Time Management Skills

Introduction

Time management is one of the most important elements that one should focus on his or her quest to achieve personal and career development goals. Various factors highlight the need to manage time effectively. According to De Janasz et al. (2006), individuals face varying demand for time in order to undertake activities associated with work and personal life. Failure to manage time effectively can increase the level of stress and hence an individual’s concentration and performance. My motivation to develop effective time management was prompted by the need to meet deadlines without stress. Consequently, it is imperative that I prioritise my academic and other personal activities. This report highlights the activities that I will undertake in order to improve my time management skills by the end of the tenth week. As a result, I will be in a position to achieve a high level of self-satisfaction and concentrate on what is important in my academics work without experiencing stress.

Rationale

Various reasons have motivated the quest to improve my time management skills. Some of these reasons are outlined herein.

Minimising stress levels

Stress is one of the major hindrances in one’s effort to achieve his or her goal. Consequently, it is imperative for one to manage stress. According to Griffin (2007), stress emanates from various sources. Poor time management is one of the major causes of stress amongst individuals. For example, poor time management makes an individual lag behind in completing important tasks, hence increasing stress levels. As a university student, I have an obligation to complete various academic projects. These projects will play a critical role in improving my academic performance. However, it is imperative for the projects to be completed within the set timeframe. This aspect underscores the importance of effective time management. By managing my time effectively, I will have ample time to conduct my research, and thus eliminate the likelihood of working under time pressure. Therefore, I will remain focused to improve my overall academic performance.

Balancing work and other life activities

Work-life balance is one of the most important aspects of one’s personal development. The need to achieve optimal time management has increased significantly over the past few years, and this trend emanates from the increment in demand for both life and work activities. Dealing with activities can be quite challenging, and a potential source of burnout. Considering the fact that work and life constitute important components in one’s personal development, the two elements should not be ignored. One of the ways through which this goal can be achieved is by incorporating the concept of work-life balance.

Various personal factors have motivated my quest to develop effective time management skills. One of these factors relates to the need to balance my relationship with my family members. In my opinion, I consider family as one of the most important aspects in pursuit of my personal and career development. According to Evans (2009), obtaining support from family members and friends plays an essential role in improving one’s performance at school and work. In order to achieve this goal, it is important for one to have sufficient time to spend with family members. However, this aspect might be challenging if one does not have effective time management.

In an effort to attain optimal personal development, I appreciate the importance of taking into account both short term and long term activities. Some of the personal activities that have motivated my quest to develop effective time management include the need to have enough hours to perform my housework duties, studies, exercise, and having meals. All these activities are paramount in enhancing one’s productivity. For example, sleep deprivation can increase stress levels and hence the level of concentration in the course of executing my duties.

Time management challenges

The need to improve my time management skills arose from a personal evaluation that I conducted. The evaluation led to the identification of serious gaps with regard to time management. Some of the difficulties that I currently encounter include failure to meet the set deadlines within the university and other day-to-day activities. One of the major sources of the aforementioned difficulties relates to the inability to control my activities, as I tend to pursue too many things at the same time. As a result, I usually encounter various stressors, which affect my level of concentration, productivity, and performance. Despite the activities faced, I am not in a position to prioritise some activities, which arises from a failure to integrate a ‘to-do’ list that enables an individual to prioritise his or her tasks. Consequently, I usually run out of time in performing some tasks hence increasing stress. Moreover, I have not incorporated the concept of contingency planning in order to accommodate changes that might occur in the course of undertaking my duties, which has limited my ability to minimise stress.

Time management strategies

In order to address the aforementioned time management challenges, it is imperative that I incorporate effective time management strategies for such a move will play a critical role in executing duties without experiencing high levels of stress. In a bid to achieve this goal, I will take into account a number of strategies as illustrated below.

In the course of our life, we face numerous tasks that require our attention. However, the effectiveness with which we execute these tasks determines if we will be stressed or not (Taylor, 2001). This assertion highlights the importance of planning and prioritising tasks. Evans (2009) asserts that one should “prioritise, plan, and execute his or her tasks based on importance rather than urgency…moreover, one should evaluate whether his or her effort exemplify their values, character and desire to achieve the set goals” (p.57).

Planning and prioritising

In a bid to plan and prioritise tasks effectively, I will ensure that I develop a list of activities that I intend to undertake within a day and every week. The list will act as a reminder system on the pending activities. Planning a day’s activities will lead to the development of a sense of control in my activities. On the other hand, developing a ‘to-do’ list will contribute towards minimisation of time pressures such as last-minute rushes. Moreover, designing a ‘to-do’ list will eliminate the need to remember everything that should be done within a day or a week. Griffin (2007) notes that trying to remember pending tasks ranks as one of the major disasters in time management. In a bid to ensure that I do not omit some tasks, I will always ensure that I have a pen and a paper with me or any other form of organiser wherever I go. This aspect will improve the effectiveness with which I keep a diary. Moreover, I will review and update my diary continuously in a bid to keep me informed of important deadlines and appointments.

