Time is relentless, though it’s temporary. For the majority of people time management task means doing more things faster. From the point of view of efficiency it’s a right approach, although quality aspect of the problem is much more important than the quantity aspect. Unproductive waste of time is especially intolerable for a leader striving for efficient activity. In many cases, it’s better to do nothing than take actions without proper planning. Often it’s more preferable to spend some time thinking over this or that question, rather than act thoughtlessly, risking to provoke chaos or an acute conflict.
The truth is no one is eternal. We shouldn’t be afraid of it but we need to treat our everyday activity as today is the last day, and this deed is the final deed of your life. Surely, you want to finish it with something significant. It’s possible only on account that you won’t leave a complete mess after yourself so people who come after you will take on without any difficulties.
Try to do your duties of a leader clear and precise to the limit. Don’t forget about your final goal, while concentrating on the immediate task. Then your deed will be continued even if today is your last. Such a mood will help you to do more, faster, without any harm to the quality of your work.
In order to use your time rationally, you should make a list of immediate and long-term tasks and to analyse how are they fulfilled on a daily basis. The list of immediate tasks will show you what have you already achieved and what you still need to do. Strategic plan will either prove the accuracy of the chosen way or show a necessity to correct it. Developing of such plans and taking responsibilities before yourself will push you to the intended goal. If you don’t want to push yourself, you risk to fall into lethargic condition.
Transition from one kind of action to another is one of the most difficult aspects of time management problem. It may be extremely hard for people intensively engaged in some activity to switch to something different. Concentration of attention on such transition moment is one of the ways to enhance efficiency of your managing work. You’ll be able to avoid losing orientation, inertia and absent-mindedness in the periods of finishing one project and starting another one, between 2 important meetings, moving from one place to another, etc.
In such non-structured periods you can engage yourself in some significant activity. For example, making notes about your thoughts, ideas, achievements in your notebook. You can also devote this time to developing alternative plans which especially concern 3rd World countries where unexpected events happen quite often. If plan A fails, you can try to accomplish plan B or even C. Such a prior planning prevents huge waste of time as you will always have several reserve plans.
It’s useful to make a to-do list daily and to add periodically notes and changes there. Having such a note at hand, you’ll be able to use your time more productively and pay more attention to the most essential aspects to your activity. It’ll also help to avoid repeated tasks and not to distract on not so important things.
We often hear the phrase: “I want to do so many things but I don’t have enough time.” Such a statement has no reason. An average 70-year-old American spends 10 years on work, 23 years on sleep, 6 years on reading and studying, 11 years on eating and taking care of oneself, 13 years on vacation and entertainment and 7 years on other things. If you save 20 minutes on any of these actions, by 70 years you’ll have an additional year. So it’s not true that you don’t have time. The key thing here is how you use it.
Another method of a better time management is to enhance the quality of your sleep in order to decrease your body need in it. An average person sleeps ⅓ of the life. If you use this time for self-education, you can significantly enhance your efficiency and productivity. One of the methods is to try to remember everything you dreamt about right after you get up. You should also write all the thoughts down. Sleeping may be used for remembering: you’ll be astonished to know how much information stays in your memory. Some people use players with autoreverse: before going to sleep they switch on music or audiotexts perceiving them on the level of subconsciousness. There are lots of such recordings which will make your sleep productive.
As you learn to value your sleeping time, its efficient use will be beneficial for your body, intelligence and soul. It’ll help you to serve better to your family, organization, society, all the humanity and God.
Alan Lakein is one of the best consultants on methodics of rational time management. He made up a wonderful list of ways to save time: