What Effective Time Management Really Means – Part 1 of 2

 

Part1 400We use this phrase: ‘Effective Time Management’ quite frequently in our daily routines. Be that as it may, perhaps I could suggest another way of looking at this loosely used terminology. I strongly believe that, this fresh paradigm about effective time management, shall improve our personal and team productivity.

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines ‘manage’ as “to have control of (something, such as a business, department, sports team, etc.).” It implies that to manage time, we should control time. Can we literally control time? We really cannot control time, can we? We cannot literally speed it up, slow it down, or simply pause it. Time has got its own pace whether we walk faster or slower. It goes on when we stop walking or sleep. It does not wait for us. Neither can time go faster when we feel that, the wait for something wonderful to happen, is agonizing. Time gives us 24 hours per day, 60 minutes per hour, and 60 seconds per minute. This is true for everyone.

No one can manage time. However, one can by far outperform the rest of the team members, given the same 8-working hour period per day. Why is that? The key lies in the optimization of one’s time. We cannot manage time itself, however we can manage our work (i.e. our activities, our tasks) that should be completed within a certain period of time. Thus, time optimization means effective work management.

How can we effectively manage our work? Let me propose the following tips for effective work management:

  1. Prioritize your work
    Remember Joseph M. Juran’s principle named after the Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto? Juran’s Pareto principle states, “For many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.” Similarly, 80% of our performance is largely determined by 20% of our work. Prioritizing your work helps focus and optimize your time. As a result, not only that you are more productive, the quality of your execution is also improved.
  2. Stop procrastinating
    Psychology Today suggests that “everyone procrastinates sometimes, but 20 percent of people chronically avoid difficult tasks and deliberately look for distractions.
  3. Manage your energy
    Make sure we have good quality of input in executing our tasks. We all need to refresh ourselves in order to deliver good quality results consistently. We need to recharge ourselves by taking some time to do the things we enjoy doing the most (e.g.: read comics, watch movies, listen to music). In fact, people in general will deliver better quality of outputs when they feel fresh and energized.

How can we execute the above tips and improve our productivity? Part two of this article discusses further about how apply these tips to optimize time and manage our work more effectively.

Stay tune! Part two of this article will be was published next on Monday, August 15, 2016.

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