In the course of prioritising my duties, I will ensure that I divide tasks into two main categories, which include urgent and non-urgent activities and important and non-important activities. According to Griffin (2007), some tasks may be time-consuming but unimportant. On the other hand, some activities may be urgent, but not important. It is important for one to focus on activities that will contribute to his or her career development. In their staffing process, organisations’ management teams are concerned with personal skills that can contribute to a big improvement in organisational performance. Therefore, it is essential for one to prioritise tasks based on their importance. Keeping a ‘to-do’ list will play a critical role in developing my focus on the achievement of important objectives. The ‘to-do’ list will contribute to the attainment of a high level of organisation. Therefore, I will be in control of my duties.

Avoiding procrastination

According to Evans (2009), procrastination is one of the major factors that limit the importance of action planning as it entails putting off the performance of important tasks to a later date or time. Consequently, the activities listed in the ‘to-do’ list are not accomplished. One of the most effective ways through which I intend to eliminate procrastination is by managing my fear to undertake tasks that may seem less appealing or that I perceive as difficult. In a bid to achieve this goal, I will ensure that I put activities that seem to be difficult on top of the ‘to-do’ list.

Moreover, I will appreciate the fact that negative results are a part of one’s effort to achieve personal development. Negative results motivate one to identify areas of personal development that should be improved. Recognising the likelihood to achieve negative results will lead to the development of perseverance, which is a core element in one’s effort to achieve personal development, as one develops a positive attitude towards failure and frustration. By developing perseverance, I will be in a position to deal with time pressure that emanates from unforeseeable changes that might arise in the course of implementing the action plan.

On the contrary, fear is one of the main hindrances in ones’ quest to achieve their goals. Fear limits one’s effort in implementing the set action plan. Moreover, fear makes one shy away from performing important and urgent tasks. However, taking action motivates one to continue with a particular activity.

Organising time

Dodd and Sundheim (2012) assert that time is a scarce resource that should be managed optimally. Failure to manage time can result in poor performance both at work and in other personal activities. In a bid to manage time effectively, it is important for one to organise his or her time properly. One of the ways through which this goal can be achieved entails identifying and minimising aspects that might contribute to time wastage. In a bid to organise my time effectively, I will develop a time log for every week, which will be achieved by writing down the activities that I engage in from morning to evening. The log will be reviewed at the end of every week to contribute towards a better understanding of how to utilise my time within a day or week. When reviewing the time log, I will assess how I utilise my time, which will lead to the development of insight on the most effective ways that I can incorporate in order to be more productive with my time.

Additionally, I will develop a better understanding of the time when I am more productive. Some people are more productive during morning hours, whilst others are more productive during the afternoon hours. As a result, I will be in a position to schedule my activities more appropriately in accordance with their importance and urgency. Organising time will also play an essential role in eliminating distractions. Various elements might distract one from undertaking important tasks. Currently, various technologies and platforms can be a source of a major source of distraction in time management. Examples of such platforms include LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. In order to minimise distractions from such platforms, I will ensure that I minimise their utilisation.

Adopting the 80/20 rule

According to Dodd and Sundheim (2012), the 80/20 rule is also referred to as the Pareto principle. This rule will enhance my quest to achieve life balance. The rule asserts that there is a minimum balance between one’s input and output. Consequently, 20% of one’s input contributes to the achievement of 80% of the results. In the course of undertaking my duties, I will focus on the 20% of my time in order to maximise the results. Eighty per cent of our time is usually focused on activities that are of marginal importance.

In order to benefit from the 80/20 rule, I will take into account a number of elements. First, I will evaluate the character and value of individuals around me, such as friends and family. This move will aid in the determination of whether they are a potential source of the support that I need to achieve my academic goals. The second element of my 20% that I will evaluate relates to identifying my objectives in time. For example, I will evaluate my purpose in life, and what I intend to do with the time that I have and through such an evaluation, I will be in a position to identify the 20% component of my input. In a bid to determine whether I have achieved the 20% rule, I will undertake a number of tasks. First, I will evaluate whether the activities I engage myself in contributing to the achievement of the overall personal purpose. Secondly, I will examine whether the activities that I engage in contributing to personal satisfaction. This assertion arises from the fact that the activities being undertaken should enhance a certain level of satisfaction with regard to attainment of the set goals.

