Effective Time Management Strategies of Highly Successful People
Have you been in situations where you felt like the 24 hours in a day is never enough to meet your daily tasks? Do you struggle to make the best out of your time? Have you consistently felt harried, yet unfulfilled at the end of each day?
At times, we wonder how some people are able to accomplish so much in 24 hours more than everyone else. We look in awe at that neighbour, that colleague, or that student who juggles a mix of work, academics, family responsibilities, and other interests so effortlessly and yet successfully; then, you wonder what type of magic wand they are wielding.
It is no magic! The key is in controlling the few hours you have in a day – making it work for you; rather than letting it control you. In reality, the major difference between you and this person is her effective time management skills.
But no worries! The good news is that with this article, you get to learn effective time management strategies which you can replicate to achieve similar results as ‘that colleague’. Ready? Let’s dive in;
1 – Create a To-Do List
One habit of highly successful people is their penchant to create lists or goal plans daily. You may wonder why you need to do this. There is no need when you already know all that you need to do in a day, right? Wrong! Writing it down gives more clarity and saves you from forgetting or veering off track.
2 – Prioritize Your Daily Activities
So, you now know what to do in a day, but have you ranked them according to priority? With the numerous distractions that abound in our daily lives, it is so easy to lose sight of important things in favour of unimportant ones. But by prioritizing your workload, you become better equipped to focus your time and energy where they matter most.
Wondering how to do this? One popular time management strategy for assessing and prioritizing tasks is the Eisenhower Matrix. This matrix has four quadrants which represents urgent, not urgent, important, not important; and tells you to attend to the ‘urgent and important’ tasks first before the ‘important but not urgent’ tasks. Tasks that are ‘not important but urgent’ are of less priority and can be delegated while the ‘not important and not urgent’ tasks can be foregone.
Eisenhower Decision Matrix
Quadrant 1 Important and Urgent
Quadrant 2 Important but Not Urgent
Quadrant 3 Not Important, But Urgent
Quadrant 4 Not Important and Not Urgent
3 – Avoid Multi-tasking
On a regular day, the temptation is there to do multiple things at the same time. While this may work for some people, it may not work for you. Moreover, researchers suggest that rather than saving time, multi-tasking actually wastes more time. This is because the brain is mostly incapable of focusing adequately on more than one thing at a time. So, don’t give in to the temptation to multitask! Don’t give room for mistakes especially in high-profile tasks! Focus and take those tasks one after the other.
4 – Apply the 80/20 Rule
Do you know that of all the activities you do in a day, month, or year, only 20% of them drives 80% of results? The remaining 80% actions account for the rest of the 20% results. This is called the Pareto Principle.
In reality, we may never be able to get to all that needs to be done in a day. But if you can recognize and prioritize the 20% actions producing the most results, then you are on your way to living a fulfilling life.
5 – Learn To Delegate
What happens to the unimportant actions if you are not able to get to them? Simple, delegate them! Normalize asking for help from people when you need it. You may wear many hats, but you do not have to do everything yourself. You would be running yourself down, if you attempt this. Get the best help, employee, or even colleagues for the task and assign him to it.
6 – Take Quick Breaks More Often
It always seems like a great idea when you have so much to do and you just want to focus on getting all done at a stretch. But hey, here’s the reality check: you are doing your body more harm than good depriving it of rest. Take quick breaks more often. Stand up, stretch, rest your head briefly, eat before you feel starved, or just take a walk to clear your head. It rejuvenates you and makes you more productive.
7 – Learn to Care Less and Say No
The deep lonely pit of perfection is one that you do not want to stay in all your life. It is normal to want to be there for everybody – including your loved ones; to want to excel in your career, academics and practically everything. But when you can’t be there, then say ‘no’. Learning to care a little less and say ‘no’ often will save you from a lot of pressures, stress, mistakes, and regrets. Above all, it gives you the freedom and energy to focus on more important tasks.
Final thoughts It takes a certain level of commitment to efficiently manage your time. However, if you are determined to put in the required work, then there is no limit to what you can achieve. On that note, it is important to remember that starting your day early is a prerequisite for effective time management. You should not expect to accomplish so much if you do not get up early from bed in the morning.