Time management is defined as the act of exercising control over how much time is spent on specific activities, usually to increase productivity. Time management techniques rely upon several different activities including lists, specialist software, target setting and planning. It is both a study skill and a work skill, and is an activity that many people's lives would benefit from.
First: Basic techniques
The most basic time management technique is taking note of what should be done at specific times and having a reminder of this. This may be in the form of a calendar with tasks for specific days or reminders on a whiteboard. It may not be thought of as a time management technique, but for a lot of people this is works adequately.
Second: More advanced techniques
Prioritizing tasks is really where time management starts. This is where different tasks are allocated an order in which they should be done. For example if I had friends coming over later for dinner and I had to cook , clean the apartment and change my clothes, there would be a logical order or priority to those tasks. Most of us would clean the apartment, change our clothes and then cook dinner. These priorities could be assigned by using a numbered list, or using ABC analysis. ABC analysis involves three groups marked A, B and C. A are tasks which are urgent and important, B is for tasks which are important but not urgent and C are tasks which are neither urgent nor important. By assigning these groups, tasks can be carried out in the most efficient way and deadlines not missed.
Third: Advanced techniques
The more advanced techniques of time management include using smart phones to remind us about tasks at specific times and when we are in specific locations using GPS systems. One such service is Remember the Milk. For example I might have to take out the trash when I am at home, but it is pointless having it written on a list at work. Another techniques is using target setting; trying to carry out a task in a certain time or limiting how much time to spend on it can be a useful time management technique. SMART targets are those which are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound which are all points which need to be met for an effective target. This can help to manage your time by allocating a fixed amount of time on each task, and trying to do the same task quicker in the future.
I am not a time management expert, nor do I claim to be. I experiment a lot and do find the idea of being more effective and efficient to be an intriguing one. There are many problems with time management techniques, including concentrating on finding new techniques, rather than carrying out the tasks at hand. What kind of time management methods do you use? Write them in the comments.