Time Management: Importance, Benefits, and Techniques of Achievement

Time management is defined as the proper utilization of time for the appropriate purpose. In general, management of time includes tools or techniques for planning and scheduling time, particularly with the aim to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of personal and organizational time use. Since it plays a very important role in organizations’ productivity and success, it is incorporated into the basic training schedule of employees. Additionally, there are a number of books, seminars, and courses, which offer tips and training on time management these days.

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This research paper discusses the importance of time management especially in an organization and how it can ultimately lead to stress management. For this purpose, the paper is divided into three parts, the introduction, benefits of time management, and how it can be achieved and the final this paper will provide the tools and techniques needed to operate and succeed in today’s dynamic work environment.

In today’s fast-paced and demanding workplace, time management plays the most important role. Unfortunately, time management is the most challenging part for many individuals. Since time is the most precious commodity in today’s fast pace of life, individuals and organizations need to manage it with proper planning. Such planning comes with a number of advantages such as work is less mundane and there is a balance in one life. However, if there is no proper time management in this fast-paced hectic way of working, it may lead to serious problems. Statistics support the fact that more and more absenteeism in the workplace is caused by a stress-related illness. There is a need to make sure that employees can perform under pressure without being overwhelmed. The organization has to make sure that employees are trained in the skills they need to effectively self-manage (Falconbury Ltd. 2005).

Time is precious, perhaps the most precious commodity, and managing it properly is of great importance. Stephen R. Covey (1994), in his book First Things First, refers to his guidelines as the 4th generation time management and highlights the difference between urgency and importance in planning. In this book, Covey also formulates a framework for prioritizing work. This approach is mainly aimed at long-term goals, at the expense of tasks that appear to be urgent but are in fact less important. This is a simple tool of time management and is in the form of a 2×2 matrix. With the help of this matrix it is easy to classify tasks as urgent and non-urgent on one axis, and important or non-important on the other axis. These are the ones he believes we are likely to neglect; but, should focus on to achieve effectiveness. Delegation is presented as an important part of time management. Successful delegation, according to Covey, focuses on results and benchmarks that are to be agreed in advance, rather than on prescribing detailed work plans. This book sheds some light on the endless problem of personal time management and achieving the balance between nurturing rich personal relationships while maintaining a career.

In general, most of us tend to spend too much time on short-term urgent matters, even important ones that do not contribute to the quality of our work. That leaves little or no time for reflection and long-term thinking which is essential to success both personally and professionally. Prioritizing is very important for the successful management of time (Ramos and Sharma). Do the most important things or the urgent ones need to be done first. It is important to take out time from the busy schedule especially at the beginning of the day to think and plan for the daily activities and for the future. Above all, it is also important to try hard to prevent “negative spillover” of professional duties into the family and private lives. Protection of the private personal space and commitments is very important especially when it comes to stress management (American Thoracic Society – Career Talk, 2002).

If time is not managed properly, it could lead to stress. Stress in this context can be defined as the effects on ourselves that we experience as a result of interacting with our environment, particularly, the supervisors, our workplace, others in the organization, etc. There can be positive and negative stress. Positive stress can result in taking action to successfully solve problems in personal life and work and can result in feelings of excitement and fulfillment. However, negative stress can result in frustration, resentment and anger, and even burnout and despair, along with numerous physical problems. If we take out time to identify the cause of the stress it can be effectively managed (Free Management Library, 1997).

Time management skills are to be learned and this is the only way to recognize and solve personal time management problems. With good time management skills, an individual is in control of his/her time and life, of their stress and energy levels. This helps them to make progress at work. The individual is able to maintain a balance between work, personal, and family lives. Above all, they are also flexible enough to respond to surprising situations or new opportunities.

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With a good time management training program, an individual will be equipped to face multifaceted challenges in professional and personal life. Much improvement is bound to come from simply becoming aware of the essence and causes of common personal time management problems. In addition, these training also offer courses based on one personality. The psychological component of time management skills can also be dealt with. For instance, these trainings provide ideas, tips, tools, and more to help an individual to organize home, office, and life challenges.

