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Time Management: Breaking Down Tasks

From business leaders who run billion dollar organizations, to executives who operate an enormous number of projects, to housewives who are involved in a multitude of daily activities, to students who have lots of studious and recreational goals – for every one of the above, there is one factor that helps accomplish more and more. That factor is ‘managing time’!

Has it ever happened that you know you have to finish a task that loomed so large in front you that starting it seemed your worst nightmare?
Has it ever happened that while working on a task after hours, you step back, look at it and feel de-motivated by it being nowhere near completion?
Has it ever happened that you were seriously working on just the one thing the whole day and at the end of the day feels like nothing’s accomplished?

For learning to handle ourselves better those times when we encounter more of the above situations, today we shall look into the aspects of effectively accomplishing huge tasks in the time available.

Completing a huge task is like eating a watermelon. The most time consuming activity is before even beginning to eat it, i.e. to cut it into sizeable pieces. Similarly, to successfully complete a huge task, we need to be able to break it down to more manageable small sub-tasks and systematically plan to accomplish the same.

Given below are 8 steps that will help you to achieve the same:
1. Give yourself time to plan sub-tasks
Many presume that when a task at hand is huge, it has to be started immediately without wasting any time. This is however not true. Research shows that, giving yourself a little silent time to virtually run the task in your mind step by step helps in increasing the overall speed while performing the task.

2. Hierarchy of essential sub-tasks
Every task can be divided into a lot of sub-tasks, some big in themselves and some small. The bigger sub-tasks can further be divided into sub-sub-tasks! It is important to keep the number of sub-tasks at any level to at most 4.

3. Know how much close each sub-tasks takes you to the end goal
Simply knowing that completing the sub-task is essential for accomplishing the huge tasks is not enough. It is important to identify the importance each sub-task has in relation to the main task, so that you can feel the satisfaction of accomplishing something at each step.

4. Identify timelines for each sub-task
Deadlines are set by external factors, and timelines are set by the individual. Set your timelines a little longer than what you believe the sub-task would take, yet within the limits of your deadline. This helps in working methodically towards completion.

5. Understanding connections between sub-tasks
The sequencing of the sub-tasks is of utmost importance. Not doing this, causes one to jump back and forth their plan thus ultimately rendering the planning useless. Noting the connections between different sub-tasks helps not only in placing them in the order they ought to be done, but also in putting the most related sub-tasks together.

6. Delegate certain sub-tasks
Not every minute thing has to be done only by you! If there are any sub-tasks that someone else can do, then please delegate them! Let people help! It helps!

7. Use available titbits of time to finish the smaller sub-tasks
Sometimes, an unplanned time gap pops up in the day. Instead of just letting it go by, find a sub-task that can fit into it and get done with it. This will reduce the pressure later.

8. Focus all your energies in the active sub-task at that moment
How many times do you keep thinking about the list of next things to do while working on one thing? That stops now! Once you have planned out the task properly, focus all your energies only onto the sub –task that you working on at that moment, knowing that the rest of the sub-tasks and other tasks are in their own right time.

Breaking down a huge task into smaller, easily accomplishable sub-tasks not only makes it easier to complete them, but also helps in reducing anxiety and in staying motivated to continue working.

Once you are done with the list, just pick up the first one, and get started!
You have the power!

—————————————-
Revathi Turaga
http://www.revathionline.com

Published in ‘The Hans India’ on 18th July 2011

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July 22, 2011 - Posted by | RevathiOnline Learning, The Hans India Newspaper, Training and Learning | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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