Time management is an integral component of success in life yet it is still one of the most difficult things to manage in today’s world. The difficulty in time management can be attributed to the distractions around us. Before we go further in explaining what time management is all about, does this statement sound familiar to you- “there’s no enough time”, or “time is too short”. I’m guessing you’ve made use of either of the two statements.
Everyone today complains how there isn’t enough time to do what they love, but the truth is that there’s time for everything if properly managed. Another truth is that we cannot actually manage time rather we can only manage ourselves and everything around us. By managing ourselves, we get to also utilize time for our benefit and accomplish what we desire.
In this article, we shall explore what is the meaning of time management, why its important, the things that steal our time, and the process of time management.
What is Time Management?
Time management is simply the process of organizing, planning, and dividing your time between specific tasks based on their level of importance.
Why is Time Management Important?
Time management is important because:
- It helps us increase our productivity.
- Reduces stress.
- Enable us to work smarter and quicker.
- You focus more on results rather than activities.
- Help you to be more focused.
- Creates opportunities for other things.
- It helps you to be in control.
- Eliminates ambiguity and confusion.
Common Excuses/ Time Thieves and Solutions
Currently, technology accounts for the number one thing that steals our time. Social media tops the chart in the technology domain. There are countless social media platforms out there that people engage themselves in, these social media platforms tend to take a lot of our valuable time, time that should be used for the important stuff. Social media is not the only thing that wastes our time, there are many others and the table below represents some of the time thieves and excuses.
Process of Effective Time Management
When it comes to time management, there are three basic steps to ensure you properly manage your time. First you have to set your priorities right then allocate time for the things that matter most, and finally, motivate yourself to achieve your goal.
1. Set Goals
Not having a goal is attributed to why many people fail in managing their time in business and personal lives. Goal setting is considered as the first step in time management because its where you get to prioritize, gain clarity, and also delegate.
Goal setting allows you to prioritize and schedule your task in such a way that it becomes easy to achieve. It helps you become clear about things that are important to you either in business or in your personal life. Goal setting gives you the necessary motivation to work towards your desired future or outcome in life.
The most commonly used goal setting technique is called the SMART technique which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
All goals must be specific. You have to list out things you want to achieve and how you aim to achieve them.
It must be measurable, there should be a standard.
Although goals need to be stretching, they also need to be realistic. Unrealistic goals can lead to frustration. So, be realistic with yourself when setting up your goals. Wishful thinking can only lead you to frustration.
You have to ask yourself how relevant is your goal to you, what are the advantages of carrying out the goal you set.
All goals should have a due date. There should be a time frame allocated for each goal or task.
2. Allocate Time
After setting a goal for yourself, the next thing is to schedule your time properly and allocate time for important stuff first. This can be done properly through the use of a planner.
A planner will help you to list out all the things you need to do or accomplish, and also help you to properly allocate time to them individually based on their importance.
3. Motivate Yourself
It can be easy to set goals and do all the planning, the most challenging part is following through with the goals we set. A lot of times people make new year resolution and abandon them after a few months. This is because of a lack of motivation, and it can also be attributed to a lack of proper goal setting.
The following are ways you could motivate yourself:
- A great way to ensure you meet your target on time is to reward yourself whenever you achieve an important milestone.
- Always remind yourself of why you started, list out the benefits of completing the task and always review it. This process will give you the necessary vibes to keep up with your goals or task.
Time Management Tools
There are many time management tools out there you can use in managing your time, and it all depends on preference. Here are a few generic time management tools to help you get started on managing your time.
- Computer Softwares.
Keys to Effective Time Management
· Have a schedule:
Having a schedule is important in time management, it helps you to prioritize tasks and activities you intend to carry out. When you arrange your task in bits and allocate time to each task, the chances of completing the task becomes high. Scheduling is also a great way of limiting distractions.
A good way to schedule is to have a planner. A planner helps you to set goals and embed them into your calendar.
