Have you ever felt that there are way too many things to do and have nowhere near enough time to do them?
Furthermore, have you felt so much pressure to do the tasks that you avoid doing them?
This is very common when one gets overwhelmed by the tasks either because of the difficulty or because of the length of time they will take.
Obviously, procrastination is one big obstacle to proper time management. But even without procrastination, even when one is motivated to do the work, sometimes, one still cannot achieve the results that they should. This often is the result of time pressure.
In most team sports, where the end is controlled by time and a team is losing by a changeable margin, one could see the composition of that team. Experienced teams know how much time they have and what they have to do to give themselves the best chance to win back the deficit. In contrast, many young teams become panic and hurry too much and often not get the right results.
A person who has got over the pressure would just tell you to ignore the pressure. Look at the task on hand, and you will be fine. He is definitely correct. However, this message often can’t be digested and absorbed by the person who is under pressure.
A person who is panicking tends to be too rushed to plan. Or he is too rushed to find the best solution or any other solutions other than the one he is currently taking. It is quite difficult to convince him at that moment that he should take his time to plan out what to do properly and how to manage a sequence of tasks to get to the ultimate goal. But this doesn’t mean that he cannot learn afterward to become better.
Time management comes from calmness and smart decisions and elimination of fear.
(1) Experience gives a good prediction of time.
For example, once decided on a direction of an article, it takes 45 minutes to write one. How do I know? Because whenever I did this task, it took about the same amount of time.
(2) Regardless of how much to do, dedicate a set amount of time to plan out what to do.
For example, I get to work every day at 9 and I always use the first 90 minutes to gather a big list of what I should do, and then 30 minutes to list out what I am going to do for the rest of the day)
(3) When compiling the list of tasks, prioritize based on importance.
Urgency does sometimes translate to importance. But make sure to take control over the thought process and weed out unimportant yet seemingly urgent things. Here’s an example: Baby cries, feed, then no longer cry. Yes, you should feed him because it’s important and urgent. It’s urgent not because he is crying, but that he is hungry. Baby cries, try feed, no change, diapers not dirty, not cry anymore when carried. Baby is just crying for attention, and therefore slightly less important. Decide whether you have been paying enough attention, and therefore the importance of carrying him, or that he is asking for too much and if it’s important not to carry him because you may be spoiling him.
(4) Manage the fear:
(I) Prioritize on getting the information that is needed so that you can predict the time. When you have a list of tasks, say 10 of them, and you are looking at what to do first and how to manage the time, you find that 2 of them you don’t know how to do. Prioritize in doing the parts that will make you be able to find out how long you need to spend on each part.
(II) Throughout the process, continue to assess your time management skills and the planning priorities. Are you spending too much time planning? Or are you spending too little? The assessment allows you to make adjustments, but it also gives you reassurance that planning is important, and that even in a crunch, you should still stick to your game plan and spend time planning ahead.
(III) Believe that you are doing the best in prioritizing the most important, understand that ignoring or pushing back non-important is the right thing to do. Again, this comes from following this path over time and seeing the results.
(IV) When seeing that there are too many tasks and too little time, learn to ‘steal’ time:
(i) Can you dedicate more time to do the tasks?
(ii) Can you lower the amount of time needed for each task? Maybe there is a smarter method to do it.
(iii) Can you delegate someone else to help to cut down on the time needed?
(iv) Can you think of any additional outside-the-box idea to help you?
Fear is a system to indicate to yourself that you have to do something. However, it is a primal instinct only, and thus, it doesn’t always agree with higher order thinking. Avoid fear when deciding the best way to do, but work with it when doing the tasks to give urgency, and you will be surprised how much more you can achieve.
Always Remember W.H.Y.
Be Well, Be Happy, Be You