Think about it, time is the only commodity that matters. Learn how to manage your time better and you could have a happier, less stressful life. If you feel like there aren’t enough hours in a day, it’s because you’re reading this article instead of doing your work! But don’t worry, you’re not alone. There are three topics I want to talk about: To-Do Lists, Opportunity Costs, and Distractions.
Making a to-do list might be obvious to some of you already. It’s a great way to organize your time and make sure you don’t forget anything. But I want to talk about how you use a to-do list effectively.
1. Don’t put unmanageable goals down. If you put big, long-term goals like, “get an A in this course” or “get rich”, the task will seem too daunting. Instead, list the short-term goals you want to accomplish to work towards the big ones like, “read chapter 2 and 3” or “learn how to make a business plan”.
2. Make a systematic list. Don’t just list your tasks in the order you receive them, use this quadrant to help you prioritize from Stephen Covey’s best-selling book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
Things that are important and due soon are intuitively tackled first. What comes next? Randy Pausch finds that people usually move onto not important but due soon because the deadline is approaching. But you should ask yourself, if it’s not important, then why are you doing it?
Pausch suggests that you should step back for a moment and say, “I won’t do it! Because it’s not important! It says so right here on this chart!”
And magically, you’ll have much more time in your life. You’ll be able to work on things that are important and not due soon and get them done ahead of time. The stress will be gone!
3. Beware of filler tasks. When you have important task to finish, avoid working on things you can do quickly but don’t really need to be done at all. Just because you are busy and getting things done doesn’t mean you are actually accomplishing anything significant. Organizing your bookcase or filing papers can wait.
Stay tuned for more time management tips on considering your opportunity costs and avoiding distractions!