Any exam sat is taken against the clock and the majority of work undertaken throughout our lives is only valuable if completed within a deadline. Sadly if you cannot adequately manage your time, you will never get anywhere in life. Many people assume that the key is to increase the amount of time that you spend working but this is in fact not the case at all. Effective time management involves managing exactly what you do with your time so that the limited time available to you allows you to meet and even exceed all your goals. Here are the most important things to remember.
Set a goal for each item in your schedule
Of course the first aspect of time management is ensuring that you have an exact schedule and you stick to it. However, that schedule is useless unless goals are set for each item. You can stay busy all day following a schedule without getting anything done. Therefore each item on your schedule should contain not only a specific time frame but also a particular objective to be achieved within it.
Set a priority for each item in your schedule
It doesn’t matter how good you are at managing your time, you are only human and therefore you will make mistakes and things will occasionally take longer than expected. The key here is not to try to avoid this happening but instead take measures to ensure that its occurrence has the least consequence possible. Therefore set a priority level for all activities within your schedule based upon how important it is that each gets done i.e. how negative the impact is should it not get done. Then simply ensure that your schedule involves achieving the most important objectives first.
One of the biggest problems with the above step is that you will often find that the highest priority objectives are those that happen to be the most difficult to do. This obviously leads to a very large urge to procrastinate and leave it them until the end of your day. However if you are to effectively manage your time you must never procrastinate. It is a very easy habit to pick up and many people remain hopeless procrastinators for large portions of their life.
Simple rule is that if something has a priority and it can be done now, do it now. Putting things off until later does indeed make now a hell of a lot easier but the same work will still have to be done later and the only difference is that it will be done under pressure as the deadline is closer. Not only that but it will also often lead to that deadline being missed. Avoid procrastination at all costs.
While living an effectively time managed existence is unlikely to involve getting up at midday, it is also unlikely to be based around four hours of sleep per night. Many people attempt to add a few hours to their day by sleeping less however there is no genuine benefit to this. Gaining additional hours is of no use whatsoever if the result is decreased productivity throughout all hours. We all require different amounts of sleep in order to function, this is a proven fact. If your productivity levels decrease when you get less than eight hours, make sure you get those eight hours.
Take regular breaks
This is another big mistake that people make. In order to maximize the amount of time they have to work, they do not set aside enough time just to relax. Humans cannot continuously concentrate for hours on end without a break. You will just end up daydreaming if you try to work for even five hours straight. Take regular scheduled breaks. Experiment with taking five minutes off every hour. You may find that those five minutes increases the productivity of the other fifty-five by quite a lot.
So in conclusion, my essential point that effective time management is not about increasing the amount of time that you have to work, rather it is about organizing your activities in such a way that you can get what needs to be done, done in the limited time available. Remember you are not a robot and those with effective time management can meet deadlines without acting like one. It is not about buying more time, it’s about being careful about how you spend the time that you have.