Time management is fundamentally about focus. The Pareto Principle states, 80% of effort not managed or focused generates 20% of the desired output. On the other hand, 80% of desired output can be generated by 20% of effective effort. You see how much is lost or gained with well-managed time.
Time management involves scheduling appointments, goal settings, planning, to do lists and prioritizing; core skills that need to be understood to develop efficient personal productivity. These basic skills should be personalized to fit your work style. However, there is more to time management than these basics: decision making, emotional intelligence and critical thinking are also important to personal development.
Time management involves everything you do. No matter how big or small, everything counts. It’s not just to get your tasks completed on schedule. Time management should lead to a balanced life.
Time management is about getting results, not about being busy.
Time management should improve six aspects of life: physical, intellectual, social, career, emotional and spiritual.
- The physical aspect involves having a healthy body, less stress and fatigue.
- The intellectual aspect involves learning and other mental growth activities.
- The social aspect involves developing personal or intimate relations and being an active contributor to society.
- The career aspect involves school and work.
- The emotional aspect involves appropriate feelings and desires and manifesting them.
- The spiritual aspect involves a personal quest for meaning.
Having a to do list for each of these key areas is not practical, but knowing which areas of your life are not getting enough attention is part of time management. Each aspect is part the whole. If you ignore one then you are ignoring an important part of yourself.
Personal time management is not a daunting task. It is a reasonable approach in solving problems. These steps should be a regular part of your life:
- Set goals and review them regularly. Write them down and keep the list where you can check it easily
- Determine what tasks are necessary by asking yourself if they are helping you achieve your goals or maintain your balanced lifestyle.
- Use your peak time to best advantage. Know your natural energy cycle. Complete difficult tasks you have the most energy.
- Learn to say ‘No’.
- Reward yourself for completions.
- Get cooperation from people who benefit from your time management efforts.
- Don’t procrastinate. Attend to necessary things immediately.
- Have a positive attitude and set yourself up for success.
- Set realistic goals and break them down into manageable steps
- Track your activities. This will help you get things in their proper perspective.
Once you integrate time management practices into your life, you increase options that provide a spectrum of solutions to personal growth. It creates more doors that opportunity can knock on.
According to The Book of Lists, the fear of public speaking ranks number one in the minds of the majority of people. Far above the fear of death and disease comes the fear of standing in front of a crowd. I was a member of Toastmasters for a number of years. I enjoyed the applause and after effects of successful speeches, but I hated the nerves and stress that went with the delivery.
It goes without saying, great content can be ruined by poor delivery. (Okay, I said it.) It is equally true that no amount of great technique will rescue bad content. You need to develop both skill-sets to deliver strong presentations.
Here are some simple tips that can improve your delivery:
- Develop a deeper voice – Listen to a news anchor and practice speaking in the same way. A deeper voice carries more authority. Find some exercises to lower the pitch of your voice. A quick solution: take three of four deep breathes before standing to speak. It will relax your vocal cords and your voice will be deeper.
- Slow down – We tend to speak quickly when we are nervous. If you speak too quickly, people will see you as nervous and perhaps even unsure of the topic. Find a comfortable pace and practice. Be careful that you’re not too slow.
- Give your voice some life – Ben Stein gave us the definitive monotone presentation style in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. You want to avoid that example. Speak louder and softer; speak higher and lower; speed up and slow down. None of these need to be carried to extremes, but variety helps you hold the listener’s attention.
- Speak clearly, don’t mumble. When speaking in public, you need to exaggerate the way you enunciate words. What sounds clear to your ears, is muddy 30 feet into the room.
- Use appropriate volume – Match your volume to the setting. You will need less volume when speaking to a small group in a boardroom and more volume when speaking to a large group in an auditorium.
- Pronounce your words correctly – If you aren’t sure how to say a word, don’t use it. Be especially careful with proper nouns. You’ll turn off the audience quickly if you mispronounce the name of their town in your introduction.
- Use the correct words – There’s nothing that destroys your credibility as a speaker like a misused vocabulary. If you’re unsure of the meaning of a word, look it up. If you can’t look it up, leave it out.
- Look at people – I’ve seen speakers stare at their notes, at the back wall, at the floor, anywhere but at those sitting in the room. Make eye contact with your listeners. Don’t stare at one person, but let your eyes work the room. Make eye contact for one point, then move on to another person for the next point. You’ll look like you’re trying to connect with the audience.
- Gesture – with your arms, your face and perhaps your whole body. Unlock your iron grip on the lectern and move your hands and arms to emphasize what you’re saying. Let your face get into the speech: smile, frown, open your eyes wide. You’ll do a better job of communicating your passion for the topic.
- Step away from the lectern – or, if you’re well prepared and don’t need notes, get rid of it altogether. The lectern can be a large barrier between you and your audience. If you need it for your notes, step from side to side periodically. (Not so much that the listeners get sea sick.) The best presentation you can give is the one you know so well, you don’t need any props to hold you up. It’s just you and the audience.
In one sense these are all instant fixes. You could start using these techniques in a speech you have to give ten minutes from now. However, they’re not quick fixes. Any presenter gets better through practice. Make these tips part of your preparation process and people are going to want to listen to you speak.
Toastmasters International has put together a list of ten tips that will help improve your public speaking skills.
- Know your material. Pick a topic you are interested in. Know more about it than you include in your speech.
- Use personal stories and conversational language – that way you won’t easily forget what to say.
- Practice. Practice. Practice! Rehearse out loud with all equipment you plan on using. Revise as necessary.
- Know the room. Arrive early, walk around the speaking area and practice using the microphone and any visual aids.
- Know the audience. Greet some of the audience members as they arrive. It’s easier to speak to a group of friends than to strangers.
- Relax. Ease tension by doing exercises. Transform nervous energy into enthusiasm.
- Visualize yourself giving your speech. Imagine yourself speaking, your voice loud, clear and confident. Visualize the audience clapping – it will boost your confidence.
- Realize that people want you to succeed. Audiences want you to be interesting, stimulating, informative and entertaining. They don’t want you to fail.
- Don’t apologize for any nervousness or problem – the audience probably never noticed it.
- Concentrate on the message – not the medium. Focus your attention away from your own anxieties and concentrate on your message and your audience.