A Time Management Tactic to Try

Self ImprovementStress Management › A Time Management Tactic to Try

Here is a time management technique that I use for a specific purpose. I've never written or spoken about it. It will work the easiest for those who already have good time management skills. However, everyone can benefit from it, I believe. Here it is.

When you feel you have too many items to accomplish on your "to do" list, or when you have a strict deadline for specific tasks try this.

  1. Take a short break to compose yourself. Take a short walk to the drinking fountain. Stare out the window. Take deeper than normal breaths. If your brain feels "partly cloudy," wash your face in cool water.
  2. Determine what exactly you have to do and when you must do it. List the tasks. Rank them in descending order of importance. Check the current time. How many hours do you have before you must complete the listed tasks?
  3. Divide the number of tasks into the total minutes you have available. This will tell you how much time you have to complete an average task from your list.
  4. Look at the list. Are there any quick and easy entries? Do them first, fast and well. This will allow more time for the more important or more difficult items. Only do tasks in this way that you know will take a shorter time than the average. If it would take longer, go directly to the most important tasks and begin.
  5. If there are phone calls to make, faxes to send, or emails to write, can you do these first and quickly? Since we often get voice mail on our first contact attempt, and faxes and emails incur a time delay between receipt and response, doing these first and fast could save time. If you can, delegate some of the minor tasks on the list. Promise those who help you that you will return the favor. Then do it.
  6. After these preliminary steps, reassess your time and tasks remaining. Set an alarm clock for the number of minutes allowed for each task and begin. Ask not to have interruptions or don't answer the phone unless the caller is part of your list. If you must speak to someone, manage your time. Ask if you may call back. Give them a specific time. Keep on task. If the alarm rings before you finish, move to the next task. Reset the alarm. Move on.
  7. Work to get the critical parts of each task down. Completion is the goal. However, if you don't get it done in your allotted time, move on. You will accomplish some tasks faster. When you do, use the remaining time you saved on that task for the most important task you didn't complete. Go back to it and use your gained time.
  8. An important part of making this technique successful is your attitude towards the list and the available time. When you first determine your average time per task, ask yourself: "Is this enough time, if I work diligently, to complete these tasks?" If not, pare down the list until you have confidence that you can complete those tasks. Relaxed, concentrated effort accomplishes more than worry or anxiety.
  9. This is not an every day technique. This is for special occasions when something has disrupted your schedule, or you suddenly have a new, time-sensitive task given to you.
  10. If you feel this is an every day approach, I suggest you review your current time management techniques and approaches. Find ways to better organize your work.

Summary: You know you have a deadline. You know what tasks you must complete. Take a breath, organize your list, and do the easiest and most unpleasant first. Then, one by one, work through your list. It will surprise you, how much you will accomplish using this technique.
Article Source: http://hyperstress.com

Article By: Tim O'Brien

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