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Managing Time; Your Most Valuable Resource - Articles Surfing
*Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.** Theophrastus (372 BC - 287 BC),
It is said that time is money, and I believe this is true. However, money can be regained; time cannot. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, and once they are spent, they are gone forever. Therefore, I believe that time is much more precious than money. Yet many of us take great care to budget our money, while squandering our time. When you fail to manage your time, you become unfocused, inefficient, and stressed. Whether you are just getting started, or you are successfully earning a fulltime living online, you simply cannot afford to waste time.
But what is effective time management, and how is it done? The 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, argues that 80% of unfocused work only produces 20% of the result, while 80% of the results are achieved with only 20% of focused effort. Time management is simply identifying and focusing on activities that give you the greatest returns. Effective time management requires developing some habits and utilizing certain tools. Let's look at these.
In order to manage your time well, the first thing you need to know is how you are currently spending your time. In order to fix anything, you need to know what's broken. By keeping an activity log, you will be able to see how much time you are wasting, and where you are wasting it.
Record the time you spend doing each activity in your day. Include everything: meals, reading and answering emails, making coffee, everything. Don*t alter your normal routine; just record it. I'll bet you'll be amazed at how much time you waste everyday on unproductive tasks. Also it is a good idea to record how you are feeling throughout the day so that you can identify at what time of day you are the most productive and energetic.
Set Clearly Defined Goals:
*In the absence of clearly-defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily trivia until ultimately we become enslaved by it.** Robert Heinlein.
In order to accomplish anything, you must first know what it is you want to accomplish. Setting goals gives you a clear target to shoot for. Set an overall long-term goal that you want to accomplish. Then set smaller short-term goals that are necessary to achieve your main goal. In setting goals, it is important to keep four things in mind:
1. Clearly define your goals. Be as specific as possible, including dates, times, and amounts so that you can measure your progress. This allows you to know when you have achieved the goal.
2. Write it down: This crystallizes the goal and makes it more powerful.
3. Set realistic goals: It is important to set goals that you can actually achieve. Setting goals too high just sets you up for failure and discouragement.
4. Don*t set your goals too low: This is just as important as not setting your goals too high. When you set your goals too low, you keep yourself from realizing your true potential.
Make an Action Plan:
*A goal without a plan is just a wish.** Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900 - 1944)
An Action Plan helps you to map out everything you need to do in order to achieve your goal. List all the steps necessary to achieve your goal in the order that they must be accomplished. Then simply carry out each task in the plan. This allows you to effectively monitor your progress. Update your plan as you go to reflect any changes or unforeseen items that come up.
Make a To Do List:
A To Do List is simply a list of the individual tasks necessary to accomplish each item in your action plan. List everything you need to do to accomplish the first item on your action plan. Then assign each task a priority from A to F (A being the highest priority; F being the lowest). Then rewrite the list in order of priority from highest to lowest. Complete each task starting with the top and working toward the bottom. Whatever you do not finish you can roll over to the next day's list. As a task gets older and closer to its deadline, you can assign it a higher priority. This will help keep you on track and focus your energy on the most important tasks first.
Set a Schedule:
*What may be done at any time will be done at no time.**Scottish Proverb.
Setting a schedule maps out your day and allows you to assign your time to the tasks on your To Do List according to their priority. A schedule is to time management, what a budget is to money management. It is the actual allocation of resource to the tasks necessary for the execution of your plan and the achievement of your goal. By having a clearly defined schedule you will be able to effectively manage your time use. With a schedule, you never have to ask, *What do I do now? Just follow your schedule.
Time management requires time, discipline, and effort. However, the return is well worth the investment. Regain control over your most valuable resource. Begin using time management today.
Copyright © 1995 - Photius Coutsoukis (All Rights Reserved).
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