How to Master Time Management

With the festive season fast approaching, Teresa Peters reminds us how to slow down and manage our time effectively…

Christmas is a time for joy, but it can also be a time of hectic schedules, endless to-do lists, and mounting stress. This year, let’s make a commitment to manage our time effectively using timeless strategies that have proven their worth.

Recently I ran a time management workshop for the NHS. I explained how we all have the same 24 hours in the day and we can’t manage time because it is set, but we can manage ourselves. In this column, I’d like to share some tools on how to master time management.

The Timeless Wisdom Of Stephen Covey

Stephen R. Covey, author of ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’, encourages us to think in terms of ‘big rocks’ and ‘small rocks’. Imagine you have a jar and you need to fit in big rocks (important tasks) and small rocks (less important tasks).

If you start by filling the jar with small rocks, you won’t have space for the big rocks. Identify your big rocks List your most important tasks, such as buying gifts, planning events, important work tasks and spending quality time with loved ones. These are your ‘big rocks’.

Schedule your big rocks first. Block out time for these essential tasks. Commit to these appointments as you would a work meeting. Fit the smaller rocks around the big ones Once your big rocks are in place, slot smaller tasks, like decorating or sending out cards, around them.

The Eisenhower Matrix

Dwight D. Eisenhower was known for his remarkable ability to prioritise tasks. He developed the Eisenhower Matrix, a simple but effective tool for sorting tasks into four categories:

Urgent and important: These tasks are top priority and require immediate attention.

Not urgent but important: These tasks are vital for long-term goals but don’t demand immediate action.

Urgent but not important: These tasks may seem pressing, but they don’t contribute to your goals.

Not urgent and not important: These tasks are distractions that should be minimised.

Brian Tracy’s Time Management Rules

Brian Tracy, a renowned self-help author, emphasises several time management rules that can be helpful during the festive season:

The ‘Eat That Frog’ principle

Tackle your most challenging and least appealing tasks first thing in the morning. This leaves you feeling accomplished and motivated for the rest of the day.

The 80/20 rule

This rule suggests that 20% of your efforts will yield 80% of your results. Focus on the most productive 20% of your tasks for the best outcome.

The two-minute rule

If a task takes less than two minutes to complete, do it immediately. This small change can lead to significant time savings.

Use technology wisely

Use tools like calendars, task management apps and reminders to help you learn how to master time management and stay organised.

Create A Time Management Routine For Christmas Bliss

Begin each day by reviewing your schedule, reminding yourself of your ‘big rocks’ and allocating time for them. As you decorate your tree and wrap those gifts, remember that the greatest gift of all is the gift of time well spent.