Time management refers to the way that you organise and plan how long you spend on specific activities.

It may seem counter-intuitive to dedicate precious time to learning about time management, instead of using it to get on with your work, but the benefits are enormous:

  • Greater productivity and efficiency.
  • A better professional reputation.
  • Less stress.
  • Increased opportunities for advancement.
  • Greater opportunities to achieve important life and career goals.

Failing to manage your time effectively can have some very undesirable consequences:

  • Missed deadlines.
  • Inefficient work flow.
  • Poor work quality.
  • A poor professional reputation and a stalled career.
  • Higher stress levels.

Spending a little time learning about time-management techniques will have huge benefits now – and throughout your career.

We all do it: Texting while walking, sending emails during meetings, chatting on the phone while cooking dinner. In today’s society, doing just one thing at a time seems downright luxurious, even wasteful.

But chances are, you’re not doing yourself (or your boss or your friends and family) any favours by multitasking your way through the day. Research shows that it’s not nearly as efficient as we like to believe.

Task switching

What you call multitasking is really task-switching, “When it comes to attention and productivity, our brains have a finite amount. It’s like a pie chart, and whatever we’re working on is going to take up the majority of that pie. There’s not a lot left over for other things, with the exception of automatic behaviours like walking or chewing gum.’’ Moving back and forth between several tasks actually wastes productivity, because your attention is expended on the act of switching gears-plus, you never get fully “in the zone’’ for either activity.

Wastes time/slows you down

Contrary to popular belief, multi tasking doesn’t save time. In fact it will probably take you longer to finish two projects when you’re jumping back and forth than it would to finish each one separately. The same is true even for behaviours as seemingly automatic as driving: in a 2008 University study, drivers took longer to reach their destinations when they chatted on cell phones. What tends to save the most time is to do things in batches. Pay your bills all at once, and then send your emails all at once. Each task requires a specific mindset, and once you get in it you should stay there and finish.

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