Delegating tasks

In a bid to minimise stress due to task overload, I will adopt the 4Ds of time management. The decision to adopt the 4D’s arises from the fact that time is a scarce resource that should be managed optimally. One of the main components of the 4D model that I will adopt relates to delegating some tasks to some individuals within my support group. Delegating tasks will ensure that I focus on the most important tasks. In order to ensure that tasks are effectively delegated, effective prioritisation of goals and tasks will be undertaken to aid in identifying tasks that can be performed by other individuals such as friends and family members. Examples of tasks that I can delegate include checking emails and various project related activities that might not affect my grade. However, prior to delegating, I will ensure that the delegate understands the tasks efficaciously. Proper channels of communication will be established. Moreover, a system to review the progress of the subordinate in providing support will be established to aid in identifying the necessary support to be provided in order to ensure that the tasks delegated are effectively executed.

Action plan

Armstrong (2008) defines an action plan as an outline of the activities that one intends to undertake in order to achieve predetermined activities within a specific timeframe. In order to achieve the aforementioned goals, I will design a comprehensive action plan. The action plan will outline the activities that I will undertake in order to become effective with regard to time management. The action plan also outlines the timeframe within which the stated action will be undertaken.

Week Action
4

5

6

7

8

9

10

At the end of the fourth week, I will ensure that I have developed a comprehensive understanding of the various time management basics. This goal will be achieved by undertaking extensive reading and research on basic time management strategies and matrix. a
During this week, I will focus on developing a comprehensive understanding of the challenges that I face with regard to time management by evaluating my current situation with regard to time management. For example, I will review how I spend my time every week, which will aid in identifying potential areas of improvement.
The sixth week will entail gathering additional information on how to manage time by asking my friends on how they manage time and identify their key strengths. As a result, I will be in a position to generate ideas that I can incorporate in my time management skills.
At the end of the 6thweek, I will also evaluate whether I had planned my time well enough to study for the last examination.
It is my objective to have gathered sufficient knowledge on time management by the end of the seventh week. Additionally, I will have integrated some of the skills gained when undertaking my day-to-day activities, such as work and studies. Consequently, I intend to have changed my time management skills by the end of the seventh week.
The eighth week will entail developing a timetable or a routine on how to manage time with regard to my academics and work for the next few weeks, which will form the basis upon which I will evaluate my progress.
The ninth week will entail seeking feedback regarding my progress with regard to time management from my friends and tutor.
The 10thweek will entail building my own timeframe to achieve my short-term and long-term goals. My short-term goal entails completing my degree programme successfully and with an average distinction. On the other hand, my long-term goals entail working in a reputed organisation of my desire. The above activities will play a critical role in improving my employability skills.

Conclusion

Time is one of the scarcest resources that are essential in one’s personal and career development. Therefore, developing effective time management skills is paramount. The report highlights the importance of time management in one’s quest to achieve high academic performance. From the report, it is evident that poor time management affects the performance of an individual in the school and work environment. The first step towards the development of effective time management skills relates to understanding one’s weaknesses in managing time, which can only be achieved through a detailed analysis of how one spends his or her time. The next step entails identifying strategies that can be incorporated in order to improve time management. Some of the strategies identified include planning and prioritising tasks, avoiding procrastination, effective organisation of time, incorporating the 80/20 rule, and delegating tasks. Upon identifying the weaknesses, it is imperative for one to develop an action plan. The above action plan outlines the activities that will be undertaken in order to achieve set desired short-term and long-term goals.

Recommendations

In order to improve the likelihood of achieving the aforementioned personal development goals, the following aspects will be undertaken.

  1. A continuous review of my progress with regard to managing time, which will aid in identifying gaps that might arise in the course of developing the skill. Consequently, the necessary objectives will be undertaken.
  2. Effective identification of the support system will be undertaken. In a bid to achieve this goal, I will undertake a comprehensive evaluation of the value of my friends to my academic progress, which will aid in minimising interaction with friends who might have a negative influence.
  3. A high level of commitment to undertaking the activities in the action plan will be ensured to aid in eliminating possible deviation.

Reference List

Armstrong, M. (2008). How to be an even better manager: a complete A-Z of proven techniques and essential skills. London, UK: Kogan Page.

De Janasz, S., Wood, G., Gottschalk, L., Dowd, K., & Schneider, B. (2006). Interpersonal skills in organisations. Sydney, NSW: McGraw-Hill.

Dodd, P., & Sundheim, D. (2012). The 25 best time management tools and techniques: How to get more done without driving yourself crazy. New York, NY: Wiley.

Evans, C. (2009).Time management for dummies. New York, NY: Wiley.

Griffin, R. (2007). Management skills: Assessment and development. New York, NY: Cengage.

Taylor, R. (2001). The Future of Work-Life Balance. Swindon, UK: Economic & Social Research Council.