Make Time Work For You

Words: Dr Rajgopal NIDAMBOOR

We all have enough time each day to get everything done — whatever one’s perimeter of thought, or view. The only thing is many of us don’t seem to make use of time fittingly. This is reason enough why we feel frustrated while taking stock of our respective ‘to-do’ checklist — if we have one — or, ‘clock’ our activities at the same time.

The resultant effect is, indeed, unpleasant. Too many things to do in too little time.

Does this not sound all too common? Yes, it does. Reason enough why we would do well to pull our socks, and get more out of our everyday life without compromising — in any way — on our eating, exercising, working, and relaxation time.

Habits Matter

First of all, you need to bear in mind the tiny compartments of time in your day that are not being used appropriately.

For instance, you have the habit of hitting the road at 8:00am in the morning. So, you get up at 7:30am and rush through your shower.

You have, in so doing, unwittingly made your morning ‘traffic’ intense and just too much of a rush. This leaves you with no time for anything else.

In other words, you have made haste hastily. You need to have, instead, used this particular slot in time more suitably.

The simple trick is to set your alarm at 6:00am — i.e., two hours before your usual ‘rush-time’ to the shower. Once you turn this into a practice, it will stay with you. It will also add value to your time with a certain advantage. You will be able to use your time suitably and also have enough time to savour the delights of everyday life. You will be able to relish your morning coffee, or tea. You’ll be able to practice your favourite aerobic routines, yoga, or meditation. Not only that — you’ll have enough time to take delight in your breakfast. Not just gulp it quickly down your throat, or grab a quick bite on your way out as you did before. Such a planned morning as this will sure offer you the time to ‘run’ through news ‘capsules,’ on your mobile phone, or tablet, or TV, and get yourself updated on happenings — in a jiffy too.

You may now have a question. Suppose you are the type to pack everything into your afternoon, or evening slot? Just go ahead — no problem. But, try to relax during your lunch-break. Or, go for a 5-10-minute walk. A post-lunch saunter will do you a world of good. Also, plan your evening well — and, try to unwind.

In addition to this, make sure you have your dinner, by 7:30pm, in a relaxed manner, without allocating, or wasting time buying some provisions at the last minute. If you do, you’d have lost a precious hour for no reason. Remember — the best thing you’d do is allot the weekend to do your grocery — vegetable and fruit shopping, among others — online, or offline, for the week ahead, or fortnight, in its totality. Result? When you plan things in this manner you’ll be able to have everything at your ‘beck and call’ — and, achieve much more than you do each day.

Things To Do 

Clear the big things first. Don’t sweat the small stuff. This is, of course, a contextual allegory related to the best-selling self-help book, which you’d have read. Remember, it is difficult to manage ‘big’ projects, but once you are through with them, the small things will take care of themselves.

Don’t be too possessed with unimportant tasks. Remember, little things — or, unwanted chores — rob your time. It is best to give them the time only when you don’t have anything else worthwhile to do.

Say no. If you think you are someone who just can’t say no, you are doing yourself a big disfavour. When you don’t have the time for yourself, or cannot help oneself, there is no point in saying ‘yes’ to someone else and getting into a muddle.

Try to delegate tasks. No point in doing everything yourself — we sure cannot do everything on our own.  

Take time off for yourself. If you find yourself only important, but not a priority, you are doing injustice to yourself. You are simply not caring for yourself — this can lead to problems, such as depression. Taking time off for yourself, and spending some ‘me-time,’ also quality time with your family, eating healthy food, exercising, meditating, and enjoying your favourite hobby, or listening to soft, soulful music, will bring back the spring and energy into your life. Bear in mind — your health and well-being should always be placed on top of your precedence list.

This done, you’ll sure find that it is possible to do everything you need to do in a given day, every day of your life. Only thing is you need to develop a ‘willing-to-change’ attitude, plan things in advance, and ensure a sense of discipline with your outlook and also time.

The change per se will not only help you to become much better organised, but also provide the room to have time at your disposal.

This holds the key for your workplace priorities and concerns too — the difference being of degree.

Time Management At The Workplace

  • Use time to deliberate and plan. This is time well-spent. If you don’t, you are planning to fail. Plan and organise in a manner you are at ease with — not because someone told you
  • Set Goals. Goals give you a sense of time and direction. Make goals specific, measurable, realistic and achievable. Stretch, and don’t break yourself with goals that don’t work
  • Prioritise your time to concentrate on your work that is keyed to the greatest reward. Use a method that makes the most sense to you. Flag items with a deadline, or colour shade. This prompts, or enables, you to define, or redefine, your priorities
  • Don’t do without a ‘to-do’ list. Also, never use a ‘to-do’ list that stays idle. Keep it updated — try a new system, if something you tried earlier did not work
  • Try to be flexible. Remember, there can be no life, or time, without interruptions and diversions. You should think of time management at 50 per cent, or less, of one’s time. This will give you the flexibility to handle intrusions and/or the unexpected ‘crisis’
  • Know your biological clock. Get to know what time of the day you are at your best. Whether you are a ‘morning bird,’ or late afternoon ‘genius,’ or ‘night owl.’ This will help you to plan and use your best time of the day for your priorities. It will also ensure effective time management and productivity
  • Do the right things, right; also write. Focus on effectiveness and, thereafter, concentrate on efficiency. Get the right of things, right
  • Think of long-term. Because, urgent tasks have just short-term consequences? Possibly. Try to aim at reducing urgency, so that you have the time for your important priorities
  • Delegate smartly. Do not get marooned by small tasks that don’t hold long-term prospects. Find out if you’d delegate, or eliminate, any of your ‘to-do’ tasks. Focus on tasks which only you can do — not somebody else
  • Give up fixated perfectionism. Try to be perfect by all means, but not so vehemently that it leads to procrastination
  • Complete a given task with time to spare. Also, reach the finishing line as quickly as possible. Break a given task into small tasks, if need be — when you think it is too protracted, complex, or long
  • Focus on your goals. This is the only way to just do it. Also, to press the point again — learn to say no. Saying no is the most difficult task of all. The earlier you learn to say no to something you can’t do, or are not into, the better you will be for it
  • Pamper yourself. When you finish a job, or complete a given task — big, or small — celebrate. This is said to help you maintain the necessary balance in life, work, and leisure. More so, because, when you learn to balance life with ‘excellence at work’ and relaxation, your life will become much better, healthier, merrier, and more creatively and resourcefully disposed.
Dr RAJGOPAL NIDAMBOOR, PhD, is a wellness physician-writer-editor, independent researcher, critic, columnist, author and publisher. His published work includes hundreds of newspaper, magazine, web articles, essays, meditations, columns, and critiques on a host of subjects, eight books on natural health, two coffee table tomes and an encyclopaedic treatise on Indian philosophy. He is Chief Wellness Officer, Docco360 — a mobile health application/platform connecting patients with Ayurveda, homeopathic and Unani physicians, and nutrition therapists, among others, from the comfort of their home — and, Editor-in-Chief, ThinkWellness360. This article was first published in ©Career Ahead, India.

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