Time Management is something I have perfected, if I may say so myself. It is like any other skill, which has to be practiced and tweaked during the hectic day-to-day lives we all lead. I use it successfully both at work and in my personal life. Yes, it helps that it comes naturally to me. As people who know me can attest:
– I am rarely (if at all) late for a meeting, especially one I arrange, unless I get stopped by a Cop or get into some accident or something.
– I never come to a meeting with zero preparation. For me, meeting is where people with differing views and ideas and agendas come together (sacrificing valuable time) to form a consensus on a plan of action. It is NOT the time to read up on the documents/material.
– It is impossible to 100% remove that element of “surprise” from our lives. [Side story: When I completed my MSEE and accomplished my goal of an overall GPA of 4.0 (now, “why” I set this goal for myself is for another Blog) and was getting ready for a fun family vacation in December 2003, Surprise! A life-threatening Health Scare! All the advance planning could not help me there] Eh, without some tension/apprehension/nervousness, what is life? It is no fun to live life like a robot. If you read my Travel Blogs, you can note that I plan, but do not microplan my trips, as I like to leave some things to chance. In general, I am rarely caught by surprise.
– I plan ahead of time, yes, sometimes “Way ahead of time”.
I have great family (again, if I may say so myself), several passions, several hobbies, a very good set of friends and associates, and a job I love. It is not easy to give proper attention to each of these entities on a consistent basis.
Some tips from my side are …
(01) You cannot win them all (I.e. Prioritize)
As the saying goes, “pick your fight”! For example, I have around 20-30 Action Items pending on me. Am I going to complete it all today? No way. I pick the ones that are important and that I can reasonably complete today and keep the remaining ones active, for another time.
Spend atleast 20-30 minutes each day to reflect on what has happened and what needs to happen. This is very important. We all run around doing so many things that we tend to lose track of where each Action Item (personal or professional) is. Ultimately, we end up disappointing people and even worse, disappointing ourselves!
I love my first cup of coffee in the morning (if you are curious, black, with no sugar and no cream) and that is when I reflect. Coffee-lovers, if you have not tried it, try it. It helps that I wake up at around 4-4.30AM and there are no distractions when I do this.
(03) Office Supplies
Disclaimer: I do not work for Office Depot and nor do I get any commission from them.
I am a big fan of PostIts and Notes. With so many events happening in one’s lives (especially with kids), no human being can keep it consistently and safely, all “in the head”. We all need some help in remembering the Daily/Weekly/Monthly/Long-Term Action Items. Now, I do not mean to go to the extent of “Memento” (the movie), or as my friends from India knows, “Ghajni” (the movie), but you will find that a systematic approach to generating, maintaining and destroying notes helps a lot, be in your personal life or professional life.
You get one shot at life. By managing your time, you will be able to milk as much as you can out of it. Now, will Time Management solve all your problems? Nope. But, it will put you in a better position to tackle it.
Note: Suggestions are most welcome. I am still learning.