By: Malan Chatevuka – Occupational Therapist
What is time management?
There always seems to be so much to fit in one day, and never enough hours in the day. How do some people seem to have it “all together” while some of us just don’t get past half of our to-do list?! We all have the same 24 hours right?
The answer to that may lie in good time management.
Time management refers to the way that one organizes and plans how long you have to spend on specific activities. The aim is to get more done in less time, even when demands are high and time is limited; to work SMARTER, rather than HARDER. Remember, being busy does not necessarily mean effective.
Failing to manage time or poor time management skills can result in:
- Missed deadlines and appointments
- Procrastination and lack of focus
- Lack of professionalism
- High stress levels
- Strained workplace relationships
- Work and life imbalance
Benefits of time management
In one’s life, time management can benefit you in the following ways:
- Greater productivity and efficiency
- A better professional reputation
- Less stress
- Greater opportunities to achieve important life and career goals
Steps for better time management at work
Below describe four ways that you can practice time management in an effective manner; namely using the 4 D’s
The 4 D’s of time management
- Delete it
Check whether the task requires your attention and is worth your time. If it does not, then simply delete it. An example is deleting spam emails on it.
- Delegate it
Is it necessary that YOU do the task? Is it your responsibility to do? If the answer is no, then delegate it. Just make sure you delegate it to someone that can do the task right!
- Do it
If a task can be done in a few minutes, just do it- provided it’s not a task that needs to be deleted, delegated or deferred.
- Defer it
There may be some tasks that come across your desk that you may not be able to deal with straight away. Examples might include an email relating to a family holiday- it is not part of your work day, but needs a reply.
A great way to implement is to look at your to do list and lacing each tasks according to one of the D’s. Then also do that with each task that you come across your desk during the day.
You might find that some tasks keeps being moved to the next day- ask yourself if that task is really important for you to do. Chances are it may not be. Thus again by deleting or delegating, you can free yourself from the task that might just be sucking up your time. Similarly it may be a task that you are procrastinating on- try to get to the root of what is keeping you from doing it.
By practicing good time management skills, it should allow you to strike a balance between the three aspects of life namely work, leisure and self-care.