Everyone has the same 24 hours a day. But, why is it that some people achieve so much more with their time while others can’t get enough of it? The answer lies in the way you manage your time and attention.
What is Time Management? Are You Doing it the Right Way?
“Time management” refers to the way that you organize and plan how long you spend on specific activities (Source: MindTools). Sometimes, you seemed to be busy all-day doing work but realised that you completed almost nothing from your task list. Distractions and interruptions came all over the place from phone calls, meetings to other office bustles. You have been constantly multitasking and switching attention amongst all your task list that constitutes to none. It’s ironic that after a long day of work, you sense nothing of achievement and satisfaction but just fatigue (That’s how burnout derives. Also Read: Learn how to avoid burnout by practicing Mindfulness!)
Maura Thomas founder of RegainYourTime gave a perfect analogy (source: HBR): imagine your task is to ride a bicycle for 10 miles. You begin to pedal and just as you build up speed and start making progress, something unexpectedly makes you hit the brakes. Because you had to stop, you’ve lost your momentum and have to expend more effort to get going again. Imagine you are forced to brake every time you start to go faster. You can never coast. You have to pedal — hard — all the time. How much longer do you think it’s going to take you to get to your destination? How much more difficult and frustrating do you think it’s going to be? This is your brain power on distraction, and it causes unsatisfying, unfulfilling work days.
What Constitute a Good Time Management?
A good time management requires an important shift in focus from activities to results. So, instead of spending your day in a frenzy of activity – dividing your attention and focus between so many tasks, you should develop the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task which Georgetown professor Cal Newport define as “deep work”. He says that the benefit is that “it allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time.”
By this time, you would have come to full realization that a lot of work needs to be done to be a high-performance achiever. You need to manage your time and focus on what’s important rather than blindly multitasking and getting busy for non-effective long day at work. Here are the 3 Steps that will help you to get things started:
1. Break Down Your Old Habit to Develop Good Ones!
Awareness is the first action that you need to have to identify the old habits (that you may not even realize you have it) that triggered your attention to be stolen. Every time you find yourself switching away from a task without an intentional stopping point, note it on a piece of paper. Then think about what caused you to be distracted and jot that down, too. Once you become aware of the cues, you can find ways to overcome them and eventually counter it with developing good habits to be a highly productive & successful executives.
2. Take Control of Your Time!
In time management strategy, balance is key – balance among work, home and personal life. However work-life balance is not a set agenda; it means creating a life which works for you. If career achievement is what you cherish most, then it may be alright for you to work a ten-hour day. But if family is equally or more important to you, then you need to reassess the time you spend working. Take control of your time by planning and prioritising tasks effectively. This will serve to enhance your overall effectiveness and allow you to achieve more in shorter periods and will give you back a sense of control.
3. Overcome Procrastination and Be Deeply Focused!
We all have that never ending To Do List. And in addition of the multitude of distractions, many of us are now incapable of starting a task and finishing it. Successful people don’t try to do everything. They learn to focus on the most important tasks and make sure they get it done. It is vital to not only set the right goals but also to find the motivation and perseverance to achieve them. Deeply focused mind enables you to increase your ability to beat procrastination and focus on key tasks at hand.
Good time management lets you work smarter – not harder – so you get more done in less time. By using the right time-management techniques, you can improve your ability to function more effectively – even when time is tight and pressures are high.