Let’s be honest, life today is pretty hectic. You only have 24 hours in a day and and you need to use each one of them wisely if you want to accomplish all your tasks and goals. When it comes to you your work, the old saying is as true today as it’s always been: Time is money. With that in mind, time management is one of the most important skills you can cultivate.
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Recent research has discovered that a whopping 80% of the average working day is spent on activities that generate little or no value. This shows that most people are not good at time management. The consequences can be far-reaching, ranging from lowered productivity to burnout.
Why is working time management important?
First of all it improves efficiency and work performance. This makes it easy to organize work and smartly manage tasks. When you do that, you reduce stress and the associated risk of health issues (like high blood pressure and heart attacks) and help to prevent burnout.
When you’re less stressed at work, it makes it easier to maintain healthy relationships with your family and friends. Effective time management also helps to maintain a work-life balance. How you manage your time at work and what effects it brings translates into your well-being, happiness, and success in your personal life.
To help you manage the time and make the most out of every day, here’s a list of the most powerful and proven time management tips.
1. Examine how you spend your time.
The first thing you should do to become better at time management is to see how you’re spending your time. That way you will know what’s taking up the most time, what you’re wasting time on, and how much time you dedicate to each task you’re working on.
You can do it either manually or by using time tracking software. When you understand where your time goes, you can use this knowledge as a basis for taking further steps.
2. Write everything down.
Years ago, I used to work with this guy who carried a little notebook and pen around with him all the time. If you asked him to do something, he would immediately write it down in. I once asked him why he did this. He replied: “because my pen has got a better memory than I do.”
It’s easy to forget stuff if you don’t make a conscious decision to remember it. During a hectic working day when so much is vying for your attention, it’s easy to get distracted and have things slip your mind. When you write things down you can easy refer to it later. You’ll be better able to capture your thoughts and get into a systematic process of completing the task at hand.
Additionally, writing things down helps to clear your mind, organize ideas, and get focused on work. It’s the basis of good time management.
3. Get your priorities in order.
Some tasks are more important than others. The nucleus of good time management is to manage the things to do in an efficient manner. To do this you must recognize that some things HAVE to be done, but other things can wait.
It’s hard to complete your work if you give every task the same priority. So draw up a To Do list, and list the tasks in order of priority. The method I prefer is the ABCDE Method.
With the ABCDE method: you put an A next to the most important task of the day (the one which MUST be completed today come what may), put a B next to other important tasks, a C next to tasks that would be nice to do but can wait, a D next to tasks that you should delegate, and an E next to unimportant tasks that can be eliminated. Then rewrite your list with your “A” task at the top and the rest in descending order of importance. Check off each task as it’s completed.
Alternatively, you can use project management software like Libre Project or cloud based services like Notion to prioritize and manage your time effectively.
4. Set SMART goals
SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound. By using this formula you can determine if your goals are achievable or whether you’re wasting your time pursuing them.
5. Don’t multitask
Some people think that multitasking is a key component of effective time management, but this is wrong. Multitasking is a myth.
You might be able to walk and chew gum at the same time, but neither of those tasks require much input from your brain! Your conscious mind can only give it’s full attention to one task at a time – that’s why it’s so dangerous to drive a car and talk on your phone at the same time. It’s fine to put a task to one side when a more pressing task comes along and go back to the first one later, but don’t try to do two things at once – that’s bad time management, not good.
So if you think that multitasking is good for productivity, you’re wrong. Stop multitasking and focus at one thing at a time.
For more information on Time Management, check out our course Time Management Made Simple.