If time management is about using the time you have effectively to complete tasks, then you must consider planning. The goal of working smarter, not longer, is admirable and takes discipline.
Based on the 80/20 rule, you only need 20% effort to get 80% of the results you want. This means that the 20% is vital to what you do and should receive the bulk of your focus. Just think of how much time you spend on the 80% and in the end, you feel like very little was accomplished.
It begs the question: What can you do to improve the way you manage your time? Perhaps an understanding of why time management is important will clear whatever seems to work against your time in the first place.
Why Time Management is Important
- You are more efficient when your time is managed properly. Better time management helps you do more of what needs to be done. This does not mean you diminish the quality of what you do; it just means you do things faster.
- You are more fulfilled and accomplished. Getting organized starts with making choices and decisions based on what is most valuable. From there, you can use tools such as time management software that is compatible with organizing your goals and tasks.
- You are energized. The simple act of finishing tasks can bring a level of energy and satisfaction. Your ability to manage your time, that sense of accomplishment, brings relief from the burden of getting things done.
11 Tips to Maximize Your Time
Here are 11 tips for time management that you may find useful.
1. Set Clear, Achievable Goals
Set short-term and long-term goals. This will help you differentiate between what is important and what is not. Know exactly what you what to achieve so you can figure out what needs to be done. With this information, you can plan a sequence of action step to do what you planned.
2. Create a To-Do List
Make a to-do list your best friend. Do this and you will increase your productivity level, keep your mind clear and expend less stress and energy on time wasters. Begin each day planning activities for the day.
Break down complex tasks into smaller actions. This makes them more doable and manageable. Otherwise, you are less inclined to complete something that feels too big or daunting.
3. Prioritize the Most Important Tasks First
You might not get everything done, even with a to-do list. However, you can complete the most important things by prioritizing each task. Keep in mind that important and urgent are not necessarily the same things.
4. Schedule Your Work Week
Using the to-do you created and your prioritization of the list, make a schedule for the day and upcoming week. You can be as detailed or brief as you see fit to help you manage your time better. Make sure the schedule is realistic and represents a typical day.
Pad the schedule with time for inevitable interruptions, breaks or any type of unscheduled events. The nature of your work determines how much contingency you need to include in the schedule. Keeping a schedule reduces the amount of energy you spend thinking about what comes next.
5. Limit Your Time on Each Task
Set clear time limits for each task on your to-do list. For instance, if you need to finish task X by 11:00 a.m., peg that time to avoid dragging out the time beyond that point. This will only take away time you set aside for other tasks.
6. Manage Daily Activities with a Calendar
Having a calendar is a fundamental step to managing the time you spend on daily activities. Using a software system that you can sync to your mobile phone is even better. This will enable you to access your schedule anywhere to stay on top of what you need to get done.
7. Use an Organizing Tool
One of the better tips for time management is the use of an organizer. As a central tool to organizing everything from to-do lists and projects to information and miscellaneous items, an organizer will help you keep track of everything.
8. Know the Deadlines You Have to Meet
Mark deadlines clearly in your organizing tool so you know when you need to finish tasks. This also gives you a target to reach and keeps you from focusing on tasks with later completion dates.
9. Stay Focused on One Goal at a Time
Multi-tasking is not good if it keeps you from getting anything done. Know your limits and focus on one task at a time. You will find that you are more efficient in your work.
10. Block Distractions
If text messages, emails or the telephone ringing are distractions, do what you can to block each one. Let a call go to voicemail. Make a mental note to respond to emails collectively once a day. Otherwise, you will spend more time on the distractions than the important tasks at hand.
11. Track the Time You Spend on Each Task
There are software systems that can help you track the time you spend on each task. This is different from entering the time into a scheduling system. Literally, some people work best with a clock ticking down the time allotted on one particular task.
These tips for time management will go a long way in keeping you focused and feeling accomplished throughout your day. Some may work better than others. It is really about finding a system that works best for you.
Time is valuable. It is also not something you get back easily if it is wasted. Learning how to manage your time can help you be more productive. With this comes more success and less anxiety about unfinished tasks.
You will be amazed at the amount of time you squeeze out of the 24 hours you get each day. Embrace these tips and make the most of one of the most essential commodities for your career and life.