"I still have so much to do" - almost everyone has been in a hurry once, when the time runs out before a deadline. No matter if it is the housework in the study or the project completion in the job - stress is inevitably in sight.
This is not only bad for personal wellbeing. It may also affect the quality of the work if there is not enough time to prepare and test details. If you irritate the time window too long, you may also strain the patience of colleagues or supervisors who need the work themselves. Many oaths are done: "That will not happen to me again."
Structured time management is the solution
But how can you manage the deadlines, assess the time and effort, and do the work efficiently? Structured time management is the solution. The goal is to organize the work in such a way that there is no need for time at all. Often the problem is not that not enough time has been planned, but that the available time is not used optimally.
On average, workers waste three hours a day on things that are not part of their core tasks. It does not matter if you get bogged down quickly or simply like to be pro-raced: good time management helps to better organize the work and to keep motivation high with short-term milestones. Last but not least, good time management is a welcome skill in the industry Curriculum vitaewhich is ideally occupied by certificates for time management methods.
Time management in 5 simple steps
Good time management does not begin with the factor of time - until when something has to be done - starts much earlier. Firstly, objectives and priorities must be defined, followed by further steps such as scheduling and selecting the appropriate tools. 5 Steps at a glance:
1. set priorities
These factors must be taken into account so as not to create any overburden. Only then can realistic goals be set.
- What do I want to achieve?
- What steps are necessary?
- Is this possible at all within the set time frame? The point is to develop a look for what you can really do without overloading or breaking deadlines. It is important to know yourself and your own personality.
- How strong am I at the moment?
- How much time can I honestly put into the work?
- Is it an important project?
- What important and unavoidable dates are in my calendar, which could hinder me?
- What about my health?
- Am I still free to relax?
2. Setting goals: What is important?
This also includes separating the important from the unimportant. This can help the two-list technique that has already been used by the investment billionaire Warren Buffet. First, create a list of 25 targets from which to select the 5 most important ones. Before these 5 top goals are met, none of the remaining goals can be tackled. This helps to stay focused and not get bogged down. Then the upcoming tasks can be done quickly and well, no energy is wasted.
The Eisenhower principle is also concerned with the prioritization of objectives and tasks. Here, too, the big picture is first captured and then subdivided into partial tasks. These are sorted into four categories: urgent and important tasks have to be done first, urgent and not important tasks can be delegated well. Important, but not urgent tasks are scheduled for later. Unimportant and non-urgent work is neglected and does not cost attention and energy at the moment. These two methods are part of the strategic time management and reduce the feeling of the performance pressure and the overburden.
3. Divide tasks and stop in time
After the first steps, it is clear which tasks are at stake. Now it's time for operative time management. The task is divided into individual work steps. For example, "making financial statements" is too unclear and the associated expense is difficult to assess. "Copy Barbels" and "Sort Bank Statements" are smaller stopovers that are easier to reach and check off. Now the time has to be planned:
- Until when does it have to be done?
- How much time does the task take? You often have to rely on your own experience.
- Here too, an honest assessment is important: Better to plan for a buffer, than to be too optimistic then in time.
- Unforeseen events can otherwise shake the whole schedule.
- The consequences are known: stress, worse results or anger with the client.
4. Time log
In order to be able to assess yourself and the duration of the tasks better, it is advisable to keep a time record. Recurring tasks can be planned more precisely. In this way, one often encounters undetected time-eaters, which can be avoided as a result. A realistic timetable helps to fulfill the given tasks in a timely manner. This increases the motivation as well as the reward after work, for example with a meal with friends.
For many tasks it is not so easy to find a final point. Especially people who tend to perfectionism know the problem. The Pareto principle can help with the time and effort allocation: It means that an 80-percent result can often be done with 20 percent of the stake. 20 percent of the time can be done in 80 percent of the tasks. If you put more work in, the result is not much better. Even if you can not always go through this principle, it is definitely worth thinking about where effort can be saved without losing much of the result.
5. Tools and tools for scheduling
Each plan is only as good as the implementation. This also applies to scheduling. In order for the carefully prepared battle plan to be adhered to, you can get help in the form of tools. Personal Kanban Boards such as Trello are used to visualize tasks, document the processing status, and remind you of upcoming deadlines. Parting off tasks is fun and helps to free the head for current to-dos.
This also facilitates cooperation in projects and reduces the need for coordination. For complex tasks with many interdependent steps, the classic Gantt diagram can also be helpful. This clearly shows what needs to be done first so that other things can be tackled. Also, there are a variety of user-friendly apps.
Conclusion: Correct methods help
All these methods and tools help users to spend their time effectively and efficiently. Who uses them comes to more realistic assessments than by gut feeling.
Most importantly, however, there is a timetable that works for one's own and takes into account the individual way of working and performance. Only then will they be successfully implemented.
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