Time Management: The Key to a Better Life

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Time management is basically about being focused. The Pareto Principle also known as the ’80:20 Rule’ states that 80% of efforts that are not time managed or unfocused generates only 20% of the desired output. However, 80% of the desired output can be generated using only 20% of a well time managed effort. Although the ratio ’80:20′ is only arbitrary, it is used to put emphasis on how much is lost or how much can be gained with time management.

Some people view time management as a list of rules that involve scheduling of appointments, goal settings, thorough planning, creating to-do lists and prioritizing. While these are the core basics of time management, there is more to it than that.

There are more skills involved in time management than the core basics. You also need to see the big picture. There is no point having perfect time management if you are spending that time working toward the wrong goals. Skills such as decision making, clear vision and critical thinking are also essential to your personal growth.

Personal time management involves everything you do. No matter how big and no matter how small, everything counts. Each new knowledge you acquire, each new advice you consider, each new skill you develop should be taken into consideration.

Having a balanced life-style should be the key result in having personal time management. This is the main aspect that many practitioners of personal time management fail to grasp.

For some people, time management seems stressful. They think it means that they must not ‘waste time’ by doing anything they do not enjoy. But that’s not it at all. In fact, it can be closer to the opposite. Time management is making time for the things that really matter to you, not about being busy.

The six areas that personal time management seeks to improve in anyone’s life are physical, intellectual, social, career, emotional and spiritual.

The physical aspect involves having a healthy body, less stress and fatigue.

The intellectual aspect involves learning and other mental growth activities.

The social aspect involves developing personal or intimate relations and being an active contributor to society.

The career aspect involves school and work.

The emotional aspect involves recognizing appropriate feelings and desires and manifesting them.

The spiritual aspect involves a personal quest for meaning.

Some of these areas clearly lend themselves better than others to the basic time management skills like to-do lists. However, determining which area in your life is not being giving enough attention is part of time management. Each area creates the whole you. If you are ignoring one area when you think about your goals and achievements then you are ignoring an important part of yourself.

A great way of learning time management and improving your personal life is to follow several basic activities.One of them is to review your goals whether it be immediate or long-term goals often.

A way to do this is to keep a list that is always accessible to you. This is not a to-do list but a list of your goals. You can add to it as you like. Remember, you have goals in all aspects of your life. When you really think about them thoroughly, you will see that everything you do is moving you toward one of those goals – even if it is a goal you did not know that you had.

Another aspect of time management is recognizing our physical abilities and needs. For example, everybody has peak times of day when their concentration is at its maximum. For most people, this is around the middle of the morning. It’s important to use that time to work toward one of your goals that requires concentration and sustained effort.

It would be wasting that peak time if you spent it sitting and watching TV. On the other hand, sitting and watching TV for an hour in the evening may not be a waste of time at all, but a good way to wind down for a restful night’s sleep. Every kind of activity that you enjoy can be included in your day. Just make sure it keeps its proper place.

It’s important not to procrastinate, or put off the things that need doing right now. If something is your top priority for the day, then get started on it right away. If you start doing other things first it will become harder and harder to tackle the main task. You will easily be distracted and may end up without much achieved. So the night before, decide what is your top priority for the following day. Then tackle it as soon as you can when the day comes.

Learning to say “No” to some people or activities is important if you are going to make the most of your time. It could mean telling your boss that you are not the best person to do a certain task, or that if you do this, you will not be able to do that more important thing that he also wants from you. It could mean telling your kids that you can only play with them at certain times. It could mean turning down an invitation or rescheduling a meeting to make way for something more important.

None of this will be a problem as long as you make it clear to other people that they are important to you too. When it’s time for work, you don’t play with the kids; but equally, when it’s time to play with the kids, you do that wholeheartedly. You don’t act in a way that makes them think that you would prefer to be working. Remember, time management does not mean prioritizing your work above all else: it means making room in your life for everything that is important to you.

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