Is managing your time an easy task for you? Many of you would already know the tips for time management, whereas, there might be some who struggle with this important aspect of life.
Are you unable to accomplish all that you chalked out before the deadline? Or do you feel overwhelmed by the number of tasks in hand that need completion?
If your answer is yes, then you need to read this post and learn the time management tips to complete your tasks on time.
Do you need to change your lifestyle so that you can manage your time better? Well, yes, may be a little so that your life is balanced and you achieve happiness in life.
I used to have problems in managing my time a few years back, but things became easier when I learned the tips for time management which I want to share with you all here.
Let’s first understand the meaning of time management and its importance, before we go the time management tips.
“He who gains time gains everything” ~ Benjamin Disraeli
What is Time Management
First, you should know why time is important. It is so because time waits for no one, and time once lost can never be regained.
Remember, time will not stop, nor will it slow down for you. Your work might just keep increasing by the day and your time falling short.
You need to balance your work and time, and that’s why you’ve to learn time management. But what is time management you might ask.
Simply put, time management is how you manage your time effectively so that the right time is allocated to the right work.
It refers to making the best use of your time and managing your tasks. Effective time management is when you can assign specific time slots to activities based on their importance.
Managing your time is a skill that no one teaches you in school, but you have to learn it yourself.
Good time management doesn’t mean that you have to do more work or put lots of work hours. It means you need to focus on those tasks that will make a difference and bring results.
If you want things to change, you can. But for that YOU need to change yourself and the way you manage your time by using various tips for time management as mentioned below.
“Once you have mastered time, you will understand how true it is that most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year — and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade!” ~ Anthony Robbins
Tips for Time Management
You can organize your day much better and lead a happy and healthier life if you follow these tips for time management.
1- Plan out your daily tasks
Make a list of all those things you need to do during the day – the night before, or during the first 30 minutes of your day.
Keep ALL distractions aside and just write down how you are going to manage your day according to their importance.
Keep ticking off once you end a task and move on to the next one. Try not to keep any pending tasks in hand, and if they do remain, carry it over to the next day’s list.
“Time lost is never found again” ~ Benjamin Franklin
Why Plan? After preparing a task list and scheduling it, you get a better idea of how much time you can take out for your work and your family, which is an equally important task.
When you schedule your time, you reduce stress and increase your energy levels. It gives you a greater feeling of being in control and in charge of your life, which indirectly boosts your self esteem - doesn’t it?
TIPS - Some more tips for time management when you plan ahead –
- Use a calendar to manage your daily activities. For those working online Google Calendar is a good option. Also add an organizer to organize to-do lists, information, and everything else.
- Set time limit within which you will end each task, and stick to it. This prevents you from dragging on one task for hours that you might have kept aside for other work.
- Add buffer time before going from one activity to another as it gives you some free time and also helps wrap off the previous work properly. Buffer time is also important because if you’re working from home, you can look up your spouse, children, or any other family member who may need your help or time too.
- Start early, and this really helps. Because if you plan to start work on time, you might be on time or late. Some people get late. But if you start early you’d more likely be on time. Moreover, when you start early you have more time in hand and you tend to remain more clear-headed, calm, and creative all through the day.
I always chalk out my work for the next day before I sleep, so that my mornings are fully focused to start working on things that need to be done on priority.
2- Prioritize your work
Start your day by doing the most important tasks in hand first. Among all the tips for time management I feel this particular one is the most important one, though very few people are really good at it.
You need to ask yourself which work is more important and how much of time should you allocate to it.
Chalk out those things that need your immediate attention and start working on them. Don’t waste your time on other unimportant things.
“Managing your time without setting priorities is like shooting randomly and calling whatever you hit the target.” ~ Peter Turla
Why Prioritize? This will make it easier for you to take up the less important ones later. Your priority might be different from mine or anyone else’s. So, when you do your important tasks would depend on the time you are comfortable with.
I have a problem at times setting my priority for the work that needs attention first if I haven’t planned them earlier.
TIPS - Quick tips for time management when you are trying to prioritize your work –
- Apply the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, which helps you remove the less important tasks. This principle means that mostly 20% of your tasks produce 80% of your results.
- Remove time wasters or stop doing those things that take a chunk of your time. What are these time wasters for you? Are they the social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, or checking your emails, or your constantly ringing phone? STOP checking them often. Set a separate time for them and stick to that. This is a major time management technique I use.
You need to identify those things that help you reach your goal and make them your priority. Along the way you’ll realize that a few tasks need no longer be done at all.
3- Set Realistic Goals
Know what all you can really do considering the nature of task, the time it takes to do, and the time in hand. Don’t plan or undertake tasks that you think are not realistic.
Avoid taking more than you can handle to keep your goal realistic. Learn to put your foot down and refuse doing things other than what need your attention. If you still need to consider them, then fix a later time for them.
“Never leave ’till tomorrow which you can do today.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
Why be realistic? Having incomplete tasks and unrealistic goals create pressure on you and often it becomes difficult to cope with the stress.
TIPS – Additional tips for time management that can help you achieve your goals.
- Learn to say NO. This is a huge time saver as well as stress reliever!
- Don’t try to do everything! Accept the fact that you cannot do everything, nor be everywhere all the time. Focus on things that yield important results and do them first, and spend less time on things that can wait.
4- Remain focused
Focus on doing just one thing at a time. If you try multi-tasking your efficiency levels go down and you cannot really get things done on time.
