Let’s Define Time Management
When we define time management to ourselves we may all have different ways of looking at it. But time management is essential in the world of business and our homes if we want to be successful. Being able to successfully manage your day and accomplish your goals without stress is the definition of time management.
Scheduling the time you have each day to accomplish the tasks you want is a skill that can be learned. As we look at some tips for better time management you’ll learn that it isn’t that hard to do. In fact, when we define time management we are defining ways to be more productive while we reduce our stress levels by being specific about how we spend our time.
The best way to define time management I have found is that it is a way to set out goals and priorities for the day so we can get more done with the time we have. When you are constantly jumping from one project to another you waste time and energy. By planning your day and managing your time wisely you can not only accomplish more of what you set out to do, you can also reduce your stress levels.
Now that we can define time management let’s look at some tips to help you learn to manage your time more efficiently.
Determine Your Goals And Priorities
In order to manage your time more efficiently you need to set your goals for the day and then prioritize them. Write down all the things you want to accomplish today. Then arrange them in the order of priority. Place them in order of “must do” to “would be nice” goals. Place the most important things you want to get done at the top of your list. Mark them off as you finish each one. You may even need to rearrange the order as new things come up. But a list will help you stay on track and get more accomplished in the limited time you have each day.
One way to visualize how much time you spend on activities would be to start a “time journal”. Write down your activities and the time spent on each thing. You could make headings such as work, study, watching TV, reading, housework, etc. The headings can be whatever you want, as long as you can see the time you spend on each activity daily, or weekly. You may find that you can spend more time studying, and less time watching TV for example. It can help you really examine how you are spending your time, and if you are doing it wisely.
Match Available Time With Priorities
When we define time management we also need to be able to match our available time to our priorities. When you made your list and numbered your priorities from above you hadn’t yet considered the time you have available. For instance, if you know you have several appointments today, that is time you can’t spend on your priorities. Unless those were listed as priorities. But what about the time between appointments? If you have 30 minutes free between appointments could you make some phone calls, or maybe accomplish another task on your list that wouldn’t take long? Instead of wasting that 30 minutes on your social media, could you spend it more efficiently? That is how we define time management.
10 Skills That Define Time Management
When we look at how to better manage our time there are certain skills that can be mastered to help you. When we set out to define time management above we looked at it being ways to accomplish more with the time you have available. Now let’s look at some skills you can learn to help you master management of your time.
- Don’t try to do too much– when you have too many things on your list you will undoubtedly rush around trying to get everything done. This leads to rushed and half done things that you will just have to come back and fix later. Slow down and give your top priority the time to do the task right. If that means lesser priorities don’t get completed today, so be it. Doing a task right and not doing a rushed half-effort job will save you valuable time in the long run.
- Always prioritize– a lack of priorities leads to running here and there without using your time in the best way. You will get less done and spend more time doing it when you are constantly shifting your attention without clear priorities. You spend more time on minor things than the ones that are really important.
- Manage interruptions– we all have interruptions during our day. Some are unforeseen, but many can be cut out, or at the least decreased. Set out some time to check and answer emails instead of checking every time you get an email notification. Stay away from checking social media all day. Instead, set out some time after your priority tasks are accomplished. Set your phone to silent when working on an important task, so you can focus and get it done.
- Don’t Procrastinate– many people have a habit of putting off things they don’t want to deal with. Some have a tendency to spend more time thinking about what they need to do than actually doing it. Spend more time doing, and less time putting it off, and you will have tamed the biggest time waster we all face. Less thinking about and planning, and more time doing, will actually save you time in the long run.
- Don’t Feel Bad About Saying “No”– many people have a hard time saying no. They want to please everyone so they allow others to dictate their time. But if you want to accomplish your goals and be successful you will have to learn that it’s alright to say no to something that doesn’t align with your goals for the day.
- Declutter– clutter can be a huge time waster. When you need something can you put your hands on it right away, or do you have to waste precious time searching for it? Could you save time by arranging things on your desk so that you can find what you need right away instead of looking through piles of papers? Simple things can save you enormous amounts of time.
- Set Deadlines– this one goes along with procrastination. When you set reasonable deadlines for yourself, and others as well, you give the task a sense of purpose. Hold to those deadlines, and evaluate why if you miss it. Having a deadline makes you be accountable to yourself, and others too.
- Avoid Multi-tasking– don’t start a bunch of large projects at once. If you are working on a large project break it down into more manageable chunks. That way you can work toward your goal while also realizing the attainment of milestones within the project. That way you can see the progress you are making toward your goal. Work on that priority exclusively with the time you have set aside, avoiding distractions.
- Use An Activity Planner– If you have a hard time keeping to your priorities, try using an activity or day planner. That way if you get off track you can look back at your planner and get back to your priority tasks. This can be useful especially when you are first starting to learn better time management skills.
I hope these tips help you with your time management goals. If you want to read further on tips for your success you can read my article on how to Set Boundaries For Success.