How to Manage Modern Day Time Traps

38Do you sometimes wonder why the 24 hours allotted to you each day are seemingly not enough to do all the things that you need to do? Even with modern time management gadgets like hand-held computers, personal organizers and digitized pocket diaries, why do time management issues still persist?

Clinging to old habits and the difficulty of breaking them are the common causes of time traps that lessen productivity whether you’re a lawyer, teacher, farmer, business owner or CEO for a big corporation. Understanding these time traps can help you find ways out, better manage your time and have more time to spend on yourself.

If you want to avoid time traps that can get in the way of a productive day, consider the following tips:

1. Set realistic daily goals. You can make goals realistic and doable by choosing just a few core tasks that you can tackle and finish. This means prioritizing more important and urgent tasks and working on those that truly matter. Sometimes the task of prioritizing can in itself be a problem. It is, thus, important to sort out the tasks in their order of urgency and value.

2. Avoid procrastination. The temptation to put off work is often caused by enticements that give easy or immediate pleasure. The modern home or office is filled with them and you would rather watch TV, play the latest video game, chat with friends in social media or answer text messages in your cell phone. Considering that it takes time to refocus on work after each interruption, turning off your electronic gadgets is a good deterrent. Once the temptations get out of the way, old habits begin to be broken and more meaningful tasks start to become part of a routine.

3. You don’t need to be perfect. Perfectionism is a time trap that shuns the delegation of tasks. Perfectionists like to do things in a certain way and they don’t seem to trust other people to do them the right way. You don’t need to be perfect to get more things done as long as you give your best in everything you do.

4. Be ashamed of being habitually late. People who are always late for work, classes, appointments or meetings are inconsiderate of other people’s time. People whom you are going to meet have other important things to do and keeping them waiting can be stressful. If you’re afflicted with chronic lateness, try spending a few days timing your daily routine. On the first day, get to know the exact time you need to prepare and have breakfast, shower, get dressed, drive through traffic and find a parking space until you reach your office. On the second day and the subsequent days, allot enough extra time, say some 30 minutes, into every trip until you achieve the needed timeliness and thus, form a good habit.

5. Learn to say “No” gracefully. The desire to please other people may spring from the fear of making others angry or losing favor, or a lack of confidence in oneself. Indeed, it takes courage to say “no” especially to family, friends and people you love. But saying it nicely and giving a justified reason can make people understand that you too have your own time to manage.

Trapping the time traps is the key to effective time management. Depending on your goal in life, a well-managed 24 hour day will be more than enough time to balance your work and your life.

Image credit:  Guilherme Silva