How to Manage Your Time Effectively

How do you decide which activities get your attention first? That is, how do you decide what you are going to do each day? When you set priorities, do you set them in a way that meets your comfort level or in a way that effectively addresses your objectives?

There is a lot of stuff competing for your time. You need to determine which will receive your attention. Not all tasks and needs are equal and part of your job is to determine those that are most important and demand your attention first.

You need to think through what things you need to do first in order to be truly effective. Managing your time well improves your efficiency, allowing you to maximize the use of your resources.

To manage your time more effectively, try these steps:

  • Make a plan of what you’re going to do tomorrow. Once you know what you want to accomplish, organize tomorrow’s “to-do” list today. When planning your activities, identify each one in terms of how important and how urgent it is. Evaluate them as:
    1. Activities that you must absolutely do yourself.
    2. Activities that you really should do.
    3. Activities that you would like to do but could be done by someone else.
  • Rate your time management process throughout the day. Pause about one third of the way through your day and review how you’re doing. Do the same about two-thirds of the way through your day. Ask yourself these questions:
    • Am I on track to meet the priorities and objectives for the day?
    • If not, what got in the way?
    • If something got in the way, should it have taken priority over what you had planned? Emergencies arise requiring your immediate attention. Your priorities may need to be altered in these situations.
  • Arrange daily and weekly to-do lists in order of priority. If you check off each activity as you complete it, you will feel a far greater sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.
  • Plan your telephone calls ahead of time. That way, you know the items you want to talk about and can spend less time on the phone.
  • Communicate your priorities to your workgroup. By communicating your priorities and how they relate to your objectives, your workgroup will better understand their role in helping you to reach those objectives.

RecommendedThe Zen Habits Handbook for Life!