Time is a resource that is constantly being lost. It is one of those things that once lost, you never get back and most people regret wasting at some point in their life.
Good time management helps people accomplish goals, fulfill dreams, desires, and ultimately their destiny.
We may never know how things may have been different if people had been more responsible with the time they had.
When people get this revelation, they learn to respect time and manage it like other valuable resources.
Time management is important on a personal and professional level.
Learning some basic time management skills can help eliminate the stress of last-minute scrambles and allow you to complete more of the things you want to get done.
12 Tips to Help You Manage Your Time
1. Keep Your Life Organized
Being organized is the secret to a lot of things, but effective time management is at the top of the list.
Keep your living and work areas organized and free from clutter so you can find things you need when you need them.
This not only helps with managing your time better but also with managing your stress.
2. Written Objectives/Goals
Whether you are making your to-do list for weekend projects or managing tasks at work, having written goals and objectives is very important.
If you don’t know where you are going (goals tell you this) how do you know what to do or what direction to go?
This is when people get overwhelmed because they don’t know where to start or how to spend their time, resulting in unnecessary wasted time.
3. Manage Interruptions
It inevitable that interruptions will come. Being able to manage those interruptions will help you accomplish more.
Whether the interruption is a chatty neighbor as you’re trying to get your yard work finished or the friendly coworker who wants to share their weekend experiences with you, it is important to know how to minimize interruptions so you can get needed tasks accomplished.
Some tricks I’ve learned are when I see a chatty person approaching me, I never sit down and if it is in the hallway I just keep walking.
You can be friendly, smile, and chat as you walk but it is much easier to getaway if you’re moving than if you stop.
By not slowing your gate, you are sending a message that are on a mission.
There is a knack to this so as to not offend someone or seem unfriendly but when you realize the time you could save, it is worth the effort.
4. Prioritize Tasks
Our to-do lists for work or home are ever-expanding and changing. For this reason, it is important to be constantly prioritizing responsibilities and tasks.
There are different ways to prioritize but focus on the tasks that will get you the biggest bang in the shortest amount of time or on tasks that have a due date or time-line.
5. Scheduled Tasks
Keeping a calendar and scheduling time for all tasks helps keep a focus on them and gives a visual of when things will be accomplished.
Tasks should be done at the scheduled time whether you “feel” like it or not.
Another hint is to schedule your most difficult tasks at your peak performance time of the day.
Peak time is in the morning for some people but other people don’t even get warmed up until after lunch.
Your schedule should also include social, recreational, and nonproductive time in an attempt to keep a good work-life balance.
6. Manage Distractions
Our lives are inundated with “distractions”. Ironically, some distractions are intended to take our focus away from the high responsibility or high-stress aspects of our lives.
When these distractions are managed appropriately, they can be very valuable for a balanced life but when distractions become the rule, instead of the exception to the rule, they can keep a person from fulfilling responsibilities and accomplishing goals.
7. Manage “Wait” Times
It happens to all of us.
We sit in a waiting room, at the airport, in the car waiting to go through the car-wash or for someone who is late to a meeting.
These wait times are great times to catch up on things.
Having a smartphone or an Ipad can help with this but knowing what you want to do during those times will help with not getting annoyed at the wait.
It also gives you some valuable time that you didn’t know you had.
8. Manage Meetings
By nature and for good team building, meetings should have a social aspect to them.
But be careful to not let unorganized, unstructured meetings take precious time from your day.
Whether it is the monthly staff meeting or a PTA meeting, make sure meetings have a start and end time, an agenda, a facilitator, and a purpose.
Don’t attend a meeting without these very critical pieces and don’t attend a meeting just for the sake of having a meeting.
9. Manage Nonproductive Activities
Nonproductive activities can be nice distractions for us but it is important that they are managed.
Don’t allow these activities to steal precious time that could be used for getting closer to goals – whether personal or on the job.
To do this effectively, schedule your video game or Facebook time and limit the amount of time you spend.
10. Manage the Paper
I for one will be glad when everything is digital and the mountains of paper go away.
Mail, memos, bills, proposals, etc come at us constantly and it takes time to deal with it.
The trick is to go by the old rule of ”touch it once and get rid of it”.
Whether it’s put it in the trash can, file it, delegate it or do it, get rid of it.
The secret to this is scheduling time to manage your paper and move it one time.
11. Mental Management
Lots of people waste time “worrying” about things.
My husband has a great attitude with this one. He says “worry about those things you can do something about…”
And I’ve learned that there are so few things I can do anything about that I have learned to cast my cares and not let them consume me.
If you are consumed with worry, whether it is about getting that promotion, the economy, or the insanity of the world we live in, make an effort to not be preoccupied because worrying can become a major distraction and time waster.
12. Manage Mistakes
Errors and mistakes can rob a lot of time.
Whether it’s not reading the instructions all the way and making mistakes on a big project or rushing to carry the groceries in and dropping the bag all over the floor, it is important to try to do things right the first time.
There is a lot of wisdom in this quote – “do the right thing, the right way, the first time and every time”.
Finally, whether you’re managing yourself or hundreds of people, good time management can help you accomplish those things that help you achieve personal and professional objectives.