OKINAWA, Japan - What is time? Time is the ticking of a clock, the whine of an alarm, the calendar on the wall. However you may view it, the challenge for most Marines is managing it.
Although managing time is one of the most important factors in a service member’s life, it seems to be a skill that many learned through hardship and necessity. Time management provides the opportunity for service members to balance a variety of challenges, tasks and goals they may want to accomplish.
Time management is a skill that takes time to develop and perfect and is different for everyone. Your best bet is to try different approaches until something clicks and synchs with your routine.
Tips that can increase the effectiveness and efficiency in time management are tools like developing lists, making use of down time, concentrating on one task at a time, rewarding yourself, avoiding procrastination, setting personal deadlines, delegating responsibilities, working in teams, setting up long term plans and avoiding burn out.
A simple “to do” list can be a huge help for most people. If you do not carry a planner or notebook already, start. Carrying a “green monster” (green notebook) is common for Marines. Write down as much as you can, and review your notes to stay reminded of the tasks ahead.
Another useful tip is using down times to organize and plan. Think about what your goals are for that day or the next. Which goals are most important? Once you prioritize you can work towards each goal. This time can also be useful when delegating responsibilities to ensure your fellow Marines are not taking on more than they can handle.
The human mind works more efficiently when it is focused. Multitasking is often required in the military lifestyle, but it may be a disadvantage for productivity. Focus on one thing and get it done correctly before moving on to the next task. Remember, slow is steady and steady is fast.
The ultimate productivity-killer is procrastination. You should never leave something for tomorrow when it can be done now.
Deadlines cause stress, aggravation and worry. A way to alleviate some of that stress is to set your own accurate and attainable deadlines. Keep in mind service members expect more from themselves, so be demanding but realistic.
Regardless of what military branch or civilian position you are in, teamwork is essential and inevitable. Good communications, making sure the goals are clear and ensuring everyone knows their responsibilities is a great way to improve productivity.
Whenever possible, avoid burning out. This may occur when your body and mind can no longer effectively complete the tasks you demand of them. Do not try to force yourself to do the impossible. Proper time management will, in most cases, allow for the adequate diet and rest needed to perform in high stress environments.
Lastly, be sure to leave time for relaxation and reflection. Review your recent accomplishments and make sure you recognize the accomplishments of those around you. Reflection and praise are some of the best ways to gain confidence which can lead to increased productivity; the ultimate goal of proper time management.
This work, Effective time management increases productivity, by Cpl Jose Lujano, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.