A propos’ punctuality…I don’t accept being late. It’s not trendy, it never was and it never will be. People who are always late, are not only disrespecting other people’s time, but they are also just being careless. I don’t agree with the statement that respect can only be earned. The starting point for all interactions should be respectful, although someone can lose respect if they behave improperly. A simple way to show someone respect, is to respect their time.
I once worked in a company where „a meeting at 10.00”, meant that at 10.00 everybody was slowly heading towards the conference room and perhaps making coffee on the way there. And there was an “adorable” CEO, that used to start every meeting with, delicately speaking, negative criticism of everything. What a “wonderful” way to start the week, and to motivate your employees for the week ahead. He of course was always late, and of course you know the rule – both bad and good examples come from the top.
I realize that not everybody has good organization, and punctuality can also be in one’s blood, as it is with me since I was a child. I believe that everything can be learned and developed. Sometimes it’s not easy but hey, no one said that life was going to be easy. I don’t like excuses and I can say that the statement “there are no problems, there are only solutions” is one of my life drivers.
Everybody who knows me, also knows that if I am late without having called or texted, then it means that something serious happened. So what do I do so that I am well organized and always punctual? The secret is in good time management. Below I listed the most important rules that I use.
15 WAYS TO PROPERLY MANAGE YOUR TIME:
- Use a calendar
Using a calendar is one of the crucial steps in managing your daily activities. It doesn’t matter if you use your mobile calendar, outlook or a date organizer. It’s all about having it on hand, and updating it systematically.
- Plan your day
Plan your day in advance in the morning, or even better do it the the night before. My ritual is to check my schedule for the next day the evening before, just to make sure I am ready for the next day. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan! Of course if something unexpected happens, then I modify the plan accordingly, and this too should be done regularly.
It’s obvious – you cannot do everything by yourself, so learn to prioritize. You also have to learn to let the unimportant things go. A long time ago, I learnt that the best is the 80/20 rule. The rule states that 80% of ones output is achieved by 20% of their efforts. The remaining 20% of output, can only be achieved by putting in 80% effort. What a waste of time! So the simple conclusion, is that it’s not worth devoting your time to tiny details that no one but you will notice.
- Set your watch 5 minutes ahead of time
I know that clocks are everywhere and the time in your mobile is always accurate, but you will really feel the difference if you set your watch 5 minutes ahead (even 10 minutes if it’s necessary!).
- Come to your meetings early
The truth is, that if you plan to be somewhere on time you will either be on time or late. So try to be early, and then you will always be on time J
- Group similar tasks together
I batch similar tasks. Identify your tasks first, and then batch them. For example, if I know that I have to make a few phone calls, I plan a time box for this activity. I don’t do it during other activities such as when writing a blog post.
If there are activities that can be done by others (both at home and work) then delegate them. Then you can focus on really important tasks that you have to do. You don’t have to put everything on your shoulders and be a perfectionist, because this only leads to frustration and exhaustion.
- Set the real time of task performance and stick to it
Restrict your work to X amount of time for a task and then stick to it. Use a timer if necessary. And most of all stay focused.
- Leave buffer time in-between
Don’t put one task after another. Leave 5-10 minute gaps between tasks. Punctual people are not angry when they come to a meeting earlier. They know how to productively consume this spare time. I for example check my e-mails, answer them, read a book or just listen to music, or just relax.
- Set reminders 15 minutes beforehand
If you are going to attend an important meeting, set a reminder. It’s always very individual if you set your reminder 15, 30 or 60 minutes beforehand. Just take into account the time that you will need to get to a particular location.
- Block distractions
First you have to identify what are the sources of distraction at your place of work? A mobile, messages, e-mails or skype? If you are doing something important, and you have to focus, then just turn off your devices. It helps a lot to concentrate, and to perform in a more efficient manner.
- Eliminate time wasters
Just identify what takes time away from work? Facebook, twitter or skype? Don’t check them so often. Maybe you will have to get rid of these applications from your mobileand just check them at particular times whilst using your desktop. And don’t worry, no one will notice your absence 😉
- Put things in their place
Thanks to this, you will stop wasting your time and energy constantly looking for things. You will easily differentiate things that you really need, and identify those things that are just in your way (because you pile up things ;))
- Don’t procrastinate and get things done ahead of time
A punctual person doesn’t procrastinate, because it means stressing out. For example, I pick out what to wear and pack my bag the night before. Additionally, I prepare a written list of things that should be packed, and then I put a tick next to it while packing. Thanks to this, I never forget things. By doing things early, I have less to worry about, and I can focus on being punctual.
- Learn how to say “NO”
Don’t take on more things that you can handle. Give a firm “NO” to things that come in when you are already doing things at full capacity.
In summary, no one expects you to be perfect. In fact, perfectionism (like every other extreme) is neither good for you nor normal ;). It’s worth managing your time, and paradoxically, the more tasks you have, the more time you will have under the condition that you organize yourself properly. Start going to bed early and wake up early. I do this, and I sleep well and wake up well rested. Good luck!
What do you think about my ways of time management? Do you have any tips to be a better time manager?
Tell me in the comments section here, or on my FB fanpage
P.S. Like this post? You might also enjoy the section LIFESTYLE/ LIFE ADVICE