If it is the problem of procrastination, time management training can also help to overcome this problem. The capacity to beat procrastination and laziness is among the most important time management skills to be learned. Identify the causes of procrastination and fighting it is one of the top priorities of such training.

Today, managers and supervisors in organizations are faced with challenges of decision-making daily. Good decision-making skills are the foundation for life and time management skills. Hence top officials need to develop these decision-making skills and techniques. It is a well-known fact that prioritizing techniques save time and energy. Prioritizing skills allow individuals to focus on what is most important. Planning is a significant time management technique that helps in optimizing individuals’ effort of achieving a goal (Campbell, et al, 1997). Above all learning to plan efficiently is yet another simple and powerful technique to convert goals and ideas into an effective action plan.

It can be noted that the common denominators for all time management techniques are planning for a to-do list, setting priorities, and goal management. Some of the best-known examples of time management plans are tied to specific lines of time management products. Time management for personal use is a type of self-management. In an organizational setting, time management software can satisfy the need to control employees, make it easier to coordinate work, and increases the commitment of individual employees (2007).

The following steps can help an individual when they feel that they have too many items to accomplish on the “to do” list, or when they have a strict deadline for specific tasks: The first step is to take a short break to compose oneself by relaxing. For instance, one can take a short walk, take deeper than normal breaths. This will help the individuals to get more oxygen and release stress. It may also be helpful if they have a wash in cool water. Secondly, it is important to determine what exactly they have to do and when they must do it. List the tasks and rank them in descending order of importance. In other words, determine the deadline. Check the time left for the deadline. Divide the number of tasks into the total minutes available. This will tell how much time one has to complete an average task from your list.

Again look at the list and check are there any quick and easy entries? Do them first, fast and well. This will allow more time for the more important or more difficult items. Only do tasks in this way that will take a shorter time than the average. If it would take longer, go directly to the most important tasks and begin. It is also important to take others’ help if one thinks that you cannot complete the work themselves. If one can, delegate some of the minor tasks on the list. Promise those who help to return the favor.

After these preliminary steps, reconsider the time and tasks remaining. Setting an alarm clock for the number of minutes allowed for each task is a good idea. It may also be helpful if the individual to not have interruptions or they decide not to answer the phone unless the caller is part of the list. It is important to work to get the critical parts of each task down. Completion is the goal. However, if the individual did not get it done in the allotted time, then rescheduling it can be a good idea. It is important to accomplish some tasks faster.

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An important part of making this technique successful is the attitude towards the list and the available time. When an individual first determine the average time per task, it may be helpful to ask: “Is this enough time, if I work diligently, to complete these tasks?” If not, pare down the list till one has confidence that the work can complete those tasks. Relaxed, concentrated effort accomplishes more than worry or anxiety (O’Brien, 2002).

Finally, it can be concluded that time management is the most important part that should be included in all training. Each individual in an organization should undergo this training in the initial stages and probably at frequent intervals to ensure good time management skills. This is the main way in which an individual could determine success.

References

American Thoracic Society — Career Talk, (2002) Time Management: A practical approach and philosophy, 2007. Web.

Campbell, C.J, Quick, J.D., Nelson, D.L & Joseph Hurrell (1997) Preventative Stress Management in Organizations, American Psychological Association.

Falconbury Ltd. (2005) Improving time and stress management. 2007. Web.

Free Management Library, (1997) Stress Management. 2007.  Web.

O’Brien, T. (2002) A Time Management Tactic to Try, Perpetual Motion Interactive Systems Inc. 2007. Web.

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Ramos, J.A & Sharma M. Practical Stress Management: A comprehensive Workbook for Managing Change and Promoting Health. 4th Ed., Pearson Cummings.

Stephen R. Covey (1994) First Things First, Simon & Schuster.

Time management, 2007. Web.

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