A personal time management lesson (article)


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A personal time management lesson is shared in this free article by Derek Stockley.

The strength of a deadline

Time is fixed. You cannot speed it up or slow it down. A deadline is a deadline. You either meet it, finish before it or you miss it.

This newsletter was not sent last week. I missed its deadline. I had a variety of more important tasks to complete in a fixed time period. I had finished many, but the newsletter dispatch date was missed. By the weekend, I decided it was too late.

My excuse is simply that I ran out of time, but I believe I managed my time wisely.

I had to finish all my work by Thursday noon. I had a lot to do. It was an impossible timeline, but it was fixed.

I prioritised my tasks. I had some urgent work for clients. Although obviously important, the newsletter was further down the priority list. I approached the tasks in a logical way. At 12.15 pm, the 'must do' items had been completed. That was it. There was no more time. I had to leave.

Fixed deadlines

You are either on time or late for a meeting. You are either on time or late for a social engagement with a friend.

Fixed deadlines are a fact of life. Good time management demands prioritising:

What must I do?

What should I do?

What could I do?

Fixed timelines are also a nuisance. You may estimate that a certain task will take an hour, which is how much time you have before you have to go to an important meeting. The task remains unfinished if it actually takes an hour and a quarter to complete.

Summary

Fixed deadlines are a fact of life. To achieve them, you have to plan and prioritise. You have to do the most important things first. You have to allow sufficient time to complete each task. In the end, because time is fixed, you may not be able to achieve everything you want. You have to make choices. Good time management is about making the right choices.

Personal reflection

Has this happened to you?

Could it have been avoided?

Do you prioritise?

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