Originally published on theodysseyonline.com
Time management is a vital and invaluable skill for managers, employees, and families. Whether it is working on a business proposal, completing a project for school, or scheduling time with friends and family, time management skills can provide the resources we need to complete tasks successfully and live functional, fulfilled lives. Here, successful entrepreneur Adam Ferrari provides five important tips to effectively manage time.
1. Find a System That Works for You and Commit to It
There are more time management systems available than ever before. Some systems are simply philosophies and tactics found among numerous productivity books and there are other very good software-based systems and apps available. When you compare various systems, you will find some common themes, and if an off-the-shelf system doesn't work for you, you can combine methods and techniques into a personal system that will work for you. Of course, the key to any system is your commitment to use the system and follow through daily with the tasks you assign yourself. Prioritize your daily tasks and you will find that you have much more time than you expected to get things done.
2. Schedule Your Tasks Around Your Most Productive Times
Some of us are morning people and find that we are most alert and active early in the day, while others find that they are most productive in the afternoon or evening. In all cases, everyone has some daily obligations built into their schedule automatically, including family duties and other work responsibilities. You should examine the times in your daily schedule when you are free to handle your daily task list and you are at your most productive. When you look for the best times in your day to schedule tasks and keep your most important work for those times you will find that your productivity increases and your stress is lowered.
3. Develop Habits to Fight Procrastination
Procrastination wastes your most valuable time and can shatter your focus on the big picture. Your mind will often tell you that you have plenty of time available, or it may simply resist doing something that looks difficult or not rewarding. One simple way to fight procrastination is to try the five-minute method of working on your to-do list. When you feel stuck on getting something started, commit five minutes to it. This could mean nothing more than writing an outline of an email or running through a single column of figures. Whatever the case is, you will often find that you are able to roll right past your initial five-minute commitment without even being aware of it. Getting the first step done and building inertia is usually enough to get you into the zone and work without thinking about avoiding it.
4. Automate as Many Work Systems as Possible
Working efficiently is the key to increasing productivity. Modern software applications and systems are able to take over many traditionally boring and challenging work chores. Data science processes are replacing manual data collection and analysis in many industries. Insights from automated processes can jump-start your work on marketing, production, human resources, and almost any other work task.
5. Perfection Can Be the Enemy of Productivity
Many of us are perfectionists, and while the trait is generally admirable, it can seriously affect overall productivity. Accept that there are some tasks that simply need to get done competently while there are others that should be done to the very best of your ability. Understanding the difference will help you dedicate the time needed to the things that truly deserve your highest effort.