· Utilize the early Hours of your day
It is scientifically proven that we are always at our best in the early hours of the day. It is also advised that you do the most important things within the early hours because the mind and body are still vibrant and fresh.
· Avoid Multitasking
Recent psychological studies show that multi-tasking is one of the ways people waste their time. You lose a lot of time when switching between tasks. It is also one of the reasons most people find it difficult to concentrate on a particular task for a long time.
· Don’t Spend Too Much Time on Things You Hate
A good way to waste your time is to delegate a lot to things you hate. It leads to resentment and grumbling which directly affect your productivity.
Once you notice you no longer enjoy what you’re doing, it simply means its time for you to take a break or move on to something else.
· Take Breaks
Working for a long time on a stretch can drain you of energy which can also lead future tasks to suffer. The best way to avoid breaking down or fatigued is to take breaks while working. It would help you to refresh and reduce stress from overstraining yourself.
· Learn to Say No
Saying no sounds easy, but it is the most difficult thing to do for most of us. This is because we usually don’t want to feel bad or be perceived as being bad. Saying no to things that distract you, or do not add value to your life or task is important because it gives you control of your life. Saying no to things that don’t matter is a clear sign that you know what you want.
· Take Responsibility
We humans find it easy to blame others for situations that happen in our lives because it is the easiest thing to do. We often blame others for wasting our time, we hear a statement like “everybody is always asking me to do more stuff even when I have a lot to do!” or “If not for X, I could have done this or that”. There are so many instances in which we blame others for our poor time management. The truth is that as long as you blame others for wasting your time, you’ll have little control of your life.
When you take responsibility for your time, you’ll safely guard it, you’ll be able to say no to unnecessary things and you’ll live life on your own terms because you become more focused and disciplined.
· Learn to delegate/ Ask for Help
Delegating gives you more time to handle other things, especially the important things on your schedule. When you schedule your task and you discover that there are things that are too difficult and can eat up all your time, simply outsource or delegate that particular task to someone more capable to handle it. This way you get more time to handle other things or tasks.
· Simplify Your Life
“Simplicity is the sophistication of life” – Albert Einstein.
Keeping things simple around you is a great way to save time. Most experts will agree that living a simple life can help you save a lot of time, it helps you to be more organized, and focused. Having too many things around you, or having too much stuff can drain you of energy especially when you are sorting things out. A lot of us waste valuable time every day searching for items that we lose in the shuffle of our lives.
A simple way to keep things simple is to de-cluster, always take out things you don’t need in your life. this way you create room for more important things.
· Use Time Blocks
Time blocking is a great time management technique that allows you to block out time for a particular activity or task. This is mostly used when something important has to be completed within a specified period.
· Do Hard Things First
It is always advisable to do the hard things first especially in the early hours of the day. This is because the early hours are when you are more energized, relaxed, and composed. So, as the day progresses, you tend to lose energy, and the concentration level becomes low.
· Carry out the easy stuff first
Depending on the individual, doing hard things first is a great way to maximize time. For some people, it is advisable to start with the little things, this way they get to build their work muscles to do the hard stuff.
· Divide Task into Smaller Segment
This is a great time management technique especially when you have a lot of things to do. By breaking down your task into a segment, you can identify areas that require more attention and also things you can do easily.
· Monitor How you Spend Your Time
Time tracking is another effective time management technique, it allows you to evaluate how you spend your time, and what task demand more time, and can also help you properly delegate your task.
You become more aware of the time-wasters when you properly monitor and track how you spend your time.
Time management is one of the most guaranteed ways to success in life and in business. Although we all complain about not having enough time, proper management of the time we have can guarantee we achieve a lot in whatever we put our minds to.
Goal setting is the foundation of time management because it sets a clear path for us to follow thereby limiting every ambiguity.
There are many time management tools available today, thanks to technology. Before choosing any particular tool to use, ensure to consider the benefits as well as the drawbacks.