17 Oct 5 Tips for Time Management
We’ve all been there: we work all day, seemingly nonstop, only to have items on our to-do list unchecked. Achieving just about any worthwhile goal or putting your ambition into action requires solid time management.
Of course, almost all of our everyday activities are affected by how we handle our time, for better or for worse.
Time management skills are a great asset, no matter what type of lifestyle you have. Even if you have a pretty leisurely schedule, chances are there are few things you mean to get done that seem to always be put off or left unfinished.
If you aren’t skilled at managing your time, trying to improve this ability can be a challenge. For some people, time management is a productivity issue, while for others it is a work-life balance puzzle or simply a problem that seems like it could never be solved, because you just have too much to do.
Most of us can recognize when we’re wasting time or procrastinating, even if that realization only comes when the time is already gone. But time management can also be an issue even for people who excel at not wasting time. Sometimes we take too much on, which can be fine for a temporary situation, but overall will lead to chronic stress and less energy.
Balancing what you need to do and what you want to do can be a struggle, but no matter what your lifestyle, goals, or general pattern, you can benefit from these time management tips:
Know How Yow Spend Your Time
The first step towards better time management is simply knowing what your time-spending habits are. You may or may not have a serious problem with procrastination, having too much in your plate, or another common issue, but doing a good overview of how you spend your time will help you discover just what you’re doing or not doing.
This doesn’t mean tracking every little thing – but be conscious of how you’re spending your time. The next time you have a specific task at work, school, or home, think about how constant your activity or your thoughts are. This doesn’t mean you can’t take breaks, far from it. It simply means being aware of what you have difficulties with, what sort of delaying tactics you use, or what kind of scheduling habits you have.
Learn to Say No
If you lack time because you take on too many tasks, especially ones for other people, practice saying “no” to new obligations. Sometimes, we get overloaded with tasks that we can’t quite refuse; we don’t have the same power as our boss, for example. However, you shouldn’t be afraid to say no when you can. Know when you are being taken advantage of or when another item on the to-do list will make the rest of your tasks or your health suffer.
Add Extra Time for Difficult or Unpleasant Tasks
If you find yourself hurrying to get from one place or obligation to another, start overestimating the time you will need and work that extra time into your schedule. Planning to take an extra fifteen minutes here or there can either make up for delays or give you a little more breathing room between tasks.
Take Care of Distractions Ahead of Time
If you are a procrastinator who suddenly needs to do the dishes or fold the laundry when it’s time to make a phone call or get started on that big project, try to schedule your household chores, exercise routine, desk drawer organization, and the like for a certain day or time of the week. If you know that you’ve done these tasks, you can be more honest and direct with yourself when you start searching for distractions.
Know Which Tools Save You Time – and Which Ones Waste It
There are many gadgets, apps, and other technological tools available today that purport to save time, promote efficiency, and increase productivity. But these tools usually involve calendars and alarms. These are perfect for some people, but as we all know, different tasks and obligations can make time seem to go by very slowly or very quickly, depending on what it is and how much we enjoy or dislike it. For this reason, you may find that all the scheduling and reminder apps in the world may not help you.
When it comes down to it, you have to motivate yourself. It is easy to start thinking that if you just had this or that new app, tool, or even plain old pencil-and-paper system, you would do better. Know what supposedly time-saving or discipline-creating devices are just making you feel like you are doing something, rather than helping you actually do it.
Relax and restrict your time management rules in a way that makes sense for you, but that still pushes you to do your best. Every worthy goal takes time and effort, but things can be much easier when you not only learn to recognize your habits, but take steps to control the bad ones.
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