Time management! Oftentimes we have heard so many complaints from people about time not being adequate for their activities. For some people, 24 hours is never enough for a day. We can’t add to it or subtract from it as much as we would want to. There is just nothing that can be done to alter the 24 hours we have in a given day
It is true that we all have the same hours in a day, but why are some individuals more productive and utilize maximally the time they have, while some others barely go through?
It all has to do with how effectively they have mastered the acts of time management.
What Is Time Management And Why Is It Important?
It is a set of skills and techniques that help you manage your time in order to achieve your goals and be successful.
Time management is the act of deliberately planning, disciplining oneself, and exercising conscious control of time spent on specific activities in order to increase effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity.
It can also be seen as the process of planning and deciding how to divide your time between specific activities. Good time management enables you to work smarter, not harder and by so doing, you are able to achieve more with less time or even while under some time constraints.
Effective time management will help you choose how to spend 24 hours in a day to obtain maximum productivity and accomplish your goals. It is about how to allocate time to complete the tasks and activities that you need to do and assigning the 24 hours you have every day to the right tasks.
Good time management skills will enable you to balance the various tasks, interests, work, business, hobbies, families, and other activities that demand your attention with the limited time available so as to increase productivity and efficiency.
With the right time-management skills, life becomes easier and more productive as you have ample time for rest, family, friends, and hobbies.
This is just the secret of successful people. Effective time management! The best time managers are both effective and efficient…if you pay close attention, you would notice this among successful people,
Why The Need To Have Time Management Skills
Suppose you can effectively create a list of things to do in a day and allot the time needed to complete those tasks, and discipline yourself to strictly follow the list. In that case, you will discover that you will be able to deliver more successfully and have great returns and output.
How you spend your day is completely up to you, whether you’re working on a project or a business proposal or you’re watching television all day, you’re responsible for designating your time wisely
You might ask, what is the reason for time management skills? Time management skills help you avoid stress, anxiety, tension, and depression, and help you get enough sleep, in the long run, would greatly affect positively your overall output, the quality of your decisions, and also almost every aspect of your life, from your career to your relationships, friendships and social life.
Importance Of Time Management
Time management is an important skill because it helps you be more productive, efficient, and successful in your endeavours. It can also help you avoid stress, which can lead to mental health issues.
The benefits of time management are so many, but the most important one is that it helps you achieve your goals quicker with less stress. Below is a summary of the benefits of time management.
- Effective time management increases your output and productivity. If you plan your time wisely, you won’t be rushing through deadlines and you would be able to produce more with the finite time available.
- It reduces stress, anxiety, pressure, and tension. A looming deadline and an uncompleted task results in stress and undue anxiety for the individual. But once you are able to avoid this, you are more relaxed.
- It helps you to stay disciplined: As we have seen, effective time management takes a lot of discipline. And having this discipline benefits you in all aspects of life.
- It improves your relationship with others: when you are able to manage your time effectively and are not rushing from one task to another or from one deadline to another, you are left with some time in your hands to spend with friends, family and loved ones.
Some Time Management Mistakes
Not Planning Out Your Day.
You may be thinking, ‘why should I waste time planning how to spend my time? I should just skip that part and dive into the day’s activities.’
Well, It’s important to plan out your day for maximum efficiency and productivity. You don’t have to know or streamline the tasks for a day down to the very minute and second, but you should try as much as possible to set daily goals including tasks you’d like to complete, then arrange them in order of importance and priority.
Procrastination as they say is a thief of time. It is a universal fact that most of us procrastinate on most of our tasks.
While it may seem pleasant and relaxing at first when we put off a potentially unpleasant task, procrastination has devastating effects in the long run. People procrastinate for many reasons which could be:
Waiting for the right time: Some persons might put off for a later time some tasks they ought to do simply because they are not in the mood or right frame of mind, or are not duly motivated. And so these activities are stacked for that right time when they would be in the mood to attend to them.
