“Tick-tock, there goes the clock, how much time have we wasted today?” The popular nursery rhyme with a few minor additions speaks the dilemma we face when something needs to be completed pronto, but time is running short, leaving our stomach in knots.
When you are squeezed in for time and the deadline is near, the pressure to complete it falls on your shoulders. Now, you are running against time, but time isn’t your friend, as the clock ticks away mercilessly. When you dare to look at it again, a pang of guilt sets in, as you realize that time has slipped away from you.
You promise yourself not to be overcome with pressure next time, but break it when you find yourself in the same dire position. Does time have a problem with you or you have problem with time? We think the latter is true that you have a beef with time because you haven’t acquired the skills to control it. We are going to teach you the skills to master time:
- Step One: Identify Your Procrastination Habits
Most of us have the habit of delaying work to the last minute, and this is what gets us in a bind usually. You say that you are going to carry out a certain task, but end up delaying it, until your boss, teacher, or significant other is on your tail, screaming at you to do it.
For instance, you have to take care of the leaky faucet that you promised your wife or roommate to fix, but end up wasting time playing video games or watching TV. The same goes for work. In order to combat procrastination, live by this saying, “You touch it, you do it.”
- Step Two: Start Making Lists
If you have more than one thing to do today, you need to get in the habit of making a list. List the most important items at the top that need to be completed quickly followed by the least important tasks. Start crossing off each task that you complete, as it’s shown to encourage motivation to quickly get to the bottom of the list.
- Step Three: Plan How Much Time Each Task Needs
Before going to bed, make the list of the things that you need to take care of the next day. After you have made the list, allocate an approximate time it would take to complete each task. Since making the list takes two to three minutes depending on its length, it’s recommended to do it beforehand. If more tasks are added to the list during the day, you can always restructure the list, moving tasks up and down based on their priority.
- Step Four: Avoid the “Do You Have a Minute People?”
Being popular and the go to person is more of a curse than a blessing, at least in the work place. In fact, it can really mess up your sync with time, which you might have tirelessly created and perfected overtime. You can avoid unacceptable intrusions by people by scheduling them in at a certain time. Make time for people to come to you about their queries at a specific time so you don’t get off-track.
- Step Five: Request Results
Tasks that are the most burdensome to carry out produce greater results, but people tend to leave them off their list. In doing so, the task is bumped, resulting you to miss out on the opportunities that would have resulted in its prior completion. Moreover, performing a complex task in a hurry increases your chances of screwing it up. Hence, it’s better to perform it as soon as you get them rather than later.
- Step 6: Cross off Items that You Regularly Perform
In the beginning of getting into a routine of making a list, you will likely put the easiest item on the list as well. As time goes on and you get used to keeping a list, you can cross of some items that you need to perform on a regular basis every day. It won’t decrease your productivity in anyway, as by now, they will come naturally to you.
Practice makes perfect and this is the only way you will be able to master time successfully. After you’ve mastered it, time will be at the mercy of you and not the other way around.
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