Effective personal time management requires that you take time to lay out a plan of what you need to do at each particular time. You can plan for a day by drawing a timetable with needs to be accomplished and the corresponding time it should be carried out. Longer periods can be planned for using calendars, diaries or event note books.
Set goals in your life both short and long term as this will give you direction and prevent you from getting sidetracked due to lack of goals. Having specific goals will guide you towards a certain direction and help you to maintain focus. Set goals that are measurable, achievable, realistic, and more important time-bound. Appropriate goals will stretch but will not break you.
Learn to prioritize the tasks that you need to undertake depending on their immediacy and importance. Identify and isolate the most important or influential tasks and always give them the best of your time. You can use colors or numbers to mark your tasks in order of priority.
Draw up a to-do-list the previous night or on the morning of a particular day. This can be used alongside a timetable or a task schedule in case of a day. In the case of longer periods such as weeks or months, it is used alongside a calendar. Update your list continuously to match it with your priorities.
Allow considerable flexibility in your time plan. Do not plan for a hundred percent of your time. Leave out a margin to accommodate any interruptions that may occur in the course of your plan. Schedule for routine tasks whenever you expect to be interrupted as this will require lesser concentration which you can afford even during the interruption.
Understand your biological prime time and plan your most important tasks to fit this time frame. If you work best during the mornings, use this time for the most important tasks. Undertaking difficult tasks during your slump hours will cost you a lot in terms of energy and input applied.
First, go for effectiveness and then efficiency when undertaking tasks. Decide on what is right to do at a particular time first before you take the time to figure out the right way to do it. When you are already on with a task you will be making progress as you develop the best way to handle it.
Work towards eliminating the most important tasks in your to-do list. Most of the urgent tasks will have lesser consequences than long term tasks whose output is obviously larger. Fixing earlier deadlines for your tasks will help you prevent once timely tasks from running into urgency.
Avoid overloading your to-do list with tasks that you could have otherwise said no to, delegated to someone else, or completely eliminated. Focusing on your goal will help you shed off everything else that does not work towards your goal of the time.
Avoid time wastage practices such as paying too much attention to details and procrastination. Handle each task with reasonable attention due to it. If you feel like you should push a task forward, break it down into smaller tasks, and handle each at a time. Lastly, celebrate the little successes of proper personal time management such as achieved goals.