Manage your time effectively

By admin
14 May 2014

Your day doesn’t start when you walk into the staff room.

Hours on the sports field and stacks of papers that have to be marked late at night – teachers are well familiar with this demanding routine. But your day doesn’t start when you walk into the staff room. There are many things you can plan for in advance that will help your day go smoothly and to help you avoid unnecessary stress.

Poor time management is a common problem, says Godfrey Madanhire, a Cape Townbased life coach and motivational speaker. “Wherever I go people battle with this problem. Whether it’s at work or at home, most people can improve their time management. And it’s not all that difficult.”

Planning is essential. “The old saying is true: ‘Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I’ll use the  first four to sharpen my axe.’ The secret to success isn’t only executing tasks but also planning them.”

If you don’t manage your time well you won’t achieve your aims, Madanhire says. “Whether it’s  goals at home or at work, chances are you’ll fail without effective time management. Everyone can do it and the rewards are great. You’ll be and feel more effective, you’ll come across as being  professional and people will respect you.”

Your personal relationships will also improve, Madanhire says. “You’ll be more relaxed and patient with your loved ones.”

Here are his 10 tips for better time management.

  1. Assess how much you’re doing now

    Before deciding to take on a new project ensure you know how much you’re already doing. Use a  diary or smartphone to keep track of how you spend your time. “Work out how much free time you have and how much of it you’re prepared to sacrifice,” Madanhire says.

  2. Effectiveness

    Work smarter, not harder. “You’ll be amazed to see how much time you can save by combining tasks you can do at the same time,” Madanhire says. He suggests grouping tasks according to where they  must be carried out. If the supermarket is close to your kids’ school coordinate your shopping so you can do it when you drop them off or pick them up. “This might sound like stating the obvious but   you’ll be surprised how many people don’t do this and unnecessarily waste time.”

  3. Assess your tasks

    “One of the most common mistakes is to tackle something that looks easy but in the end is anything  but.” This can vary from a charity project at work to baking complicated cupcakes for your toddler’s birthday party. “Think things through before tackling them. Make a note of how long each step will take. If you can identify potential hurdles at an early stage you can make sure you have enough time to deal with them or even avoid them altogether.”

  4. Ask for help

    “Too many of us are too scared to ask for help when we need it,” Madanhire says. “You’re worried that if you delegate a task the person won’t do it as well as you or make you look incompetent. If you get a helping hand jobs are usually done more quickly and it makes tasks more enjoyable.” Delegating is not only important in the classroom. “Moms should involve their kids in chores in and around the house such as washing dishes. Or chat to your partner or spouse about taking turns doing the cooking if your to-do list is getting out of hand.”

  5. Say no

    If something isn’t worth doing don’t waste your time with it. “It’s incredibly liberating gaining time you would otherwise have wasted on something you didn’t have to do.”

  6. Take a break

    “If you work too hard for too long you’ll be so exhausted you’ll end up working increasingly slowly and less efficiently,” Madanhire warns. “Take a break and make time for yourself – you’ll feel  refreshed and more able to do what’s expected of you.”

  7. Plan for interruptions

    It’s dangerous to pack your day to capacity, leaving you no room to manoeuvre. “Things seldom go according to plan. Keep your programme flexible so a small hiccup doesn’t upset your entire day.”

  8. Don’t put off doing difficult tasks

    “Everyone has that one task on their to-do list which they can’t face doing – they would rather do anything else so they can put off tackling it,” Madanhire says. “The best way to deal with these tasks is to start and see what happens. Getting started is usually the hardest part. Once you’ve got the ball rolling with that heap of papers you have to grade, it’s a lot less painful than you thought.’

  9. Get your priorities right

    “It’s an unfortunate truth that sometimes you simply can’t get everything done, which is why it’s important to prioritise,” Madanhire says. He suggests categorising your tasks according to their importance and urgency. Tasks that top the list in both categories must be done first.

  10. Plan

    Planning is the golden thread that runs through all the tips, Madanhire says. “I can’t stress the importance of planning enough! The extra time that goes into planning might feel like a waste of time but in the end you get everything done faster.” Go through all the things you want to do that day early in the morning or the night before if you prefer. “Keep the other tips in mind so you can establish what’s doable.”

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