How to Manage Time to Increase Productivity

How to Manage Time to Increase Productivity

“If only there was time...”

Dare to bet, among us, must have commented as above, or something similar, at least once in a lifetime.

Time is the only resource that cannot be reproduced. What is lost cannot be replaced. On the other hand, even the amount of time remaining is unpredictable. So if someone says that time is the most valuable resource, they seem to be right.

The irony is, even though time is considered one of the most valuable treasures, many people don't know how to make the most of it. When time should be used for productive things, for example, there are people who actually use it to stay, play, relax, and so on, so that time becomes wasted. It was only when the remaining time was running out that they realized, and then came the statements like the one we read at the beginning of this paper.

how can we manage time to be more leverage ? 

Actually the question is not quite right. Time is unmanageable, because time moves independently, linearly, towards the only point it knows about: the future. We cannot manage time. What we can manage is our priority. This is what may be the root of the problem for many people in life, the failure to manage priorities.

Everyone has their own way of managing priorities. There were those who were all beaten indiscriminately, there were those who used the philosophy of flowing like water (only to drift away without realizing it), and there were even those who were careless in managing them, perhaps not having priorities. Each head can have its own method. One of the heads we refer to this time is Dwight D. Eissenhower.

For those not familiar with his name, Dwight D. Eissenhower was the 34th president of the United States, serving two terms, from 1953-1961. Eissenhower was known as a very productive figure during his tenure. In eight years, he developed a cross-state highway system, founded NASA in its bid to win the space war against Russia, launched DARPA, and many other accomplishments. His method of managing work priorities has been the study and reference of many experts, including one by Stephen Covey, a management expert who is best known for his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

The Eissenhower Matrix

Referring to the technique used by Eissenhower, in the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People it is said that we can more effectively manage priorities by breaking down our types of work into a system that has four different quadrants.

This system is in the form of a matrix consisting of two axes, namely the level of importance (importance), which talks about how important an activity has an impact on our future goals, consisting of two different categories: important and unimportant; the other axis talks about the level of urgency (urgency), which talks more about the context of time, how critical an activity must be at this time. This category also consists of two different categories: critical and non-critical. When these categories intersect with each other, four priority groups will be formed that we can use as a benchmark for our activities.

Do It Now (Important – Critical) : This is the highest priority box. The meeting between these important and critical categories produces a group of activities that are indeed very crucial to be completed immediately, because they have a huge impact on our goals and we are limited by time to complete them. Usually, what is included in this group are activities that are about to expire, impromptu requests from the boss, or there are urgent problems that arise, which need to be resolved immediately. When we try to group our work activities, put such jobs into this group, so that we know what we have to do immediately, then finish right away.
Decide (Important – Not Critical) : this is the ideal priority box. In planning work activities, most of our activities should be included in this priority. This means that we make plans with a clear time frame and are not rushed. In project management, we really should be able to continuously monitor our work so that not too much is in the “Do it Now” box, but more is in the “Decide” box. This box means that we do good long-term planning, and usually the activities in this box are long-term activities too. For example, plans to complete certain certifications or training, complete a certain project, carry out annual routine activities, and so on. If we find activities that fall into this box, then we can decide: what we will do next. After that, make a schedule, and do it according to that schedule.
Divert (Unimportant – Critical) : this is a group of activities that can be annoying at times. How not, the activities in this group are actually not important and do not have a significant impact on our goals, but need to be addressed immediately. The trouble is, sometimes some things in this group actually take up a lot of our resources (time, energy, money, etc.), so we become distracted in doing what we really need. Some examples of activities such as regular meetings that can be delegated, additional impromptu work that is not related to our main job, unnecessary telephone calls, and others. If you find these kinds of activities, then the best treatment is to immediately transfer (delegate) the work to someone else. We can delegate it to our team members, or to other people who we really don't think can help us get this job done with minimal interference from us. Indeed, there are some things that cannot be delegated, for example there are family members who suddenly contact us in the middle of work to tell us the sad news, or there are impromptu work that cannot be transferred. But try to do these jobs not too much resource-consuming, and we can quickly move on to another box.
Eliminate (Unimportant – Not Critical) : this is a group of activities that have no benefit, no time limit, but are sometimes the most difficult for us to eliminate. Playing games on cell phones, chatting with coworkers in the toilet for half an hour even though the toilet is done, gossiping about superiors in the dining room, sleeping during working hours, all things that are fun but useless in achieving our work are in this group . indeed the argument that we often come up with to justify these kinds of activities is "we are also human, we need refreshing...", but in achieving priorities, we need to reconsider whether the things we call "refreshing" are really needed, or maybe we need to eliminate immediately.
In doing things that become priorities, it is important for us to ask ourselves again about the final goal to be achieved. Come back to that goal, then after that we can make better work priorities. The key is not in managing time, because time cannot be managed. But manage our own priorities, because they are in our control, nothing else.

About Jeff

Jeffrey Pratama is a Human Resource practitioner who has 15 years of career in some of the best companies in the Industry. Apart from being an Executive Professional, Jeffrey is also a certified Coach, with a deep passion in the field of personal and career development, especially for young people. This fan of jazz music and Manchester United football club is also an avid connoisseur of books, especially those related to self-development and business.

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