In today’s article you’re going to learn everything you need to know about what are some good time management skills. So, let’s begin!
What are some good time management skills?
1. View Time in Terms of Money
Those who know how to manage their time effectively understand the idea that time is gold. In other words, wasted time means zero value, which will set you back from achieving your goals.
It is crucial to know how much you are being paid by the hour, because it is what determines your quality of life and the amount of savings you can set aside for your retirement. Determine how much you are earning per hour and decide on how you can further increase it.
If you go back to managing your time well, think about the amount of free time you have left after work. Will you be able to convert that free time into money by moonlighting? Can you squeeze in some time for pursuing further studies to boost your career? Once you have the answers, plan accordingly.
Of course, there is more to life than money, that is why you should always go back to what your goals are. If your priority is to bond with your family, then you will know that your free time is well-worth the time spent with them.
All-in-all, by associating each hour of your waking day to how much money you could make from it, you become more motivated to accomplishing tasks and work your way towards increasing its value.
2. Divide Your Day into Appointments
Time management becomes difficult when you live by a fly by the seat of my pants code. If you do not want to wake up one day and wonder what happened to the last forty-something years of your life, then you must approach each day in terms of appointments.
Have you ever seen or used an executive daily planner? Notice that each day is divided into hours. This is how successful people work: everything from working out in the morning to holding business meetings to spending some alone time in a tub as an appointment.
So, by respecting the fact that each day has a solid set of 24 hours (at least 7 of which are dedicated to sleep), they value the purpose of each hour and ensure that each fulfills its specific purpose. After all, any delays will cause a domino effect on one ’ s succeeding hours or even days!
Naturally, a sustainable system is one that will not leave you burned out, which is why you should also schedule appointments for yourself as well. If you do not have an executive daily planner yet, get one and use it always.
3. Apply the 80/20 Rule
The 80/20 rule is a century-old, commonly-applied method to maximize one ’ s time and productivity. It was developed in 1906 by Vilfredo Pareto. It means that majority of the outcome (80 percent) is due to a key small amount of causes (20 percent).
To apply this rule for time management, the first thing to do is to take a look at how you use most of your time. Then, compare the number of hours you have put in to the results.
Next, answer these questions: How much of your waking time did you dedicate to producing such results? Which part of the day were you most productive? What about the least productive? What stopped you from being steadily productive?
Once you know when you can be most productive, you can use that particular time of the day to do the tasks that will get you closer to your goals. For instance, let ’ s say your goal is to pass an exam. If you know you are most productive between 10 am and 12 noon, then you can schedule your study time within those hours.
4. Improve Your Focus
Sharp focus does not happen overnight. It is a skill that must be practiced regularly. The more focused you are, the faster you can accomplish your tasks and the less time you will waste.
To improve your focus, you must find a place where you can concentrate at peace. Some like to focus on their studies in a quiet cafe, while others like to set up a home office that blocks out distractions such as the television.
Next, you must find out how long it takes for you to concentrate on a task. Use a stopwatch and then begin your task. As soon as you start to become tired and easily distracted, tap on the stopwatch and take note of your limit. Aim to lengthen that limit continuously.
Also, you must make an effort to control interactions with others. A message or call from a good friend is still a distraction, so tell them that you are unavailable at certain times of the day. Otherwise, set your phone on airplane mode.
5. Block Out Interruptions
Interruptions, regardless of how minute they may seem, can really add up and delay all your succeeding tasks. Nowadays, with everyone being so closely connected, people have become more open to interruptions.
They say prevention is better than cure, and what better way to avoid interruptions than blocking them out completely? The first thing to do then is to ensure that no one will walking into your workspace and distract you. Create a physical wall between yourself and the rest of the world when you need to concentrate. Lock the door, put on headphones and play music to boost concentration, and hang up a do not disturb sign.
