Each day provides us with just 24 hours and it often seems like there is never quite enough time to get everything done. Why do some people seem to achieve so much more than others in that same 24-hour span?
The answer: Time Management.
Not just time management, but effective time management, is a keystone for high achievers and successful people. This skill set is incredibly useful at home, work and school. Working smarter, not harder, is the main idea here. Time management is a powerful method of organizing and planning so you can accomplish more goals in less time.
Benefits of Time Management
It may almost seem counter-productive to spend valuable time researching time management skills instead of fully utilizing what little time we have in the day on what needs to get done. On the contrary, without a solid foundation, we are just basically “winging it”.
Benefits of time management include:
- Increased productivity
- Better organization
- Higher quality of work
- Surpassing normal expectations
- Deadlines are met
- More opportunities for advancement
- Less stress
- More “me” time
Time Management in the Workplace
On-the-job display of mastery of time management is impressive to our coworkers and management. People who are successful in their line of work don’t really spend a lot of time on idle chit-chat and just get down to business. Instead of arriving on time, they prefer to get there early and get prepared for the day ahead.
They have probably even prepared today’s to-do list, which is a critical part of time management, before leaving the office the day before. This group of people also relies heavily on a detailed schedule to ensure that each project, task, and goal is allotted the necessary time it should take to finish.
Moving up the corporate ladder depends greatly on your time management skills. In fact, these days it’s commonplace to inquire about an applicant’s experience with effective managing time and ask for examples during an interview.
Employers want people who can cut costs and increase revenue by being more productive, delegating tasks when necessary, being punctual and organized, and having superb prioritizing expertise to meet and even exceed deadlines.
Time Management at Home
Without utilizing good time management skills in the home setting, everything could easily fall into complete disarray and become extremely chaotic. It’s probably true that most households exist on routines and schedules to get through the evening rush.
Yet it seems as though there’s always cleaning that needs to be done, laundry gets piled up and neglected, dinner dishes are someone else’s problem and the green gunk in the pool indicates it probably hasn’t been tended to in weeks.
It’s Monday and Little Katie has been assigned to select a book from the library for a book report due Thursday. Johnny has a class party on Friday and he’s signed you up to bring cookies and punch, which means a trip to the grocery store and another trip to the school. Your significant other is vying for a promotion at the office and has invited a member of the board over for dinner on Friday evening.
To accomplish the above scenario, it’s almost impossible without proficient time management. Calendar coordination and prioritizing are imperative especially when there are multiple people relying on the brain of the operation to keep it all together. Because somewhere along the way you’ve also got to find time for a little self-care, too.
Time Management at School
About the time kids enter high school they get a crash course in time management. Teachers before now have encouraged them to develop healthy study habits, get plenty of sleep and eat breakfast before school. The real challenge is about to begin. From here on out teachers and professors aren’t as forgiving when work is turned in late or it’s clear very little studying has been done.
Having multiple classes means multiple assignments, many of which might overlap one another creating a great big pile of homework. Throw in extracurricular activities, a social life, maybe even a part-time job and it’s a recipe for disaster without methodical time management skills.
If you are serious about working on improving your time management skillset, check out the list of do’s and don’ts below to help you get started:
- Do: Set goals, big and small Don’t: Procrastinate
- Do: Make a daily to-do list Don’t: Multitask (2-minute rule*)
- Do: Delegate when appropriate Don’t: Hoard Tasks/Demand Control
- Do: Make time for rest and play Don’t: Allow distractions (phone, TV, etc)
The 2-minute rule: If you are involved in a task and another task comes to mind that needs to be done, only stop what you are doing if the second task can be finished in 2 minutes or less.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking time management is only about achieving goals. It’s about balance and quality of life. And don’t forget about self-care. Self-care is a part of a balanced life.
By decreasing stress related to unmet goals, projects that keep getting put off and regret over wasted time and energy, you have more stamina and motivation to continue being productive. All through the means of efficient time management skills.