Tick tock says the time, tick tock says the time. Do you constantly complain of not having time? Are you always stressed up and find it really hard to organize your activities with time? Do you find it really hard to meet up with deadlines? In case you answered yes to any of these questions, just calm down. Feel free to sip your coffee, relax and digest this content. However, don’t just read, meditate and act on these words. What you will learn here will help put your life in order. This is because time management is life.
According to Peter Drucker, “time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed”. Albert Einstein opines that “time is really the only capital that any human has, and the only thing he can’t afford to lose”. Then, Jim Rohn capped it all by saying that “time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you can’t get more time”.
In this article, you will learn the followings:
- What is time management?
- Even, What is effective time management?
- Also, What is scheduling/planning?
- Scheduling with OM and putting it all together.
- Why is time management so important?
- What are the key elements in time management?
- What are the 4 D’s of time management?
- Productivity-boosting time management tips for you.
WHAT IS TIME MANAGEMENT?
Time management is the act of planning and exercising conscious control of time spent on each activity to improve effectiveness, efficiency and productivity. It presents you with the opportunity to decide what to do at each moment. No wonder why lots of people believe that “time management is life management”. Managing time means managing your life. If you cannot manage your time, you cannot manage anything at all.
According to Brian Tracy, “time management requires self-discipline, self-mastery, and self-control more than anything else”. Without the above virtues and qualities, one can’t do well in life. Now that you know the meaning of time management, let’s learn about effective time management.
WHAT ID EFFECTIVE TIME MANAGEMENT?
This means performing the most important tasks for the day/period on time. To effectively manage your time, you must:
- Keep a tab of how you spend your time daily and;
- Arrange your tasks in their order of importance.
WHAT IS SCHEDULING/PLANNING?
Scheduling is the process of arranging and planning your affairs to achieve your targeted goals and priorities within your time frame. Planning/scheduling permits you to be organized and work without stress. It helps you run the day instead of your day running you. All time management starts with planning/scheduling. If you don’t plan how you will manage your time, the time will manage you but in a devastating way. With scheduling, you decide the followings:
- When to do the works
- The time to allocate to each task and;
- What resources to use.
WHY IS TIME MANAGEMENT SO IMPORTANT?
To start with, if you can’t manage your time, you will ruin your work-life balance. Aside that, you will experience too much stress, harm your professional reputation and deliver poor work. Time management helps to improve your performance at work. It helps you become more productive, efficient and effective.
Furthermore, time management helps you to concentrate and do the more important tasks. It gets rid of unnecessary distractions.
Moreover, when you manage time properly, you will deliver your works on time and hit deadlines.
Also, proper time management helps you become more reliable and trustworthy. This will improve your professional reputation and create more career opportunities for you.
Additionally, it gives you a sense of accomplishment and confidence. When you consistently accomplish your daily tasks at the right time, you naturally want to take up more responsibilities.
Quality time management makes you more intentional about yourself. It also helps you achieve your goals.
Managing your time makes you smart, daring and positions you for opportunities. It helps you to maximize your strengths and deliver more valuable.
Also, time management leads to better decision making. However, if you don’t have this skill, you will not have time to understand the impact of your decision. It helps you to calmly evaluate your chances and select the best option.
Moreover, it leads to success. It helps you to achieve the best possible results since you focus on making only important decisions.
Further, the human life is competitive, stressful and fast-paced. The only way to live a superior quality of life is to manage time and make every moment count.
Proper time management gives you more energy to achieve more. Now, you don’t have to constantly feel miserable and weak. With efficient workflow, you can achieve more.
Lastly on this, time management improves your mood, relationships and overall life. Now, you won’t blame people who see time management as self-management.
WHAT ARE THE KEY ELEMENTS IN TIME MANAGEMENT?
Time management has 5 key elements. If you can’t do all of them, it means you cannot manage time. Check out the 5 key elements of time management below:
- Be focused and very intentional: This means knowing exactly what you want and how to achieve it. Have a plan it could be a to-do list. A set plan is one of the most powerful ways to be effective and productive.
- Be self-aware: It involves tracking your time.
- Use a structure: This includes being organized. Don’t show or practice I Don’t care attitude. Our characters and personalities are formed by our daily habits. If you are not structured, you will be disfigured.
- Prioritize: Place your tasks in order of their importance. You can arrange them from the most important to the less important ones. This will help you to avoid spending time on the less important tasks first. One Francis of Asia said “start by doing what is necessary; then, do the possible before you know it, you will do the impossible”.
- Be disciplined: To me, this is even the most important element. If you don’t have discipline, you don’t have any value. It is only self-discipline that can help you manage your time wisely. These elements when properly applied can help you handle the 4 D’s of time management.
- WHAT ARE THE 4 D’s OF TIME MANAGEMENT?