One of the most difficult things to do for many people is to stay away from social media. If you want, you can set a specific time for when you can check your e-mails and messages online (such as during your break) but cure yourself of FOMO (or the fear of missing out) by turning off the wireless internet or at least blocking the sites that distract you.
6. Utilize Time-Management Tools
You cannot go to war without your weapons;that is why you need the right tools to be productive. You ’ ve already learned the value of an executive planner, but there are additional tools that you can use to manage time wisely.
One such tool is your good-old timer.
All smart phones have a timer, so use yours every day. For instance, you can use it to measure how long it takes for you to concentrate on a single task. On average, people can dedicate themselves to work for two straight hours before they need a break. Once you know how long your threshold is, you can then set the timer for whenever you need to focus. Once the timer is up, you can take a break which, by the way, should also be timed (average break-time for most people is 15 minutes).
Another simple tool is the alarm clock.
This one is for more fixed tasks that you have to do each day, such as waking up in the morning and going to bed each night. Again, smart phones will allow you to set multiple alarms with labels, so decide on those fixed tasks. Ideally, you should assign a specific ring-tone for each task, and on hearing it, you will be conditioned on what to do.
There are plenty of other free apps and tools you can use to manage time. If you think you need more discipline (such as waking up early in the morning for work), then you may invest in tools that are especially designed for your needs.
7. Actively Motivate Yourself
Being able to stick to the schedule you have set requires motivation. There are two main types of motivation, and they are best described as the carrot and the stick.
Whenever you face a task that you dread to do, such as a report that you need to finish writing for your boss within five days, you can motivate yourself by thinking of the rewards that you will get once you have accomplished the task. For instance, if you finish the report ahead of time, you will still have time to polish it and add more substance to it. By being able to submit high quality output on time, your boss will recognize your value and seek to promote you or give you a raise. This is the carrot motivation (1).
On the other hand, some people become more motivated when they consider the consequences of failing to do a certain task on time. Let ’ s say you would imagine yourself not being able to submit the report on time. You will end up completely embarrassing yourself during the report presentation and be at risk of getting fired with bad records. This is the stick motivation.
So, whenever you dread to do the task and put it off to another time, consider both the carrot and the stick in both situations.
8. Improve Your Decision-Making Skills
Making decisions is a tough job for anybody, mostly because people are scared of making a bad call. To manage time effectively, a person is always given the opportunity to make decisions, such as when they should do certain tasks, how they should go about it, and so on. The better you are at making decisions, the more practical you will be at handling the time in your hands.
To make sound decisions, the first thing you should do is to assess the weight of the decision. Consider the pros and cons of each decision and weigh them to determine which choice has more pros than cons.
Time is irrefutably an aspect in decision-making. You have to consider the amount of time you have left and how you can make the most of it. Also, there are some decisions that do not have to be made instantly, so consider giving such choices more time for pondering.
And if all else fails, flip a coin. It does not matter which side would eventually come out. What matters is that you will realize which choice you want all along once the coin ’ s verdict has been made.
9. Control Distracting Thoughts
Distractions can come from all sources, including your own mind. As a matter of fact, this may very well be one of the worst distractions ever because, unlike an annoying co-worker, you cannot excuse yourself from them easily.
To control distracting thought, the first thing to do is park them. Let ’ s say you are working on a project and suddenly you have this great idea for the novel that you are writing on the side. Instead of entertaining the thought, jot down the idea on a sheet of paper, then forget about it. After all, you can get back to it when the time is right.
If you have been struggling with emotionally distracting thoughts, set aside an appointment with yourself (or with a therapist) to heal. Acknowledge the thought, then dismiss it by telling yourself that this is not the time for it now. Breathe in deeply, then breathe it out of your system.
10. Self-Evaluate Once a Week
Self-evaluation is an important thing to do every once in a while. Doing so will help you make improvements, adjustments, and even make a reassessment of your goals.
Set aside 30 minutes to an hour on a weekend to evaluate the time management strategies you have applied within the week. Note down the hits and misses, then consider other strategies that might be better than the ones you have tried.
