Budgeting Your Precious Time
In order to plan our days and to manage our time, we have to be capable of budgeting that time with a relatively high degree of accuracy. If we schedule multiple tasks in a given day and underestimate how long it will take to complete them, we will be forced to shove excess over to the next day. Invariably, it seems, this leads to more reshuffling and a quick move from organization to chaos.
In order to budget our time correctly, we need to be able to make an educated (and reasonably accurate) guess as to how long various projects will take. There is no simple way of knowing this. However, there are a few things we can do in an effort to make accurate predictions. Let us look at three things we can do to budget our time more accurately.
One of the most common mistakes new time managers make is underestimating the length of time any given project. When the project runs over time, a problem results. Schedules must be adjusted, and deadlines could be missed. One can protect themselves from this fate by intentionally overestimating the amount of time a project will take. The daily task list may be checked off early, allowing one to get a head start on the next day.
We would all love to be free spirits with no need for a watch or clock. Unfortunately, the rest of the world appears dedicated to working by the clock. We really should, too. If for no other reason, then to get some first hand information about how long individual tasks are taking us. You certainly do not want each and every click of a second hand to lord over you, but keeping a close eye on the time goes part and parcel with time management.
Observing time and paying close attention to it in a general sense is valuable. Even more valuable, however, is actually logging the time we spend on certain tasks. While we work each day, it is a good idea to track the amount of time we spend on any given project. This is important because we will eventually encounter a task similar to one completed at some previous time. By logging our time, we can consult that history to better predict how long the task will take this time. If one consistently logs projects and time expenditures, they also become more aware of time, in general.
Are you ready to budget your time accurately? If you maintain a project log, overestimate the time required to complete a project and to pay some level of attention to the clock, you are definitely making progress toward that end. Projecting time requirements for tasks can be one of the trickier aspects of time management, but techniques like these will make the process easier.