Time Management and Prioritization: Do Less, Achieve More!
“We all know our money isn’t infinite, yet we end up treating our time and energy and attention as if they are.”
— Shane Parrish
Do you feel like you need to work on your time management and prioritization to become more productive and get everything done? Are you struggling to cope up with the rising pressure of deadlines and often end up burning out? Do you want to know the solution to this problem, become more productive, get things done, and still have time for yourself? Then this post is for you!
What is Time Management and Prioritization?
Before we dive deeper into time management and prioritization to improve productivity and achieve more, we need to understand what these terms mean.
Time management means using your time efficiently. It is the action of consciously analyzing ways to improve your use of time and make sure that you are reaping the best results possible.
Prioritization means arranging your actions in chronological order, starting with the most important and focusing on that.
When we consciously focus on time management and prioritization, we find solutions to almost all the issues that hamper our growth and success.
Why Manage Time?
Now we know that time management is an essential skill all of us need to possess. But why should we manage it when we are already using it? Let’s understand!
The time that we spend once will never come back no matter how hard we try. Time is like the fuel in our cars. We can refill our tank repeatedly, but we cannot use the same fuel again. After every twenty-four hours, we replenish our tank with twenty-four more hours, but in no way can we reuse the twenty-four hours we just spent.
All of us realize this concept in terms of the fuel we put in our cars. We try our best to utilize it to the fullest. We don’t rev the car too much in the city, drive it in the economy mode on the highway and consciously power it off to save fuel. But we do quite the opposite with time. Instead of driving economically and quickly, we drive in a rash manner that slows us down and don’t turn off the engine, allowing the time to pass by. We use too much power to cover very short distances and therefore decrease efficiency.
When we don’t prioritize our time, we are confused about what to do and divide our focus; we waste time.
When we develop this awareness for time and think of it as an irreplaceable fuel that powers our lives, we value it and use it consciously.
If you cannot feel relaxed, do all your tasks on time, and be productive, you may be driving rashly and inefficiently on the highway. All you need to do is shift to economy mode and drive on cruise control! Time management and prioritization will help you do that!
The 80/20 Rule on Time Management and Prioritization.
One of the most famous and widely known principles in the modern world, the 80/20 rule, or Pareto’s principle, provides an exciting way to look at time management. First thought of by the Italian Economist Vilfredo Pareto, this principle showcases the prevalence of inequality and bias in many areas of our life. Through his studies and constant research, he concluded that the distribution of income and wealth in society is not random but follows a specific pattern: 80% of people have 20% of the wealth, while 20% of the people have 80% of the wealth.
This principle applies to almost all spheres of our life: not all food is nutritious, not all courses are good enough, not all people are friendly, not all places are safe, and not all things are important. So you need to look at time management and prioritization through the 80/20 rule. The majority of your results and productivity will be generated from the minority of the most important actions. This ratio doesn’t always have to be 80/20, but the idea remains the same.
To recognize these actions, you need to go micro. In his book, The ONE Thing, Gary Keller states that it is essential to have a one-pointed focus on the most critical thing you need to do, and do only that. This is entirely synchronous with the 80/20 principle that asks you to prioritize the top 20% actions that bring the most effective results.
So, how do you recognize these key actions that lead to high results?
There is a process to it. You first need to understand what you want to do or achieve with immense clarity (like knowing whether you are driving in the city or on the highway). When you know what you want to do, you need to think of the most important action you need to take. Imagine that you have to design the blueprint of a new residential complex your company wants to build. Your most important task is to create that blueprint. You may be deviating into meetings, discussing the plans, forming questions and lists, and then designing the blueprint by setting everything else aside for further discussion. You’ll say that you work on the project, but you focus on most tasks that divide your attention and don’t give results. If you start with the most essential task, your effort and time required to produce results would decrease significantly.
That’s the importance of finding out the most crucial task and prioritizing it. When you apply the 80/20 principle to your life and find out the key actions, you are destined to walk the path of success and achieve results.
Time is an Allocation.
A few days ago, I took up a course on time management by Ankur Warikoo, Founder of NearBuy, and in that, I was introduced to the concept that time is an allocation. The 80/20 rule has now helped us to prioritize and focus on the most important actions. After that, we need to fit these actions into our daily schedule and consciously allocate the right time to them.
Often, we lack time management because we don’t understand this concept. When we procrastinate, we are consciously allocating our time to procrastination. When we deviate our focus and don’t set out priorities, we are deliberately allocating our time to that 80% of the activities. And when we give the most critical time of our day to the key actions, we are consciously allocating time to achieve success.
When we change our perspective and think of time as money that we consciously spend and allocate, we will become more mindful of it. When we know our topmost priority and focus on it, we will become more productive, make the best use of our time, and achieve more by doing less!
I hope that this blog post added more value to you and helped you understand how you can manage your time better through prioritization. Do share your learning and questions in the comments below, and I will surely reply!
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Partnering in your success and growth,