Time management is perhaps the most essential skill you need to master to have complete control over your life. Everyone gets the same amount of time but what sets you apart from others is how you make this time work for you.
You may feel exhausted after a good day’s work and might feel the burden of responsibilities growing over you. Being trapped in the 9-5 grind, you wonder when you’ll manage to get your dream job, have time to take the vacation you always wanted, or just spend enough quality time with your loved ones.
All these thoughts can be too much to handle, and you might blame having limited time as a cause for these problems. But in reality, it can all be attributed to bad time management.
It is rightly said that time is the most expensive gift you can ever gift someone because time, once passed, does not come back. If you don’t keep a record of your time, you cannot fully utilize each second.
So let’s see how you can be a better manager of your time, learn its importance, and know the skills to make your life easier.
What is Meant by Time Management?
The term “time management” is already clear as crystal. It means having the power to utilize your time productively and efficiently. It can also be defined as having enough time in the day to do everything you want without having to compromise on anything.
While it may sound simple, balancing each and everything is quite difficult in reality. If you count the 6-8 hours of your daily sleep out of your daily routine, you are only left with 12-14 usable hours. If you subtract the hours needed for getting ready, having food, and commuting to work, you have less than 10 hours to do meaningful work.
Within this time, you must get your job done, spend time with your family, work on your side hustles, and whatnot. All this can be too frustrating to handle. But worry not, as learning the art of managing time will help you figure this out.
Benefits of Effective Time Management:
Before we get into the ways of improving your time skills, let’s see how effective time management benefits your personal and professional life.
1. Managing time makes you more efficient:
When you understand the importance of time management, you start working according to a plan and setting time limits for everything on your schedule. You become more efficient and don’t sit idle wasting your time.
When you know what to work on and how much energy to dedicate to a specific task, you will become less stressed and more intelligent about your time.
2. It makes you feel in control:
Organizing and carrying out tasks according to a time frame decreases the amount of unhealthy stress you feel. Rather than focusing on getting things done as fast as possible, compromising your rest and leisure time, you develop a system.
A system that helps you focus on one thing at a time and get things done gradually and according to the deadlines you set. In addition to making you feel, you become more productive as your mind works harmoniously.
3. Time management makes you more Confident:
Once you are able to manage time properly, you begin enjoying checking off things on your to-do list, which increases your belief in your abilities.
Apart from giving you confidence, it also motivates you to improve yourself further and helps in promoting a sense of well-being.
4. Helps You Become More Disciplined:
When you make judicious use of your time, you become a more disciplined person. Instead of multi-tasking and jumbling around inefficiently, you learn to give your due attention to your specified tasks.
By making to-do lists or task plans, you can better determine the importance and urgency of your activities and fit them into your routine.
5. Helps Become Better at Planning:
Once you apply time management skills, you develop new ways to become more productive and see how effective your plans are. Exercising these skills leads you to stick to your routine and carry things to completion.
6. Efficient Time Management Helps Achieve Targets Faster:
When you’re following deadlines set by yourself, the stress you get gives you healthy pressure. You finish more of what you started working on sooner.
When you’re meeting goals and project deadlines, you can figure out which techniques lead to faster and more accurate results. This helps you scrutinize your methods according to what works best for you.
7. You Get More Time to Enjoy Life:
The more time you save while doing stuff efficiently, the more time you can spend on what brings you joy and contentment.
Finishing pending work on time gives you plenty of time to spend with your friends, family, and relatives. When you have time to rest and have downtime, your brain works better in both professional and personal time.
Even research shows that effective time management helps lower stress and anxiety levels.
11 Easy Ways to Improve Your Time Management Skills
Efforts to improve your time management skills can increase productivity and decrease stress. These simple and easy tricks can help you manage your time better:
1. Plan and Scheduling:
The most important aspect of good time management is planning ahead of time. You can either create to-do lists or timetables to make you procrastinate less and do more. Even research shows that individuals with formal to-do lists are more diligent and efficient with their time than those with casual or abstract to-do lists.
Before you begin each day, estimate how much time you’ll spend working on each task on the day’s list. This way, you’ll outline each and every single minute of your day. From sleeping to working on important tasks first, your schedule will be comfortable enough to fit in everything to keep you balanced.
2. Prioritize your tasks:
Evaluate each project you need to work on and determine which tasks are the most vital, and consider those of prime importance for the day.
The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule but to schedule your Priorities.
To manage your time this way, you can use Eisenhower’s four-quadrant matrix to allocate your energy.