Fear: Procrastination can actually be comforting when the fear of failure is present. When someone feels what he is to do would not be applauded or might not reach the standard required, he resorts to putting off that activity for a later time trying to buy some more time.
Unhealthy Lifestyles: People with unhealthy lifestyles tend to have lower energy levels. They are often tired and don’t have the strength to do much of anything, which leads to procrastination.
Lack of enough sleep, rest, and unhealthy diets tend to affect an individual and thereby leave him sluggish, tired and lazy. Lifestyle factors can play a large role in how motivated you are to get up and do something.
This is why starting up your day with exercise is a healthy habit. It helps to set the mood for the day and starts you off with a boost of energy that will keep you motivated, fueled for the day’s task, and strengthened to keep working hard.
Lack of Vision: If you don’t know which direction you are going or the purpose of what you’re doing, or a clear understanding of what you are into, you may feel like you’re turning around in cycles.
Not having a clear vision of the bigger picture is one of the most common causes of procrastination.
Without a vision to guide you toward productivity, you will end up focusing on little things going on in the present moment that do not really matter rather than what you need to be doing now to reach the desired goal. Having a solid vision will encourage you to take action.
The Six (6) Effective Ways To Improve Your Time Management Skills
1. Plan Your Day Ahead Of Time
To effectively manage your time, you ought to plan your day in advance. Planning is the first, the best, and most proven of all the time management techniques.
Plan your day before you start your day. Use up to 30 minutes in the morning to plan your day, arrange the tasks needed to be accomplished that day and specify your goals. Set goals correctly. Set goals that are achievable and measurable. Set a time limit to complete a task and discipline yourself to abide by it.
You can plan your day by creating a list of activities, tasks or goals for that day.
When you are making your schedule or your list for the day, give yourself some extra time or allowance between when you plan to complete your task and when it is actually due. This way, if any challenges, distractions, or setbacks come up during the process of your project, you will still be able to complete it within time.
To-do lists are a great way to stay on track and get things done. They work well for both short-term and long-term tasks and can be customized to fit your needs.
A good to-do list is more than just a list of tasks – it’s an organized plan for your day that helps you keep your priorities in order and make sure you get the most important things done first.
Some people find it helpful to use a physical notepad or old-school pencil and paper, but there are also many great apps out there that offer a variety of features that make to-do lists easier than ever.
2. Set Clear Goals For Yourself And Prioritize Tasks
It is important to set clear goals for yourself. This will help you stay on track and stay motivated. One way of doing this is by writing down the goal. But some people find that difficult.
That’s why there are many different techniques available online or in apps that can help you make a goal list, such as setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) goals or using a mood tracker app like Happyer.
More so, prioritize wisely. Prioritize tasks based on importance and urgency. An important skill of effective time management is being able to identify the most important and pressing tasks and spend a quality and sufficient amount of time each day on them.
Before assigning most of your productive time to a task, stop and check if it is urgent and/or important.
Learn how to arrange and rank your tasks every day in order of priority. To do this, ask yourself what consequences could occur if you don’t get something done or fail to deliver on a task? That question would point you in the right direction to steer.
Avoiding consequences is often a good motivator and will create a sense of urgency in you. Once you know what is low on your list of priorities, make sure that you don’t let that task occupy you or take up most of your quality and productive time during the day.
Another way of prioritizing compulsory tasks is to put the most unpleasant and difficult ones first. When it’s done, the rest of the list feels easier.
3. Do It NOW!
As we have seen above, procrastination is the number one thief of time. Check yourself and note those instances when you delay or postpone your own tasks on purpose.
Are you waiting to be “in the mood” to finish a project or task? Do you spend your time discussing lazily or browsing the internet? Do you abandon what’s on your to-do list? Acknowledging this fact and identifying the reason why you are procrastinating is one step to help you overcome this negative habit.
You must know and realize that you can’t wait for perfect conditions or the right moments to do your work or to launch a great project.
