June 01 2020

6 Tips to Strengthen Your Time Management

“Tomorrow, noun; a mystical land where 99% of all human’s productivity, motivation, and achievement is stored.”

Time is the most precious thing in life. When it comes to achieving your goals, how you use your time is everything. Time management is how you organize, plan, and exercise conscious control of the time you spend on specific tasks. Though it is mainly used in regards to work, it also applies to every part of life. Managing your time helps to increase effectiveness, efficiency and productivity, and helps to reduce stress over the long haul; easing your pathway to success.

Many things worth doing require some effort and discipline. Time management is no different. To get to the office on time, we plan ahead. What time to wake up, how long to shower, the amount of traffic on the way, and so on. If you know your goal is to be in the office at 8am, getting into an hour long shower at 7am isn’t going to achieve it. Perhaps you have many things on your to-do on your mind that you pay no attention to the time in the shower because you are trying to organize your day. Maybe you have a meeting you dread, so you “accidentally” find you have used an hour going over all the information.  Someone might even prioritize a calm state of mind or hygiene over the time of expected arrival, as it might affect concentration. Getting to the office late though will have its own consequences for your work day; it will reduce your concentration as the day gets delayed, assignments and meetings will get pushed to a later time or be missed all together, and overall stress levels will increase.

“The bad news is Time flies. The good news is you are the pilot.”

Whatever the reason, sometimes we all have difficulty managing our time. It is important for professionals of all types to have a few techniques under their belt to get them on top of their time schedule. With the luck of the following few easy tips, you will too.

1- Make a To-do list. Write down everything you have to do, whether on paper or with the help of technology. When you keep the list in your mind you use up space and energy keeping all the tasks in memory. Once written the mind can relax and actually focus on what it is doing in that moment. When you can visually see the to-dos in front you, time is placed into perspective.

 A to-do list is a schedule, and by setting a schedule, for the day, week, or month, you invite organization into your daily life with clear directives. If not first thing in the morning, do it in the evening and have your daily goals fresh for the morning. With a to-do list in front of you, it becomes easier to focus on each task one by one in an estimated allotted time.

2- Prioritize. Every to-do list needs prioritization. The best time management comes with getting things done with priority in mind. Something easy that doesn’t hold much value may be easy to start and complete, but it can also distract you from what’s important. Decide which parts of your project are most important; the impact of each in the short, medium and long term. You want to be able to execute in a timely and appropriate order. It could be important to reply to all of your emails, but it would be more of a priority to finish a project that’s both urgent, important, and on a deadline.

3- Put Realistic Time Slots. Many people have the tendency to underestimate the time needed to achieve a certain goal. Always factor in extra time for delays and distractions, for mishaps, and in general being a human being not a machine. For example, if you plan 10minutes for a coffee break perhaps realistically 20minutes is more suitable to relax and re-energize your mind for better concentration.

4- Set Boundaries. Get rid of unnecessary time wasters and distractions.  People may find it hard to stay focused due to the distractions of other people’s interruptions. It is important to find a way to politely let people know when you are not to be disturbed. Whether its family at home, colleagues in the office, or continuous phone calls, make it clear when an appropriate time to speak to you would be. For example, on a break you have scheduled. Perhaps you receive continuous phone calls as you try to ready yourself for work. You could let people know to call when you start your day in the office, between 9-10am for example.

5- Schedule Breaks. For efficient work production and creativity, breaks are a must. An energizing break gives you better concentration and productivity when it comes to using your time efficiently. Working for 16 hours straight might sound like a good use of time but it will actually reduce your focus and tire the mind. Schedule a couple of breaks throughout the day. For example, grab a coffee, go for a walk, allow for a chatty catch up with a co-worker, or try some yoga to relax.

6- Question Procrastination. A natural time waster that we all take part in at some point or another, the famous procrastination, is the act of stalling on what you need to do for whatever reason. Some people may not realize they are procrastinating but will end up handing in a project stressed, in a rush, and an hour late because they’ve used up all of the week “doing PR” on social media. What’s more, the longer you procrastinate the harder it can be to start; as time goes by it becomes overwhelming to even think about what has to be done with the time lost.

What is useful for those who find themselves procrastinating is to break ­down a task into smaller parts, prioritize them, and start with the intention to complete just a short 10mins. Get through 10mins at a time until you roll through to the end.

“If you want to be more productive, you need to become the master of your minutes” – Crystal Paine

How you use your time dictates how and the speed of which you achieve your goals. With the help of these tips, use your time wisely and efficiently to higher your productivity and lower your stress levels. Access your discipline to plan and complete all you need to do.