The Secret of Time Management I Oxford Open Learning

The Secret of Time Management

There are numerous books and courses out there promising to teach you skills for good time management. However, even with all these resources available, many people still struggle with prioritising and productivity.

Currently there are record levels of employment in the UK. Despite this,though, there are fluctuating levels of productivity. It is a puzzle for the analysts. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reports that the UK has managed to increase productivity by just 2% in the last decade, a rate that in the past was normally achieved within a single year. Whilst we are aiming to cram more and more staff into our overflowing schedule, we are not necessarily becoming more productive. In this article, I have cherry-picked for you a simple yet very effective technique to help you achieve more in less time.

Time Management through the Day

At the end of your working or studying day, take a piece of paper and a pen. It is wise to avoid electronic devices when recording your plan. Research shows that people commit things to memory and digest information more effectively when using the traditional pen-and-paper approach. Divide your piece of paper into two sections: morning and afternoon. Then list one to three tasks which you would like to complete in the morning and the same amount of tasks for the afternoon. When you have created your list (which should take you no more than five minutes), you can forget about it until the next morning).

Most of us experience a boost of energy in the morning. Our thinking is clearer and more creative. It makes sense to use this window of emotional and physical energy to hit the ground running. Avoid the temptation of checking e-mails or social media before you have fully completed your morning projects. If you start your morning creating your to-do list, you tap into energy which could be better used for tackling your first tasks.

Your academic or professional success depends on the quality of decisions you make on a daily basis. If you start your day making small decisions (checking e-mails or reading the news), you might experience decision making fatigue, loss of motivation and decreasing focus. Instead of frittering your time away, jump into doing your planned activities. These methods of time management provide a sense of momentum and confidence by ticking things off your list!


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Henrietta Nagy is a seasoned portfolio worker with over 10 years’ experience in the UK education sector. Henrietta writes educational content, designs academic courses, delivers university lecturers, mentors entrepreneurs, and provides career development coaching. With 9 years of higher education studies internationally (including an MBA), she has worked with CEOs, academics, scholars, managers, women entrepreneurs, academic administrators, and other consultants.

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