Time Management Tips for Really Busy People

Working hardDo you always have a lot to do and never enough time to do it all? The clock ticks relentlessly on and your to-do list gets larger rather than smaller, despite your best efforts. Before you sink under your ever increasing workload, take a couple of minutes to check that you really are using this scarce resource effectively and are not making the following common time management mistakes.

Busy business people have a lot of demands made on their time, often dashing from one meeting to another and not giving themselves enough time to get from one place to another. This is a mistake: do not try and be everywhere at once. You can’t and it will only make you flustered and late.

We live in the information age and information overload is a common problem. Bombarded by emails, we need to become much more selective in what we read. Do not try and absorb every single piece of information you are sent - concentrate instead on the most important facts.

Problems, big and small, can take up much of your day. You can never solve every problem immediately and all at one go so learn to take things a step at a time. For complex problems giving your subconscious brain time to “work it out” is a great use of time and tends to produce better solutions.

When busy it is oh so tempting to try and do lots of things quickly and at the same time. Isn’t multi-tasking supposed to be a good thing? Well the most effective people learn that working this way only messes up their time planning. Furthermore, you will not be devoting the requisite attention to each individual task. One thing at a time is the order of the day.

Whether out of guilt, or just habit, business people often use up their time on low priority work. Avoid the temptation of wanting to do the unimportant things yourself; think just how much value you need to add to pay your way. Separate the important tasks from the not so important ones. Distinguish between urgent and important matters. And never undertake important tasks if you are in a performance low - for example, directly after lunch.

When faced with the pressure of time, do not forget the goals you are striving to achieve Try and assess the time you will need to do the tasks needed to achieve these goals as realistically as possible. Otherwise your daily timetable will go awry.

Your colleagues will want to talk to you. That’s fine - but avoid prolonged discussions. Simply set yourself a time limit.

Incorporate time for unforeseen matters, disturbances, social communication and spontaneous, creative matters into your daily timetable but do not be amenable to everyone all the time. Time management is about learning to be mean with the time you have whilst staying gracious to the people you must interact with.