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The Four Best Practices of Time Management

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The importance of time management

Time management is an essential skill – whether you are a worker, looking to get through all your jobs faster, or just someone looking to achieve more in their personal life, perhaps running errands and doing the chores. It helps us to get more done, reduce stress, and free up valuable additional time for outstanding tasks or just to relax. 

There are four key practices involved in good time management. They are:

  1. Analyse 
  2. Prioritise
  3. Set goals
  4. Schedule

We will expand on each of these.

1. Analyse

The first thing for you to do is understand how you are using your time at the moment. Start tracking every major aspect of your activities, whether that is through an automatic tool or manually. Identify the biggest time-wasting activities in your time – could you save time on any of those by doing it differently? Could you delegate or put it off to another time? Make sure you are committing time to tasks that align with your overall goals. 

2. Prioritise

Prioritisation comes next. Not every task is as important. Some responsibilities can be set aside, some can be ditched altogether. What is most important to you, your team, your family, or your company? What can be eliminated and postponed? Rank the activities list you have made by urgency and important and reallocate using that information. You may wish to align your activities with the Four Ds of Time Management: Do, Defer, Delegate and Drop. 

3. Set Goals

Once you have your priorities, you can then work out a plan for accomplishing each of them. Set clear goals using the SMART method (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely) and chunk your larger goals into smaller milestones – this will help you keep your focus and motivation throughout the days, weeks and months ahead, and structure your achievement of the goals. 

4. Schedule

Make your new set of goals a reality by writing them down in your diary or calendar. Make sure you have a way to hold yourself accountable for achieving them. Block out time if necessary, in the same way you would for a meeting. 

And you're ready to go! By following these four simple steps, you can have yourself well on your way to having a clear and productive year. Good luck!

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