How to hone your time management skills


Ours is a busy society where everyone is moving from place to place quite rapidly, whether at school, home or work. As a result, many people may feel that there simply are not enough hours in the day to get it all done.

Quite often people delay certain tasks until the late hours of the night as a way to catch up. But that can be detrimental to health. The National Institute of Health warns that lack of adequate sleep can affect mood, adversely affect relationships, increase anxiety, and possibly contribute to depression. Inadequate sleep is also associated with increased risk of high blood pressure, obesity and heart disease.

Rather than tapping into precious hours of shut-eye, men and women can learn how to manage their time better so they complete more tasks during the day, leaving more time to relax and sleep at night. Effective time management begins with these strategies.

1. Set priorities. Begin by setting priorities. This involves making a list of all the tasks that need to be completed, and then putting them in order of most essential to least essential. Once you understand where to first devote your attention, address items on the list in order of their priority.

2. Develop goals. Goals do not have to be far-off ideas for the future. They can be easily reached today. Simple goals such as, “I want to remove all nonessential paperwork from my desk” can be tackled quickly and without much effort. Goals give a person something to work toward and are important ways to steer you in the right direction. Without goals, you may wander aimlessly. Accomplishing goals of all shapes and sizes gives a feeling of accomplishment.

3. Avoid distractions. Distractions can pull attention away from important tasks at hand. Distractions can be phone calls, text alerts, personal issues, people in the room, and many other things. Figure out how you work best and minimize distractions so that you can fully focus on your priorities.

4. Stop multitasking. Unfortunately, multitasking is not the key to getting more things done. In fact, it could actually be hurting performance. Research conducted at Stanford University discovered that multitasking is less productive than doing a single thing at a time. You simply cannot put full effort into multiple things at once — and something will be short-changed if you try.

5. Write things down. Keeping information floating around your mind is ineffective and can lead to stress. Put things down on paper or make digital notes to keep track of what needs to get done. Set your targets and break each task down to manageable pieces. Physically cross items off your list as they are completed.

Time management is a skill that can be learned with practice and focusing on elements of success.

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