August 12, 2012

P7 Follow–Up 4: The Final Review: Assessing today, tomorrow and forever

Follow-up to P7 Follow–Up 3: Have you changed? Is TIME your friend now? from Melvin's blog

TIME, TIME, TIME Handline Leaping Seconds with Grace and STYLE?

OR

Tracking Your Time, a limited resource. How are you using yours?

WHATS YOU THINKING??????

tm6I always previously felt I was too busy to assess how I’m managing my time. Wouldn't time spent planning be better spent on assignments, studying, games or catching up on lost sleep? In fact, like spending money on advertising to grow a business, assessing your use of time now will pay off in greater efficiency and achievement later. I have realised that from the worrying person I was to the calm and collected person I have become, all thanks to better time management. My journey began with me being overwhelmed with the amount of assignments and work I had to do for my course, always stressing I had to do this……and that!! The times were riddled with a number of all nighters, poor eating habits, missing breakfast/lunches, sacrificing a lot of pleasures to get work done at university. Additionally, the prospect giving time for family and friends was starting to strain me considerably. I used to see myself sometimes overly spending time with family and friends or hardly any time at all and getting annoyed. In the midst of all this, deep within me I knew something was not set right as I was trying to do everything but nothing was working….I wasn’t happy….others weren’t happy etc.124408671777sfn0.jpg

Thus came the time I actively took the step to understand time completely. Clear my mind of any personal methods to sort this mess out and take a tour of my day, my priorities, my time and the importance of balance… was the initial gain from the workshop. Currently I have come a long way from what I used to be all with successes and failures, but trying to get consistency was all that mattered. The main aspect of the workshop that has been etched in me is the SMART method of time management. I automatically seem to assess every piece of work or situation. It has gone from being a technique to use to becoming a habit, which has really helped me. It always helps me arrange my time with priorities whilst giving deadlines. Making all my targets SPECIFIC, MEASURABLE, ATTAINABLE, RELEVANT and TIME BOUND.

Especially for my action point it worked beautifully. My last two modules being riddled with work was the time to implement it, especially using it on presentations we had to make. The different parts of the presentations had different priorities and thus SMART helped complete the whole task effortlessly. Every time there was something incomplete or over ran the designated time, SMART was used and everything was reassessed.

As I had previously mentioned SMART has helped me achieve the complete CV and vacancy applications. GANT on the other had was used a little before, but has be truly valuable in determining the work regime for my dissertation. I had used the link given in the workshop to prepare an assignment planner, always trying to ensure the deadlines are met. It also helps ease the stress and thought of a huge thesis with so many chapters. Dividing it chapter by chapter has been the key in ensuring I am on target. As of present I have been on target though slow, but having set the deadline for binding and printing 4 days prior to the hand in date I have established a broken down view of what I need to complete and when rather than looking at it as one whole thing, which is a very daunting aspect. For each stage I have ascertained certain targets, how it looks , reads, how many words etc. Thus allowing me to assess the completion and progression onto the next stage.

The biggest success I am proud of is the aspect of lifetime planning. One of main action points was a success. This in the sense that I was able to understand the importance and implications it has. I have succeeded in planning for CVs, vacancies etc , but only when I actually got it done did I realise how I was changing. It was then I realised the control I had on my life. And most of all it personifies my quote from the last post “WHAT WE DO TODAY, CAN IMPROVE ALL OUR TOMORROWS!!!” I truly felt I was no longer a student and am ready to step into the busy world of work. It also gave me the sense of value and confidence that anything is achievable it tackled well and in an organised manner.

tm2Overall from this workshop, I have gained the skills to manage my time more effectively and achieve my objectives more efficiently, e.g. using To-Do List, setting objectives and prioritise tasks. These have been absolutely useful and valuable in obtaining achievements this year, and hopefully brings new achievements in the days to come. Additionally, by determining action points, I have pushed myself to apply the time management techniques I learned into my day-to-day life in order to use those techniques more effectively and maximise the benefits from using those techniques. By carrying out those actions points, I use the To-Do List every day, I always prioritise my tasks whenever I feel I am short in time and I set out my three main objectives of this year which give me guidance on allocating time appropriately this year. I find these exercises gradually improve my time management and give me more free time for other tasks.

Every effective professional works from a daily list. It is the most powerful time management technique ever discovered to increase productivity and improve your organizational skills. Ineffective people, those who are overwhelmed with too many things to do and too little time, either do not use a list or do not refer to a list if they have one in the first place(THE PAST ME). They often resist the idea of writing everything down. As a result, they find themselves continually distracted by ringing phones, interruptions, unexpected emergencies, and e-mail requests.

