Mastering the art of time management

Mastering the art of time management

Leadership & Management

Sridhar Narayanaswamy

Sridhar Narayanaswamy

21 May 2018, 08:39 — 5 min read

As the great inventor and scientist Benjamin Franklin once said – Lost time is never found again.

 

Time – that constant passage of day into night and then again the dawn of a new day. The clicking of the clock as it ticks forward from seconds, to minutes to hours. We as humans look at time in many different ways, yet it is always constant, flowing its own course like a river and never going back. So why then does time run slow for some people and too fast for others? How is it that there are people who can do a hundred things in one day and others who sit at one task and not have time to finish the rest?

 

The answer - time management.

 

There are several books and self-help articles on book shelves and on the internet that one can peruse to understand this seemingly innocent, yet complex exercise. Some are born with the innate ability to manage their time between tasks, while others learn along the way. Whatever way it may be, time management is essential if you are looking for the road to success.

 

To recount some of my experiences in this regard, I recall one incident on my very first job out of college. I was employed at a large public-sector unit along with several others. On my first day we were all handed out a blank notebook. Our strict, no nonsense supervisor insisted that the notebook should never leave our side. When asked about the purpose of the notebook, we were greeted with a gruff – “Write your tasks daily and make sure they are completed!”  

 

We began to think the notebook was meant to be more of an attendance tool so we could be held accountable for jobs given to us. Meticulously we wrote down the tasks that were needed to be completed that day. Days followed to weeks, and this became a habit. I found out that I was able to compartmentalise my work based on the amount of time available to me. I was able to break down my tasks into more manageable chunks. Some days it was a challenge where deadlines were concerned, but by writing it down and reading it often, I was compelled to complete them within the time allotted to me.  Four decades later, with all the advances of technology available to me, I still carry a humble notebook to write down my tasks for the day.

 

So how does one actually manage time?

 

Well, after I write down the tasks for the day, I prioritise.  I look down at what I have written and assess them. What needs to be completed first and what can wait for later? I look at each chunk of work and put my full concentration to it. This allows me to focus and get my tasks done quicker. Once done, on to the next one. For some people, listening to music or white noise while doing some work helps, while for others there should be no distractions. I fall under the latter category.

 

Keep in mind that just because you wrote down all your tasks, the day might not go as planned. You need to be prepared for sudden changes, issues that can crop up or, meetings scheduled in the last minute.

 

There is a certain satisfaction in crossing off tasks one by one. In my opinion, it can have a psychological effect of small accomplishments and a sense of contentment.

 

Following these simple rules and sticking to them has kept my stress levels low and my blood pressure in check! Do not be challenged by changing priorities, concerned about delays and things that are out of your control. When you organise, break down and work piece by piece, they will all eventually fit together in the end.

 

So, to summarise I have learnt the following:

  • Prioritise the daily activities

  • Stay focused on one task at a time

  • Remain cool even under pressure

  • Achieve a sense of self-satisfaction

  • Carry out multiple tasks of different nature, all in one day

  • Spend some time to learn something new

  • Respect other people’s time and plan my tasks accordingly

  • Be proactive in responding to customer queries

  • Not to procrastinate or delay something for no reason

 

Here's hoping that you make the most of your time each day!

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.

Posted by

Sridhar Narayanaswamy

Managing partner of Innovatus Systems, founded by him on January 1, 2013. Sridhar is a result oriented professional with over four decades in the Information Technology &...

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