If you’re a working mom, you might need to work at more than one task at a time alongside your work because you need to see to a lot of things like you family, kids, home, kitchen etc.
However, you need to set time limits for doing each task so that nothing really suffers – yet keep a quiet time slot for yourself when you just work. That time could be perhaps when your kids are away. I do that!
“You will never find time for anything. If you want time you must make it.” ~ Charles Buxton
Why be focused? If you get sidetracked or distracted from doing what’s important, you might not be able to complete the task in time.
If you’re a blogger or writer and tend to get distracted from work while working online – then shut down all extra tabs.
When you write, you should only focus on writing, and when you’re required to do something else, just do that and nothing else!
TIPS - Some tips for time management to remain focused –
- Keep a clock in-front of you because when you are lost in work, you might lose track of time. Some people use Egg Timer to track their time, which is an online countdown timer. Similarly, there are many other tools and applications that can help you remain focused.
- End the most unpleasant task as soon as you can so that you don’t postpone it, and it won’t even bug you or add to your to-do list. Once it’s done, you’ll feel more energized and focused to do what needs to be done.
- Set reminders to take breaks because this helps you work better and you remain more focused in your work. You could take 5 or 10 minutes or even longer breaks depending on how you work. Some people like working for 45 min at a stretch and taking a 15 minute break, while others work for 30 min and take a 10 minute break. It all depends on what works best for you and keeps you energized and focused. I generally prefer taking a break after working for one or two hours because I have limited time to work. I don’t set reminders because now it’s become a habit to take them at regular intervals. And in my break time, I usually catch up with some house work, or check on the kids, cook, listen to music, or just close my eyes and meditate to relax my mind.
- Cut off from work when you have to, or else there’s never going to be an end to working endlessly. Sometime you tend to become too engrossed in your work that you lose track of time and ignore other important aspects of life like exercising, eating, and sleeping. I have a tough time shutting off things because I don’t like to keep things for the next day. But sometimes when it gets overwhelming – I just have to cut off and call it a day! How about you?
5- Be flexible
Don’t be a perfectionist. Instead, be flexible to accept what you cannot do, or change your way of working. Seek outside help or delegate the work if you find it tough to do it all yourself.
“To do two things at once is to do neither“ ~ Publius Syrus
Why be flexible? When you are flexible and delegate, it takes the burden off you so that you can focus on other important tasks.
Honestly speaking, I struggle with this the most because I spend a lot of time to get something perfectly done. My husband often tells me not to go to such extents and know when to stop and move on to the next activity.
TIPS – More tips or time management to help you remain focused.
- You need to let go of things and change your approach or strategy as per circumstances and new developments. And that may require you to make changes in your task list or your time schedule.
- Find your work-life balance by being flexible enough, and managing your time so as to give quality time to your family and work. If it’s a weekend and a movie time, you need to drop your work because your family needs you too!
6 – Develop good habits
If you ask - where does having a good habit fit in the tips for time management, I’d say that it should be the first and foremost in the list!
Habits are nothing more than patterns that you follow, knowingly or unknowingly.
Create a routine that favors your work hours or schedule, makes it easy to devote time to work, and helps you be more efficient and productive.
Speaking of myself, I’ve made my routine and know when I have to do what work. If I don’t follow that set pattern, everything for the rest of the day goes haywire. How about you?
“He that rises late must trot all day”~ Benjamin Franklin
Why create good habits? You need to change your lifestyle and habits at times for better time management.
Small lifestyle changes can be things like eating healthy and nutritious food, exercising regularly, and sleeping well, which increase your productivity manifolds.
Early morning hours work best for me, because those are the most productive ones. Perhaps for you it might be the night time or any other time during the day, so it all depends from one person to another.
TIPS – Here are some tips for time management that can help you once you develop good habits.
- Sleep early if you prefer working early morning. Otherwise, you’d be reducing your sleep time, which would be detrimental to your health. I’m guilty here
- Be ready to make any changes in your habit or routine, and you should embrace them happily.
- Avoid procrastination because you may get into the habit of postponing the difficult jobs and doing the easier ones, and over a period of time these just piles up into your to-do list.
“If you want to make good use of your time, you’ve got to know what’s most important and then give it all you’ve got.” ~ Lee Iacocca
The above mentioned tips for time management are suggestions, most of which I’ve tried – they aren’t any hard and fast rules you need to follow. See what works for you and chalk out ways to manage your time better.
Some of these time management tips may work for you and some may not, but you won’t really know till you try them out.
Work never ends, but if you know the way to manage your time to accomplish the work, you will lead a healthier lifestyle.
Well, here are some great suggestions from the time management guru Brain Tracy himself, and I’m sure you’d find them useful!
Eat That Frog & The ABDCE Method ~ Brian Tracy ~ You Tube Video
Most of you might think that time is money, but I feel that time is life and if you have more of time, you have more of life – isn’t it? So, if you learn to balance your time well, you’ll be able to lead a happier life.
“Time = life; therefore, waste your time and waste of your life, or master your time and master your life.” ~ Alan Lakein
Just think that if you save 1 hour daily by managing your time well, you’d save 336 hours a year!
Imagine all that you can do with that free time – spend more time with your family, kids, go on a vacation, or just do whatever you want to do.
So, ready to go in for these tips on time management? Then what are you waiting for
Over to you –
How do you manage your time? What tips for time management would you suggest that have worked for you? Let us know in the comments below.
Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos