One of the most important skills busy people interested in self improvement, achievement and success can learn is effective time management. There are more demands on our time today than ever, everybody has too much to do, and it is easy to be overwhelmed with the sheer amount of information that confronts us each day. For most busy people, all their time is taken up, or at least it seems that way.
Time is actually the most valuable thing we all have. Time can neither be replaced nor saved for the future. But can you really manage time? Everyone on earth has only 24 hours a day, so why is it that some people can achieve so much more than others? It may come naturally to these people, or maybe they’ve made a conscious decision to learn the necessary skills.
Thinking about and deciding what is most important in your life is probably the best starting point for effective personal time management. If you have worked out what you want to achieve in the most important areas of you life, it should automatically be easier to use your time more effectively. If you regularly think about what is really important to you, it’s likely you will want to spend more of your time on high value activities.
Another way to improve personal time management almost immediately is to simply make the effort to think about time before spending it. Ideally, at all times you should be working on your highest value tasks, tasks that will move you closer to you goals and desires.
One of the most effective ways to increase productivity and get more done in less time is to write down everything you have to do and then to put everything in order of importance. Your most important tasks are the ones you must do. These are the tasks that will bring the greatest benefits, or that will have serious consequences if neglected.
Next in order of importance are those tasks you should do, but aren’t as important as your ‘must do’ tasks. After this are the tasks that it would be nice to do, but are of little, or even no real importance.
When you put everything down in writing it helps to clear your mind and allows you to see things more clearly. You will often find that you actually have less to do than you thought. You may well find things on your list that you will be now consider, when seen in writing, as of no real value, that you can eliminate altogether.
The next step is to put your must do tasks in order of importance, and start working on the most important of these it until finished. Often the most important tasks are things that we don’t really like to do, which can make them the hardest to start. But this is one of the most important of all steps for increased productivity and effective time management. At all times you should be working on your most important and highest value tasks. Less important or lower value tasks should never be started when there are more important tasks unfinished.
One of the worst ways to manage time is to start something and leave it to move on to other things. When you return to it, you’ll have lost momentum and track of where you were, and sometimes will have to almost start all over again. Some estimates claim that this can cause it to take up to 500% longer to complete any task.
If you have decided your most important task and started working on it, the reality is, that according to your own priorities, anything else, by comparison, is a waste of time.
There is no doubt you will greatly increase your productivity by writing down and prioritising everything you need to do, and sticking to your most important tasks until they are completed. It takes discipline and perhaps some practice, but it’s one of the most valuable of all time and life management skills.
“Lost wealth may be replaced by industry, lost knowledge by study, lost health by temperance or medicine, but lost time is gone forever. ” - Samuel Smiles
About The Author: Garry Zancanaro is the founder of http://www.SelfImprovementDirectory.com a website dedicated to all aspects of Personal Development, and to helping people live more successful and fulfilling lives. Visit to claim a FREE copy of Napoleon Hill's classic THINK AND GROW RICH.