During my baby steps in time management, when I created my daily list, I began by writing down every single task that I intended to complete over the course of the day. The rule I followed was that I will increase productivity by 25 percent the very first day that I start using a list. This means that I will get two extra hours of productive time in an eight hour day from the simple act of making a list of everything i have to do before I start work. I finally saw how I can bring order out of chaos faster with a list than with any other time management tool over the course of last 3 months. What I realised was that once I had written up my daily lists and begun work, new tasks and responsibilities will come up. Telephone calls will have to be returned. Emails will have to be dealt with etc. But I ensured in every case, write it down on the list before you do it!!!!!!!!!!!

Sometimes a task or demand on your time will seem urgent when it comes up. But something that might distract you from your other work regains its true importance when you write it down. An item that is written down on the list next to all your other tasks and responsibilities often doesn’t seem so important after all.tm3

During the weeks after my workshop, I have seen myself often using the To-Do list and the this techniques often prevent me from forgetting important tasks which I always did before. Also, I find myself having clear targets to achieve and knowing how to achieve them, and hence spending my time accordingly. Comparing to before, I did not use to have any objectives and just do whatever came up in my mind and get distracted easily by smalls tasks, I feel I have improve significantly. Finally, being able to prioritise tasks according to my objectives, I have find myself not missing the important deadlines or working non stop at the last minute which I often fail to do before. Although there are still room for improvement, I am impressed by my progress.

Another key aspect I have come to notice and implement in my time management strategy was “Increasing productivity with prime time”. Organize your life so that you are doing creative work during your internal ‘‘prime time.’’ The internal prime time is the time of day, according to your body clock, when you are the most alert and productive. For most people, this is in the morning. For some people, however, it is in the evening. I used to have a prime time of late nights, well technically looking at the clock now it backs my point J. But with respect to my thesis I have come to realise my time is better during the day and by evening I start to wander with other things. Being important that I am aware of my internal prime time, I schedule my most important projects accordingly to increase productivity. My most important work requires that me be at my very best, rested, alert, and creative. What time of the day do you most feel this way? For me the most important work being the THESIS and thus best use of the day from 9 to 4pm.

tm5Additionally I am also aware of external prime time. This is the time when your friends or in this case my supervisor are most readily available. Thus, those days I give some thought to structuring my day for both my external and internal prime times. Finally with my current thesis, I have implemented another feature to my time management portfolio, “LIMITING OF THE READING TIME”. It easy to get immersed into an article and just keep jumping from one to another, and then looking up at the clock it shows 2 hours have gone past. So I dictate how much time to read and so ensure I am writing consistently rather than leaving a mountain to write closer to the date. I also use the speedy reading techniques learnt to improve the time management.

So to finish I also ensure I reward Efficiency With Downtime. I realised that my daily to do list shouldn’t be a list of things I HOPE to get done (if the stars align just right). It should be a realistic list of things I WILL get done. And if I get them all done with time to spare, take time off. Reward myself for good work ethic.

Thus to sum up, a lot has been learnt and a lot of progress has been made. But as always consistency is the issue to work on and in the coming future, I will definitely keep applying the skills I learned from the workshop whilst seeking new methods which might further improve my time management, All together could enable me to achieve my long term objectives more efficiently.

In conclusion this workshop has been a game changer for me this year, proving me useful insight into techniques and issue as well as forcing me to look within and how I might be KILLING MY TIME or JUST NOW GETTING THE MOST OUT OF IT. This workshop has been a time of reflection, assessing what was going wrong in my life, why and how I can improve it. An integral part of it was getting myself organised and understanding the prospect of time as well as also finding the balance that currently I enjoy.tm4

Every day you have 24 hours but what you make of those 24 hours is what defines you!! Hence I can say this workshop has helped me organise myself and my time. I will ensure I practice and develop all the skills and techniques learnt and thus mould a bright future.

Thank you very much Beverley for your insightful workshop and guidance.

Time is the wisest counsellor of all.~ Pericles

Time is the school in which we learn, time is the fire in which we burn. ~ Delmore Schwartz

Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.~ Rodin

Time as he grows old teaches many lessons ~ Aeschylus


Kind Regards

Melvin


- One comment Not publicly viewable

  1. Beverley Maynard

    Hi Melvin

    I have really enjoyed reading your blogs, primarily because they have been reflective and thoughtful but also it demonstrates how much you have embraced the notion of managing and organising your time. In your final blog you clearly sum up how you have made changes in your life in order to control the time you have and you have stated the importance of to-do- lists , having SMART objectives and being aware of your prime time. These life-time changes that you have stated you want to continue with, will be beneficial in both in your professional and personal life so continue to practice your time management and organisational skills.

    All the best in the future,

    Regards

    Beverley

    13 Aug 2012, 13:24


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