin”.

Consider that in a not so far future time there lived a pair of twins – Rob and Mary – somewhere on the Earth. Mary decided to visit a star eight light years away, stop there for a while and come back. The technology at that time allows her to travel at a speed of 80 percent of the speed of light on a fast spaceship. She made her trip and came back to the Earth. What will she see? While by Earth’s time 20 years have passed since she left, she has aged only 12 years and definitely looked younger than her twin.

May be we don’t see this relative physical characteristic of time in real life, one thing we all know is when we are busy with things that interest us, we feel that time passes faster and when we are engaged in a boring or dull job, we feel that the time is passing slowly.

Before we try to manage our time effectively we should have a better perception of our own time and how we spend it. The following exercise will help you get a better picture of your own time:

For three consecutive days write down everything you do from the moment you woke up and till you go to bed. Keep your pen and paper always handy. If necessary set alarm for every two hours to remind you so that you don’t forget to log. The idea is to get a thorough picture of your daily activities. After three days take a look at your logged data and on a separate list write down how much time you spent in an average day on each activity like sleeping, commuting, reading, working, socializing, etc.


Spending time on important things only or
First Things First

Now take a look on all your activities from a different approach. Assign each of the activity to one of the following groups: Urgent and important, Not urgent but important, Urgent but not important, Not urgent and not important.

Urgent and important: These are the priority number one tasks. Making your sales call, preparing for tomorrow’s exam and paying bills due today – these are some examples of urgent and important works.

Not Urgent but important: There are works that are not so pressing, but you understand by procrastinating them you are impairing your growth. These are the tasks on which you should emphasize your efforts most. Setting goals, planning your activities, and writing your business plan are examples from this group.

Urgent but not important: We spend a substantial amount of time on works that are pressing but does not have any real impact on achieving specific objectives. You have to chair a meeting that your colleague has requested as he is sick is an example of this type of activities. Often task from this group are requests from others or workloads you have willingly taken but deep in your mind you know that these tasks really don’t carry any personal value for you.

Not urgent and not important: These are the real time wasters. Reading junk mails, browsing through the Internet aimlessly, making unnecessary calls to friends are some of the common activities that should be avoided.

Since in the core of effective time management lies the idea of doing things that are important to you, you have to figure out how to select those tasks.



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Goal setting

Goal setting is an absolute necessary method for personal planning. The process of goal setting gives you the real picture of your life – what you are now and what you are planning to be in the future. To understand which tasks are really important to you and will help you achieve success you have to set long term goals and then subdivide them to short terms goals. Once you did this, write all the things you have to do to reach these goals, steps you have to take and time span necessary to act upon them.


Use a planner

Move all these necessary activities to a planner. Identify the milestones. These should be your sub-goals. Specify how much time you will need to reach those milestones. Insert the tasks from the list you have created to the planner. Make weekly to do list based on your planner. Choose no more than three to four tasks for each of your goals in a week.


Develop daily to do lists

Your daily to do list should incorporate one or two most important activities from your planner. Your daily to do list should be scheduled loosely. Make sure that you don’t spend too much time on work related tasks. Over working will burn your enthusiasm quickly and bring you back to your previous life style.

In the beginning you might feel overwhelmed with the quantity of tasks you plan to do. To build your self confidence and manage time efficiently choose five not so difficult tasks each day and promise yourself that no matter what you will finish these five tasks. If you continue this for three weeks, it will become a part of your daily habit and build your self trust.

Every time during the course of the day if you have to do a task which is not from your list, ask yourself this question, "Is this really important to my goals?" If the answer is "Yes!" then go for it, if not get back to your list.

Time Management strategies help us to stay motivated and create a balanced lifestyle. The above mentioned methods are effective when followed scrupulously.



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About the author
Nowshade Kabir is the founder, primary developer and present CEO of Rusbiz.com. A Ph. D. in Information Technology, he has wide experience in Business Consulting, International Trade and Web Marketing. Rusbiz is a Global B2B Emarketplace with solutions to start and run online business. Click here to contact him.