- This is a well-known strategy or plan for knowing if a task is worth your time or not. Some scholars call them 4 D’s of productivity. Here, the individual makes a swift decision about what to act on immediately by doing it by himself or delegating another person to do it. He as well decides what to do in the future and what to take off from his to-do list.
The 4 D’s stand for Do, Defer or Delay, Delegate and Delete or Drop. When you place your tasks in these categories, you will make effective use of your time. Product managers, students, parents and home managers need the 4 D’s if time management most. This is because they are constantly busy with lots of demands on daily basis. That’s the only way to keep projects and people in track and focus on the most important tasks.
To implement the 4 D’s, do the followings:
- Carefully review your to-do list at the beginning of each day.
- Find out the tasks you can do yourself or delegate to other.
- Discover which tasks can be delayed and handle them later.
- Check out some that are not relevant at all and delete them.
PRODUCTIVITY BOOSTING TIME MANAGEMENT TIPS FOR YOU
To manage your time perfectly and become more productive, take note of the followings and practice them.
- Control your attention and focus. Plan your day and prepare a to-do list. Also, assign time to each task. With a plan, you won’t easily get distracted.
- Prioritize your responsibilities. You can start with the most difficult tasks and proceed to the less difficult ones.
- Don’t handle all alone. Delegate some functions to others. Handling all your tasks alone is stressful and frustrating. The load can be too much on you and even make you sick.
- Take some time at the end of the day to see how far you went. Check out how many tasks you accomplished and give yourself a commendation.
- Use apps that are problem solving. There are certain tasks that consume lots of time. For these tasks, you can let technology help you. Use apps that reduce he time you spend on such tasks. Lots of apps help with meeting notes, keyboard shortcuts, password keepers and even autocorrect tools. They save you lots of time and energy. If you are at home, you can use electronic appliances like washing machine to wash the clothes faster and use a blender to cut the veggies. These home appliances save time and even the energy you will use if you do otherwise.
- Set time limit for each task and do your best to work it out within that time.
- Collaborate: Team work boosts productivity by up to 30%. Also, you can use collaborative tools like Asana Application. It turns conversations into actions and tasks to share the workload to your team members. Another one is Miro. This collaborative tools is a whiteboard app that brainstorms and serves as a virtual project hub.
- Make people around you respect how you handle and plan your time. You don’t have to be shy or scared. We are talking about managing your life. There are times you need to be firm and say NO! At other times, you can close your office, avoid visitors, switch off your phone or put it in Do Not Disturb mode. Once people learn that you value your time, they will begin to respect your time management policy.
- Avoid procrastination. Procrastination is a thief of time. Don’t ever postpone what you have to do today till tomorrow. Tomorrow is not an acceptable labor-saving device. Even the holy book says “whatever your hands find to do, do it now”. Unfulfilled tasks are a pain in the neck. They turn our focus from tasks at hand to tasks undone.
- Make time to relax and bond with your loved ones. We actually spend energy performing tasks daily. Don’t be “all work and no play”, you will just end up “a dull boy”. Yes! You will end up being physically and mentally drained. Make time to relax, sleep and get refreshed. Also, life is sweeter when we spend quality time with our lives ones. No matter how much time you spend accumulating wealth, if you don’t spend any with your loved ones, you will still feel empty. Spending quality time with our family and our loved ones is also part of time management. Don’t exclude it in your schedule. It is very important.
- Work with your internal clock. This involves knowing when you are most productive and scheduling your tasks around those moments. Do your best to perform your most important tasks at peak hours.
- Be very flexible in your time management. Definitely, things may not always work out as planned. At other times, you won’t be able to perform some tasks if circumstance change. Let’s say the washing machine spoilt when you wanted to start washing clothes, while you wait to fix it, you can select some important clothes and hand wash them. Or let’s say your friend got into an accident and you are called to help. What will you do? Cancel some plans and do the needful. To cut the long story short, lean how to reschedule especially when it is needful. Don’t be rigid!
- Just know that you are not perfect. Perform your tasks to the best of your abilities. Anyone you can’t do, ask for help or get a professional.
- Be much disciplined. Without discipline, the society lacks value. You need to train yourself disciplined. It is discipline that will make you stick to your schedule and perform your tasks even when you don’t feel like.
- Lastly, be open about your goals. When you tell a few friends, family members, your team or colleagues about your plan, they will hold you accountable. This further drives you to accomplish your tasks at the right time.
According to Steve Jobs, “the most precious resource we all have is time”. Carl Sandburg went further to say that “time is the most valuable coin in your life. You and you alone will determine how that coin will be spent. Be careful that you do not let other people spend it for you”.
Now that you know the meaning of time management, what to do to become more productive and how time management benefits you, it’s time to get to work.
Remember that to manage you time wisely, you must have discipline, know what you want and make a plan to achieve it. Time management is actually a gradual process, once you start implementing the skills here, you will become more productive.