Plan to Master Your Time

Time management can be labeled the Achilles heel for many in the workplace. The need to master the process of how you manage your time can crystalize through missed deadlines, inaccurate completion of tasks, or lack of time to be available for your direct reports and colleagues. Whatever prompts your focus to master your time, your efforts must be rooted in planning. There are multiple time management strategies for you to review and test.

One of my consistent go-to strategies is proactive planning. Many professionals aim to avoid the work-related stress that’s generated by ineffective time management. Below are short reminder steps on how to proactively plan to complete tasks. The goal is to anticipate all actions that need to be completed and finish them accurately earlier than expected. Deadlines can shorten without notice. Unexpected life events can happen too. You’ll be glad to finish your task in advance without the stress of rushing.

1. Create a detailed strategic plan to complete the task before the deadline.
2. Determine if additional support of colleagues is needed. If yes, loop them into the planning stage. Communicate your needs through delegation.
3. Set calendar reminders and alerts. Confirm status updates to gauge the progress, accountability, and accuracy of the task. 
4. If applicable, at least two days before the deadline, meet with or submit the completed task details for review. Leaving yourself time to make any revisions, if a pre-review is permissible.

Stephen Covey, Author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and First Things First created a time management matrix. Use the four quadrant matrix below as a resource to determine how to manage your time and tasks. Remember that the journey to mastering time management is all about trial and lessons. Be loyal to using the time management strategies that work best for you.

Quadrant I: Tasks with important deadlines with high urgency.
Quadrant II: Tasks that require long-term development and strategizing.
Quadrant III: Tasks that are urgent.
Quadrant IV: Tasks with no value.

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