Time is probably one of the most valuable privileges that God has given to humans. We say it is a privilege because it cannot be earned by being good. Time is just there and just runs regardless of what we do.
We cannot buy it off somewhere and cannot store it for future use. Even the richest among us cannot control time, no matter how many times some futuristic films tell us that several wealthy geniuses have found ways to go back and forth time periods.
Thus, the only way we can enjoy the limited time we have in this world is to manage it well. With the right tools, we can make this happen. While we cannot control time, we can manage it in such a way that we extract the greatest value possible from it.
Sure, we cannnot enjoy everything that time has to offer, nor do we have the ability to do everything we want to do. However, we can make sure that we benefit at the greatest possible extent from what is available.
According to the Pareto principle of time, there are certain things that can be done with only 20% of our efforts and energies, yet enable us to generate as much as 80% of value. On the other hand, there are certain activities that allow us only 20% of value even if we expend 80% of our energies on them.
This principle, obviously, tells us that we need to seek the former at all times. That is, going for tasks that do not just get completed at the shortest probable period, but can also give us the best possible benefits.
Various time management tools have worked for different people, depending on their personalities and work styles. Students often find that using highlighters and post-it notes to remind them of assignments are helpful.
Some mothers find that writing down a to-do list and sticking them on the fridge works. Some people who hate having to write things down find greater comfort and ease with time management software.
Regardless of the time management tools used, the objective is to better make use of time, in order for us to have enough to perform other less important and more mundane things, like sitting in front of the television and doing nothing.
Some time management tools that have worked for others include creating project plans and files, writing down to-do lists for the day, writing down a master project roster, creating a first-things-first note, using time charts and reminder systems, setting alarms or creating sequence flowcharts. There are other tools that have proven effective. In fact, you can tailor one for yourself. Whatever it is, the objective should be consistent.
Of course, even if you have the right time management tools, nothing will work effectively if you don’t put them to heart. Making a list is simply that – making a list. It doesn’t really say or do anything.
What makes these lists work is your willingness and will to act on them. When you draft a schedule, make sure you stick to it and avoid making changes along the way. When you tell yourself that you need to finish a paper or a report today, put down that remote control, turn the TV off and get going at the computer. Procrastination is the enemy of proper time management.
None of these tools will be effective without you. It is you who makes things happen. Time does not adjust for you. Again, it simply runs and the only way you will be able to cope with it is to motivate (okay, force) yourself to stick to what you have planned in the first place. Sure, glitches can happen along the way, but if your plan is set in stone, you will be able to cope with the changes more smoothly and without panic.
That said, perhaps the most important time management tool is will. Without will, you pretty much won’t amount to anything. You can have hundreds and thousands of time management plans and tools at your disposal. But without will, none of them will work.