In the present age, it is common to struggle for time. Busy schedules perturb the quality of work, often leaving professionals in jeopardy to meet the deadlines. Even if you are not a procrastinator, losing several hours a day seems to be an ongoing phenomenon.
Don’t panic! Life happens.
Despite all these, some people manage things on time and emerge as achievers.
How do they make it possible?
The secret lies in their capability of efficient time management. If you found this impossible to do in the past, it’s time to reconsider the strategy.
In this article, we have provided simple tips to improve time management. These proven tips will help you stay organized in life, focus on the details, be on time, and work effortlessly without any stress.
What Time Management Means?
Time management is a smart strategy to divide and manage time for different activities. It works great to help you stay organized and control various operations, whether at work or in your personal life.
When done proficiently, time management helps you to do the tasks accurately at the right time.
Dedicating a short span to learn time management techniques is worthy enough. You may have to spend some time practicing it but, that comes with ample benefits:
- 1. Enhance productivity and performance
- 2. Meet deadlines
- 3. Achieve goals in life
- 4. Accomplish career dreams
- 5. Decent professional reputation
- 6. Boost opportunities
Is Time Management a Skill?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions especially, by students and working professionals.
Time management is not a single skill but, the term actually incorporates a series of skillsets.
- 1. Planning
- 2. Prioritizing
- 3. Organizing
- 4. Self-discipline
- 5. Focusing
Practical Time Management Tips for Work-Life Balance
1. Perform a Time Audit on Your Life
How do you spend the entire day?
You can start tracking the time for each task done throughout the day. A simple mobile timer can serve the purpose. When you do an analysis, it helps to find out the various points where you may be losing time.
Soon you will identify factors that cause loss of time every day.
2. Shun the Unproductive Activities
We often don’t realize how much time is spent throughout the day on unnecessary issues. This can be personal thoughts, casual conversations, etc. Often people are unconscious of how many hours are wasted during the entire day in the process.
Be alert to avoid such activities to save time. The very sight of the smartphone can tempt you to browse social media, respond to chats, and so on.
When there are pending tasks, it makes sense to focus on the things that matter.
3. Set Realistic Goals
No one can build Rome in a day. Likewise, you can’t finish all your projects within a day.
You can judge the time each project should take. Use this data to plan your time management goals for the entire week.
But don’t go overboard while setting goals. Taking too much pressure will not help in any way. This is why our undated annual planner only requires you to put in 3 goals you need to achieve at a time. Anything more than that can easily overwhelm you and that's the worst thing. You want goals that motivate you, not goals that keep you stuck because there's a mountain of it.
Be practical when you set the goals. Set goals that you can fulfill on time. There is no harm if you start with less work. It eliminates stress and gives you satisfaction.
4. Prioritize Tasks
When it comes to prioritizing tasks, Eisenhower Matrix organizational tool serves as the base for prioritizing the tasks accurately depending on urgency and significance.
You can decide based on the following conditional quadrants:
The 1st condition- Urgent and Important: Must be completed at the earliest.
Second condition- Not Urgent but Important: You can schedule this on the second position in the priority quotient.
Condition 3- Not Important but Urgent: This earns little or no value to your career. If you are running short of time, try delegating or outsourcing the work to reliable professionals.
Condition 4- Not Important and Not Urgent: This does not provide any value so, you may eliminate the task (at least for the time being).
5. Plan Your Daily Schedule
Planning is an integral part of time management. If you have a plan set for the next day, it is easy to do the things you have decided. Without a plan, you are clueless and confused about what to do first, next…
Throughout the day, you are involved in numerous activities, traveling, attending meetings, and so much more. Moving ahead with a written plan works as a reference that you can follow during the entire day.
You can create a written plan for the coming week during the weekends. It may not be possible to draft plans during the working weekdays.
Huh! That’s plenty of stuff.
Initially, writing the extensive plan in the diary seemed good to start. But soon I realized the problem.
During the first week itself, I had to mark down points and add new things. It was quite a mess and took much time every day. I ended up wasting time instead of saving a few hours for the extra workload.
At this point, the digital planner came to help. Apart from my project files, I have the planner saved on my iPad.
You will soon enjoy the joy of writing almost anything on it with the digital pen (I am using the Apple pencil). Edit the plans as and when you need, add new, omit the completed tasks, to mention the basic features.
6. Fragment Tasks into Different Groups
When you have a series of similar tasks to accomplish, create a group for them. This way you can decide what to do at a specific point in time.
Suppose you receive several texts and emails throughout the day. You may be at a meeting when these popped up on your mobile screen.
It’s next to impossible to respond to all of them at the same instance. You will keep doing that throughout the day.
As part of the best practice, allocate specific time to respond to all of them together. It ensures you don’t miss out on anything.
7. Allocate Time Slot for Each Task
You may have deadlines set for each task or project delivery. However, bestows a sense of availability of time. You can set your own deadlines to speed up the work process.
Suppose you have 7 days to deliver a presentation. But it may take only 4 days. Start early and assign 4 days to complete the task accurately. This gives you additional 3 days to leverage on other assignments. But if you proceed slowly with the same project for 7 days, it can lead to a wastage of time.
Consistently wasting time often leaves you feel like you are wasting your life. Here are signs to look out for that will tell if you are wasting your life.
Final thoughts on time management
Time management plays a crucial and determinant factor in how well you control your daily activities. Just follow the abovementioned principles of time management at the workplace or in everyday life.
I hope these time management tips will help you work efficiently, complete tasks on time, and stay stress-free in life. Mastering these skills can be helpful to take your career to the next level.