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Do you often feel that your tasks are governing you or that life is just getting out of control? If you do, you are among this widely growing tribe of people whose fast and frenzied life has left them totally overwhelmed and exhausted. Lack of time, today, is the number one stressor in our personal and professional life. And stress as we know is the biggest culprit for messing with our physical and emotional health. Better time management is therefore the need of 'time' (pun intended).


For many of us, whether at home, college or at work our average day is filled with conflicting priorities, commuting woes, deadlines and responsibilities. It's a continuous onslaught of things to do, with very few moments to organize our thoughts. The result is obvious- missed deadlines, unfinished tasks, no time for leisure or family, lack of sleep.the list goes on. But there are some people who seem to sail through their day; they have time for everything they want to do. So what's their secret? Their day does not have 48 hours instead of 24 nor do they have magic, they just manage their time efficiently.

Time Management Strategies

So what exactly is time management? Businessdictionary.com defines it as "Systematic, priority-based structuring of time allocation and distribution among competing demands." It simply means prioritising and then planning your day accordingly. Prioritising is the key word here. There will always be too many things to do, but you need to decide what is important to you and in what order. Get rid of the non-essential tasks. De-cluttering will allow you to focus your full attention on tasks that matter, which means better productivity. Another time management mantra is delegation - what can be delegated should be delegated. Doing everything yourself doesn't necessarily get you ahead, at times it's getting things done. Sharing certain responsibilities can save you time, energy and also improve you interpersonal relationships.

Organisation is another important element of time management. And we mean organisation not just in office work but also in every aspect of your functioning, from your wardrobe to your file system. It may sound trivial, but you will be amazed by how much time you can save and stress you can eliminate by being organised even in the smallest of things. Have you realized how much time you waste or how frustrated you get when you don't find your ironed shirt in the morning or the presentation you worked on two days ago? Simple acts like keeping things in place and pre-planning help you reduce the time wasted on finding things, waiting for transport or in confusion.

Learning to steal time can give you those small windows you need for relaxing or doing your own things. For example, you can catch up on your reading or music when you are waiting to see your doctor. If you keep your notepad and pen handy when you are waiting for a bus or train, you can jot down your 'to-do' list, shopping list etc.

Simple steps

  • Become aware - know your goals, your priorities and your limitations. This helps in focussing on things that are really important and eliminating unnecessary stress.
  • Delegate - share the responsibility wherever you can. Sometimes it is better to get things done.
  • Find out what eats your time - we often spend too much time on unproductive tasks such as too many coffee breaks, compulsive email checking, net surfing etc. Identify your time-wasters and cut out on them.
  • Learn to say 'No' - Many of us take on all the work that comes our way either because we want to prove that we can do everything or because of our temperament. Say 'no' when it is genuinely impossible for you to do something.
  • Organise - bring discipline into smallest of the things you do. Keep things in place, pre-plan, keep notes, have to-do lists.
  • Steal time - time wasted waiting at a station, in a clinic etc. can be used constructively to catch up on reading, listening to music, checking emails etc.
  • Simple daily use technology such as your cell phone or your office email software such as Outlook/Lotus Notes can help schedule your events, set alerts and reminders. Plenty of specialised time management software too are available.
  • Don't be too rigorous - while pre-planning is good, there can always be unexpected meetings etc. that come up. Learn to keep your calm when things don't go according to plan, judge what is important at that moment and act accordingly. Sometimes, it is easier to go with the flow.
  • Women should ideally have babies before 35.

Time management helps you on a micro scale by improving your day-to-day productivity and on a macro scale by improving the quality of your life. It is the essential soft skill that corporates seek in their employees. Psychologists include time management in their stress management strategies alongside diet management and anxiety management. The growing relevance of time management has led to several training institutions and organisations offering courses in time management. If you think you need professional help for improving your time management skills, there is plenty available.


Health Initiative from KS Oils