Also, address matters as soon as they pop up instead of postponing dealing with them at a later date. If you take care of little problems as they come your way in the course of completing a major task, it will prevent them all from piling up and possibly creating one large problem.
It has been proven that once you start doing something, you’re more likely to finish it at that time, so don’t push off problems you might encounter in the course of doing that task to deal with later. If something comes up that you need to take care of, do it right away.
You have to plunge in NOW and begin the project NOW. As has been seen, taking immediate action and starting a task even though you are not in the mood usually begins a positive cycle that motivates even more action.
Alternatively, if you are doing nothing, you will probably continue doing nothing until something dramatic happens to create a change.
So quit procrastinating, take the bull by the horn and begin that task or that project NOW. Below are helpful resources to help you overcome procrastination:
4. Stay Focused
Despite our best intentions, we all get distracted. There are so many things that can distract us from our goals, they include social notifications, talkative colleagues, friends and family, procrastination, television, etc.
Research has shown that the use of mobile smartphones distracts us the most and makes us lose focus on essential activities or goals for the day.
According to research, 60% of college students in the U.S.A believe that they have a cell phone addiction. Do you know that 71% of people sleep with their cell phones nearby? Also, about 35% of people wake up thinking about their phones
It may not really be easy to break phone addiction. It is, however, possible to do so. Follow the link below to learn how?
We all need a high level of discipline to sit down and stay focused on a task to get it done. It always takes time to refocus on a task after an interruption. So you need to effectively manage your distractions in order to protect your flow and focus.
When you’re working on an important project or task, one way to avoid distractions and avoid wasting time is by putting away your phone and disabling notifications on your computer until you’re finished with what you need to do. Avoid checking emails and answering the phone when you’re in the middle of something important.
It’s important to know what distracts you and to figure out how to limit or keep these things from derailing you. Get rid of all sources of distractions as much as possible. If you have a personal issue that is keeping your attention on something other than your task, try to take care of it as soon as possible so you can move on with your task.
5. Stop Multitasking And Take Breaks When Need Be
All works and no play, they say, make Jack a dull boy. It is good to take breaks between tasks. This would give you a clear and fresh mind for the next task and increase your productivity.
During this break, you may choose to re-clarify your goals, regroup yourself, and note the tasks left to do. Think about the things that you actually want to achieve and why you are working on your current project. Consider the steps you need to take to get to your goal and ask yourself if your current work is still aligning correctly.
In order to maximize productivity, you should stop multitasking and take breaks or short naps between tasks.
Many people multitask because they think that it will save them time by doing more than one task at a time. However, research has shown that this is actually not true and can actually inhibit your ability to focus on tasks.
Research has also shown that when people multitask, they are less productive because their attention span is split between multiple tasks, which leads to more mistakes being made and a lower quality of work being produced.
It is important for people who want to be productive in their endeavours or even at the workplace to take breaks or short naps between tasks.
6. Know When To Say No
It is important to know when it is appropriate to say no. We should not feel guilty for saying no to something that we are not interested in. Saying no is about prioritizing and understanding that we can’t do everything.
When we say no to certain tasks, it will save us huge time which can as well be channelled into other productive endeavours.
The phrase “No” can be tricky because it can come off as rude or unprofessional. However, if you need to say no, you should do so without offending anyone. There are many ways to say no without offending someone, but there are two common phrases that are used: “I’m sorry I cannot make this commitment” and “I’m sorry but I need to pass on this opportunity.”
Effective Ways To Better Time Management: Conclusion
Time management isn’t really about managing time alone—it’s about managing and disciplining yourself. We all have the same 24 hours each day, but how well we make use of it is completely on us.
People who cannot manage their time properly produce low-quality work and are often more stressed, as they’re constantly under pressure. Time management doesn’t take a huge amount of effort, but it does require a level of discipline.
The best time management techniques improve the ways you work, protect you against distraction, improve your overall health and quality time you spend with loved ones, and lock your concentration.
These helpful resources found online can help you in your quest for effective time management skills. You may consider checking them out: