It happens to all of us. You wake up and go through the list of things you need to do that day. You head out the door, do this, do that, and by the time the day is over you feel like you didn’t do half of the things you wanted to. While it is inevitable that you will fail to accomplish everything you plan to do, as there are only 24 hours in a day, in this week’s column we outline some strategies for maximizing your productivity and managing your time wisely.
“Careful time management is a key to consistently bringing energy to your work” said Chea Savy, president of Light House Orphanage. “It is really beneficial for youths if they know when to work and when to have fun.”
Here are four tips for effective time management:
- Prioritize your work- You need to distinguish between tasks that are urgent and tasks that can wait. Something might be important in the long run but not vital in the short run. Make sure you accomplish urgent tasks first, but also do not leave long-term tasks to the last minute. Work at them when you have time and when the deadline comes you will already have much of the work finished.
- Know when you work the best- Think about whether you are a morning person or a night person. If you think more clearly in the evening, leave that time to do work, or if you have more energy in the morning, wake up early and get moving. Figure out what time of day is most productive for you and forget about everything else during that time. Leave other stuff like talking with friends, doing chores and watching TV for those times of the day when your mind is feeling slow.
- Stay focused when you have to- Set a deadline for yourself to finish work and when you approach that time push everything else out of your mind. “Just setting a deadline is not enough,” said Chea Savy. “You need to be very serious about actually finishing your work by that time.” With things like Facebook, Skype and other digital distractions, it is easy to get sidetracked when you are supposed to be writing a report or finishing an essay. When you are approaching a deadline you should pretend that these things don’t even exist.
- Reward yourself- Once you have finished a serious task, you should give yourself a reward. It could be as simple as buying yourself a new t-shirt or going out with friends for a big meal. If you know that there is something to look forward to when you finish you will be encouraged to finish quicker and more efficiently.