Urgent and Important tasks:
Put these tasks on the top of your to-do list, as completing them will free most of your precious time
Important but not urgent:
Though these may be important, they are not urgent enough to prioritize first. You can handle them after you complete your high-priority tasks.
Urgent but not important:
These tasks are urgent but not essential and can be easily delegated to other people to save time
Not urgent and Not Important:
These are the tasks you want to put at the end of your list, or better yet, don’t add them, as they don’t add value to your life in any way. They can be fun to do, but they mostly waste time.
3. Remove Distractions:
Diversions are one of the most significant productivity drainers. Social media sites, smartphones, and disruptive coworkers can derail your schedule and divert your attention away from your priorities.
If you find those inevitable distractions too tempting, consider locking your smartphone in a desk drawer, doing a social media detox, or using a plugin to block the web pages that are the most distracting to you.
4. Avoid Multitasking
Multitasking may appear to be the best way to get more stuff done, but it reduces your efficiency. Instead of finishing multiple projects, you end up with shiny object syndrome and get nothing done at the end of the day.
The key to managing your time and maintaining focus is to be deliberate on your specific goals. Give each task its due time, and once you’re done with that, you can move ahead to the next one.
5. Tracking Your Time:
Tracking your time is the whole essence of this process. When you track your time, you become aware of where your minutes are going.
So whenever you start something, note down the starting and finishing time. The more you practice this skill, the more you can know how to manage your time.
6. Learn to Say No
Learning to say no is a very tough quality to develop, and you might appear selfish to others when you prioritize your time.
However, when you become comfortable with saying no to unnecessary things, you save yourself from numerous time wasters. Instead of going with the flow and causally accepting invitations to movie nights or dining parties, you’ll be able to devote time to tasks that truly matter.
7. Getting Over Procrastination:
The saying “procrastination is the thief of time” is extremely accurate. There are many reasons why you might be delaying your work. The main ones include
It can be tough to overcome procrastination, especially when you are a chronic procrastinator who takes an hour or two just to get in the zone to work on something. To get over this problem, you just need to eat the frog, no matter how uncomfortable it may feel.
Once you use the foot-in-the-door approach, you are eventually set on the path to complete your tasks promptly.
8. Setting SMARTER Goals:
Goal-setting is another smart way to learn time management. Once you have outlined your goals, you know what you exactly want to do. Fixed objectives help you save time that you had otherwise wasted on other useless distractions.
This might feel similar to making to-do lists or timetables, but the main difference is the time span. Goals are long-term targets you want to achieve. So, each day is fashioned around aspects that make you one step closer to your target, putting your time to the right use.
9. Getting Up Early
Getting up early puts you ahead of 99.9% of the people who just get barely get to work on time. You don’t have to change your routine for efficient time management radically.
Just waking up an hour before your usual time would benefit you immensely. You can use this extra time to plan and orient your day, get a short dose of exercise or prepare a healthy breakfast for yourself. This will enhance your productivity manifolds.
10. Allocating Time for Self-care
You can’t be an effective time manager if you don’t put some “me-time” in your schedule. Following your timetable and crossing off tasks on your to-do list might seem enjoyable at first. But in the long run, it becomes bland, and you feel like giving up the whole process.
So, to prevent this from ever happening, allocate some time for activities that make you feel refreshed and meaningful at the end of the day. You are eligible for humble rewards each day for utilizing your time effectively.
Once you get done with a task, treat yourself lightly. Go on a short walk after you’re done working for many hours on your assignment, or pick up your trowel and enjoy tending to your garden. These little things push you forward and motivate you to do the best of your abilities.
11. Learning Patience
Learning to be patient is just as important as overcoming procrastination. While you may get over your habit of procrastinating, you might feel like giving up when you don’t see radical results.
Eating the frog and doing what’s right might not appear to be working, as most of us are inclined to instant gratification. This is where being patient and consistent comes in handy. When you are more tolerant and accepting of your routine, it becomes a habit.
This commitment and dedication ultimately lead you to success and don’t let you waste time waiting for things to happen. Instead, you focus on your goals and become less distracted by time wasters.
Final Thoughts on Improving Time Management Skills
Always remember that importance of time management lies in what worth we have for time and what value we place on our time. Time is even more costly than money itself, and if we know how to use the time to the T, we can make the most of our life.
Doing nothing with your time is an expensive choice. If you start tracking your time and use these important time management skills, you can achieve anything with the discipline you learn.
So how would you manage your time? Let me know how you find these strategies, and share some tactics already working for you down in the comments!