Time Management Techniques for Social Media and Online Platforms


Time is our greatest asset - the one thing we can never get back and yet we have to spend it wisely. Being productive and managing your time well are critical skills for success in every area of life, from work to relationships and personal wellbeing.

But how do you go about making sure you're using your time in the best way possible? How do you tell the difference between being productive and just busy? This blog post will answer these questions by looking at four aspects of personal effectiveness: (1) what it means to be effective; (2) what your priorities are; (3) where you're spending your time; and (4) how to manage physical clutter.

What does personal effectiveness mean?

In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People , Stephen Covey wrote "be proactive" rather than "reactive". He recommended that we should think first before we act. By considering the consequences of our actions, we can then act in a way that effectively produces the results we want. Put simply, being effective means having the right priorities and making sure you're spending your time on what's most important to you. If you don't have clear priorities, the chances are you're not being as effective as you could be.

What are your priorities?

We all have a pile of things we'd like to be doing. Some people can work on multiple projects and finish one later in the day so that they feel as though they've accomplished a lot while others have only one priority and leave it until the last minute. While doing many things at once helps to bring multiple accomplishments into view, over-completion can cause stress (and other bad effects). At the end of the day, what really counts is being effective at what is most important to you . If you haven't properly prioritized your tasks or if you're feeling stressed by too much going on, get back to basics and spend time on areas where you can be most productive.

Who do you spend your time with?

I run into this problem all the time. As I've become busier, I have found it harder to find the time to see my friends and family. After finishing an hour-long consulting project, I end up feeling overwhelmed and on-call for a couple of hours, which means that I can't schedule a meeting with my friends or family for that evening. It's not that the work isn't important - it's just more important than my friends and family - so scheduling them in a way that fits both needs and gives me enough time to do it well leaves me feeling guilty (and sometimes resentful).

In the end, it's a trade-off. I could choose to spend more time with my friends and family and feel stressed by the pressure of getting everything done, or I could choose to spend less time with them but feel guilty about it later on. Getting perspective on your priorities might help you take a step back and find a way to be effective at what's most important.

Where do you spend your time?

I have been spending an inordinate amount of time answering e-mails from my consulting clients. I work with them on a daily basis, and I find myself getting annoyed when they're not responding to my e-mails promptly. It has gotten to the point where I've been creating a schedule just for e-mail responses. While this helps me be effective at my consulting work, it means that I'm spending more time during the day answering e-mails than I would like.

I am spending too much time working on projects that are not productive. And while they aren't necessarily bad projects (at least not in the long term), they are drag out and may take longer than necessary. I've been trying to come up with better ways to efficiently manage my time on projects and find a way to be more effective.

How do you manage physical clutter?

This is something I struggle with, which is why this blog post was so fitting. As a visual person, I like to have things neat and tidy (my mind works better that way), but it's also hard for me to keep clutter off of my desk. Things pile up and I get discouraged that I won't have enough space for everything until it gets so bad that reading all of the e-mails can be a challenge. At that point, I usually spend an extra hour or two clearing my desk of everything so that I can start fresh.

When organizing paper on my desk, I use a simple formula: (1) process it immediately if it's relevant to current work; (2) file it away if it's not; and (3) throw it out. While the first two items are pretty straight forward, the third item can be hard for some people. Tasks like processing your e-mails or updating your to do list - things that are short term in nature - should be dealt with right away. Things like cleaning your physical workspace are short term but require a lot of time and energy to complete. Folders for those tasks are a good way to keep them grouped and organized.

If you consider how your time is currently being spent, can you identify which task groups are working in conjunction with each other and which are taking up unnecessary space? Identify the areas where you feel stressed or depleted and try to work on them before they become bigger problems.

Visualizing: What Your Days Look Like

So, what does your day look like? If you're like most people, it's not really clear (at least not at the beginning of the day). Think about it - when we set our alarms today, they sound off at this time because that's what our bodies recognize as normal. It's much easier to respond to an expected routine than a completely novel situation.

So, how do we create a routine that we can stick with? This is one of the biggest challenges people face when trying to be more effective at what they're doing. When we set our schedules, we need them to be flexible enough so that they are easily modified as circumstances change (like a client suddenly needs more time). The problem is that it's much easier to get pulled away from our routines than it is to adapt them. So, you end up with two competing priorities: the first priority (your regular work) and second priority (your existing routine).


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