How To Master Time Management
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Being able to manage your time is a valuable skill that can make a big difference in your life. It’s not easy to do, but it’s totally achievable if you give yourself enough time to learn how.
Time management isn’t about having lots of empty days where you don’t do anything. That wouldn’t be very productive! Instead, it’s about using your resources efficiently so that you have more time for things that matter to you.
You should be conscious of how much time you spend on each task –– what we call your “workload” —and trying to reduce this as far as possible. But once you've got rid of the busy work, you need to use the time saved effectively.
That means putting aside some time every day just for thinking about ways to improve your career or personal life. You need to create an environment that allows you to focus, and get into a habit of doing it consistently.
It's important to know why you're spending most of your time working, and whether there are better uses of your time. If there are, you ought to find ways to shift your priorities to include them.
This article will help you with all those points, so read on.
Do not try to do it all
Even if you are working for yourself, this is still very important to note! Most people make the mistake of thinking that they have to do everything themselves, which can lead to overcommitment.
If you feel like you’ve run out of time due to lack of time, then you need to evaluate how much energy you spend on different tasks.
It may be that you give too many responsibilities to one person or group of people, which then fall behind as well. This could cause more stress and loss of productivity in your office.
You also need to ask yourself whether these assignments are truly necessary.
Make progress in small increments
A common mistake time management professionals make is trying to do too much at once. This can easily overwhelm you, creating more stress than before!
Time is an ever-running resource that we have limited amounts of. We cannot spend more time doing something without spending less time on other things. So, if you are feeling overwhelmed, try to break down your tasks into smaller pieces instead of one big project.
This will help you focus only on each task for a short amount of time, then move onto the next.
You may also want to evaluate how important this task is and whether or not it deserves its own slot in your schedule. If you don’t think so, you can probably drop it off until later.
And lastly, be honest with yourself about what you can accomplish during a given day. Sometimes, people get distracted by trivial matters and it seems like they never really got around to anything.
Don’t expect perfection, but you should be able to recognize your accomplishments. When you do, give yourself credit for your efforts.
Break down big projects into small tasks
A large project can seem overwhelming, but you don’t have to take one step at a time. You can break down the project into smaller chunks that are more manageable.
This is what professionals do as part of their job. They may have to complete a task that has hundreds or even thousands of steps, but they divide up the work into pieces that are easier to manage.
By breaking down your goal into little tasks, it becomes much simpler to achieve. This also helps prevent yourself from getting distracted by other things that could hinder your progress.
You will still need to be careful not to over-estimate how long each piece takes, but if there’s something looming, you’ll know earlier than later when it needs to be done.
Take a break
A few years ago, I read an interesting article about how most people are spending too much time in work without proper breaks. It discussed how important it is to take some time off every day to reset and refresh.
I found this idea very intriguing as I always feel like I’m constantly busy.
So, I made a decision to give myself one hour per day — no matter what I had planned for that day — to just disconnect completely from all technology and things related to work.
This way, I can come back the next day feeling refreshed and able to start my daily tasks with a clear head.
It also gives me time to do something else, such as exercise or talk to someone about non-work topics. I have learned to make this time part of my everyday routine now.
Time management isn’t easy at first, but once you get the hang of it, you will see major benefits in your life.
Consistency is one of the most important things you can have as a time management person. It’s hard to keep track of how much time you spend doing something if you don’t do it regularly, so make sure that you don’t create a habit of spending lots of time working without setting aside enough time for relaxation or personal activities.
By having consistency with your work, you also give yourself more freedom to take breaks. If you consistently leave early from work every day, you may want to consider ways to reduce your workload during the hours you are already there. You could start using technology effectively to help you focus less in the long run.
You can use apps like Google Keep, Evernote, and Microsoft One Note to manage all of your notes, tasks, and reminders. For example, you could use One note to list all the items you need to buy for winter clothing and according to season, store them by category and put “winter shopping” in the index card.
With digital tools, you will be able to easily add and remove items which helps you stay within budget.
Establish a routine
A good time manager has a schedule! They know when they need to wake up, what tasks have to be done, and how much time each task takes.
With this information, they can effectively plan their day or week. For example, if you run out of gas early, you may decide to skip work for that day. Or you may make an appointment at the mall next month instead of buying new clothes today.
By having a schedule, your time will keep moving forward. You’ll feel more relaxed as it becomes clear how everything fits into your daily life.
Establishing a routine is one of the most important things you can do as a time management student. Once you get this down, you’ll find yourself using it easily every day.
But remember, you don’t have to stick to your routine like water! If something unexpected comes up, you can shift activities to fit in better later.
A lot of people get time management wrong by trying to do too much with their time. They feel that they have to spend several hours per day working, so they start spending more than eight hours at the office every morning and night!
This is never a good idea because you will burn out before you even realize it. You need to be able to value your own set schedule, and if you find that you are staying later and longer at work, then you should consider other opportunities in your career or outside activities that you wanted to give up when you first started working.
You also need to recognize the times when you’re not really feeling productive and take care of yourself during those moments. If you notice that you’ve been going through the motions at work, left early, and gone home early for the past few days, then it may be time to look for another job.
Running into similar situations over and over again can quickly become demotivating, which sets a negative tone for your future self. It may be time to say goodbye to your dream job if you cannot bring yourself to put in the effort that you know you should.
Learn to prioritize
A key part of being a time management master is learning how to prioritize your tasks. You will find that some projects require more of your time than others, so you will need to learn when it’s okay to drop a project or work on only one thing at a time.
It can be difficult deciding which task is the most important, but there are several strategies for helping yourself identify what matters the most.
For example, you could use the value of a task to determine its importance. Is doing this project really going to make a difference in the long run? If not, then you can put it into a lower priority.
You could also consider how much energy you have left after completing a job. The less energy you have, the higher the priority of the next task.
The best way to manage your time is by using all these priorities as a reminder to focus on the most essential jobs first.