Time Management Part I

We may be all born differently in terms of family background, social status, capabilities, interests, health, etc. But one thing we all have in common, is that we have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year worth of time. Despite our background, our time remains equal.

Businesses spend money to buy your time and energy, and in exchange you trade off these 2 to earn money which can be used to exchange for resources such as groceries, petrol, a house, a travel experience etc. A person have only so much time, and bosses of businesses who want to do more realise that they only have a pair of hands and 24 hours a day, hence they buy the time from others who are willing to sell. This set the premises for employment. You work for me, and I pay you.

Down on the individual level, I am pretty sure we all know someone who seems capable enough to do so many things in a day for prolonged periods of time that many others seemed not to be able to do. On the other hand, there are always people who do not have control over their time. They seem to be very busy everyday running about, but if you look at it closely you will see that they get little done.

All these comes down to one thing – time management. In summary, if you want to succeed in life, you must know how to manage your time. Time is the only resource equal and fairly distributed to all. Master it, and you will find yourself gaining one more critical ability in your journey towards financial freedom. With the extra time, you can work freelance or start a small business or research on the stock market, or any other thing that can earn you money. In the journey to financial freedom, every relevant skill helps, every contributing bit of advantage propels you just a little more, and every knowledge and experience you gain gives you a buff in your quest towards your goal.

Be Very Familiar With Your Job
To first manage your time well, you need to be very familiar with what you are doing everyday, such as work. Work can range from housework to your job to any ad-hoc things you need to do in your daily life. To give an example, many colleagues I know do over time everyday, not because they have a lot of work to do, but because they are very unfamiliar with their work and many times unfocused during their work. When you are unsure of your work, each time you come down to this task, you need to check and find out information again. You need to figure out how to do things repeatedly. But if you are very familiar with all the details in your daily work, not only can you do it fast, you can also do it well, reducing the time and effort spend on correcting the mistakes. Do not slack off at work.

To give a specific example, we know that professional chefs can cook very well and very fast. On the other hand, non-professionals like us easily spend a much longer time cooking. The speed at which we chop the vegetable is slow, we sometimes stop to think what condiment would go well with the dish, sometimes we would even mess up by overcooking or undercooking a particular dish. It is very reasonable to say that for every dish we come up with, an expert could easily churn out 5 dishes. All these comes down to only one reason – unfamiliarity with the task. While most of us are not chefs by profession, we definitely can be familiar and an expert when it comes to our daily job. Know your job well and do it well. Clearing it one shot quick and good is the most efficient way to do things.

In an era of distraction and information overload, we are constantly bombarded with things everywhere. From Whatsapp messages to smoke breaks, I have seen many colleagues being distracted constantly while working. Some even open up Youtube for an hour-long break. Sure it may be important to just take a 10 minute break somewhere in the middle of work, but too frequent and unnecessary of a break will cause you to lose your momentum in working. Just like driving a car, we start from gear 1 and slowly switch up to gear 5 before maintaining a constant speed. If we brake and restart the gears frequently, the momentum is lost and it takes time to get back up to speed.

I do not touch my phone during work, because I want to focus as much as I can. Indeed there are certain times when the work is overwhelming and there are times when we need to do over time, but 8 hours a day set aside for working can accomplish many things. When comparing myself and other colleagues who have the same workload as me, I am able to generally accomplish more in a shorter period of time. I do not do over time if I can help it. Yet there are actually people who could take 2 hour lunch breaks and then do over time because their work cannot be completed on time.

Meetings are another good example of a waste of time. There are certainly many cases where a face to face meeting with colleagues are necessary. But you may have noticed that people often digress in meetings, and side-tracked to other unimportant topics or even idle chatter. Many come with no clear objective. In a meeting in which you cannot control the flow, there is nothing much you can do but to prepare sufficiently for those areas under your charge. But if you are in control of a meeting, be very objective driven. Go in with a clear set of objectives and be focused. Cut off any unnecessary talks unrelated to the topic. It is one thing to stay back and chit-chat with others after the meeting ends, it is another to insert such distractions in the middle of the meeting.

Do Not Multi-Task Unnecessarily
Multi-tasking seems to be all the trend these days, with people showing off just how much they can handle different jobs at the same time. While replying an email halfway, one may suddenly break off and call an important client to remind him of something. Afterwards he or she may decide to check out if a particular report was submitted, and halfway through suddenly remembered that he has another deadline to meet and went off to do that.

Does the above sounds familiar to you? Many would like to think that it is an achievement to work on many tasks at one go, but failed to be aware that during this time, almost nothing gets done. It is one thing to have multiple assignments handed over to you in the same period of time with same or near deadlines, but it is another that in the same minute you are doing different tasks. Remain focused, and do one thing at a time. If not, even though you are working continually, you will be braking and starting repeatedly as you move from task to task, losing your momentum and speed at which you do things. Worse still, your lack of focus could cause you to miss out important details, affecting the quality of your work.

Do one thing at a time, and you will be able to finish a series of tasks more efficiently and effectively. Then move on to the next task and repeat. Within the same period of time, you will be able to accomplish more as compared to the one who multi-tasks.

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- Resources Price
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