What is time management — how do you master it.

Have you ever wondered where my last 24 hours went, past week went, past month, year, decade — you get my point. If this thought never came across — you are one of two types of people. One, who is super organized, has played his/her life like a sequence of calculated chess moves with a winning strategy, knows every outcome and is prepared for it. Two, who takes life as it comes — driven by a calendar of events and distributes his/her time as it unfolds or demands.

I can bet you relating to the type-two kind. If there is a type-one reading this article, I wonder why. I confess I am of the type-two kind. I do plan how an ideal day should be, what my short term plans (next 6 mos) are, what my mid term (next 2 years) goals are and my long term as well (5 year plan). I try my best to line up my tasks, assignments towards these. I even publish my plans to stakeholders so they are aware and assist me in achieving these plans.

But looking back on how often have I achieved my plan to my satisfaction, I can recall, only a few times. It is not because I did not have a good plan, I can guarantee that I had the best plan. It is because of fleeting priorities that uproot my plan and detour me in a totally different direction.

There are tons of books on time management, I am not going to attempt to write one here. I will share a few success strategy that has led me to effective time utilization.

Time is more precious than anything else in this world — you cannot “Buy time”, you cannot pause it, you can only plan and execute in the given time to your satisfaction. Here are the best practices that have worked for me:

  • Master of your schedule — what gets scheduled gets done — make sure you are in complete agreement with your 24 hour spend. Look at your calendar and decline the meetings/events where you are not contributing or learning. Prepare for the ones you sign up for.
  • Reflect —I use an app like Lifecycle — here is how I spent my last week, spent 8 hours commuting to and from work. It gives a good insight on activities/places you have engaged/been in. Now start taking control of it, make changes where possible to effectively utilize the time u are allocated.
  • Prioritize — there are always conflicts, should I do what my boss told or what I had planned to do or what my peer requested — with your goal or plan as a guiding post — make room for your top most priority, communicate it and stick to it. Say “NO” to the rest of them.
  • Love what you do, do what you love. You are blessed with 24 hours each day — carpe diem — make it worth while so they when you look back you have no regrets.

I wish to write more nuggets like this — let me know what you think. I appreciate your feedback.