Another thing to evaluate would be the number of distractions that you have encountered and how you dealt with them. If there are pertinent distractions that you find difficult to avoid, you now have an opportunity to address them more efficiently.
It would also be wise to keep a record of your self-evaluations so that you can use them as references for future time management strategies.
11. Set Up an Offline Time Block
While the internet does contain a plethora of time-saving tools (such as online shopping and e-mail to name a few), it can also be a major time-waster.
Imagine your life flashing before your eyes as you waste three hours or more browsing through your friends ’ Facebook profiles for no apparent reason. This is why it is important to go offline once a day for several hours to deal with tasks that do not necessitate you to be online.
During this time, you should not take any calls, check any e-mails or chat with anyone online. If you think you need to check online to verify certain information even if you are on your offline time block, then download an offline digital dictionary, thesaurus, and encyclopedia. That way, you won ’ t give yourself any any excuses.
12. Delegate Responsibilities
When you are swamped and you know for a fact that you absolutely cannot do everything yourself, then you must shift the responsibility to other qualified people. This will free up your time and enable you to focus on your most important and urgent tasks.
As you delegate the responsibilities to someone else, reassure that person that he or she has the qualifications for the task, possibly more than you. Then, state clearly the objectives and intended results so that he or she will know what you are expecting from the job.
If needed, give the person a run-through of how you would do it, but be open for suggestions as he or she might have even more efficient solutions to offer.
13. Apply the Minimalist Approach
Minimalism is when you eliminate the unimportant in your life so that you can only focus on what truly matters to you (2). This will make your life so much easier and will save you a lot of time as well.
For instance, if you spend too much time in the morning wondering what to wear, you can keep a capsule wardrobe instead. This is when you have a limited amount of clothes which can easily be mixed and matched each day.
Minimalism at work will enable you to be even more productive as well. For example, you should avoid taking on too many tasks all at once because you are forsaking quality. If a project is too big for you, consider delegating it so that everyone can focus on one key part and you can all produce one great output together.
14. Automate Your Daily Chores
Certain things in life cannot be avoided, such as cleaning the house, doing the laundry, and preparing (healthy) meals at home. If you think such chores are too time-consuming, then you might want to consider delegating the tasks to other people instead, or figuring out how to make chores more convenient and quick to do.
For instance, you can prepare healthy meals in bulk on a slow day, divide them in separate containers, then refrigerate them to be reheated for quick and easy meals for the rest of the week.
A house cleaner can be hired to help maintain your humble abode. Depending on your budget, you can have him or her come over once a week or even just twice a month to de-clutter your home and make it spic-and-span. Just make sure to get referrals from someone you trust.
Doing the laundry can also be delegated to someone else. If you are not comfortable with the idea of someone else doing your laundry for you, then invest in a good quality washing machine and dryer that will do all the work.
15. Always Plan for the Following Day
Before you turn in for the night, make it a point to write down the list of tasks that you need to do for tomorrow. Consider all your obligations, from the work-related ones to the personal ones. Doing so will keep you from wasting time the following day, and would also remind you why you need to get out of bed early.
There are certain factors that you need to keep in mind while planning for the next day. The first one is that there should not be any conflicts in your schedule. If there are, you need to consider which one is more important to you and then re-schedule the other one for another time.
The second one would be the tasks that you were not able to fulfill that same day. This will entail you to review your activities that day and then add any of the important tasks to tomorrow-s to-do list.
Keep your list somewhere that would be instantly visible to you. Some like to write a physical list and then tape it right on their workspace. Others create the list on their phone and save it on their screen.
Thank you again for reading this article! I hope this post was able to help you to manage your time more effectively with the help of these 15 tips.
The next step is to continue to be inspired and to sharpen the skills needed to be productive and efficient in handling time.
Imagine being able to live your life to the fullest, to accomplish all the goals that you have set for yourself, and to feel contentment and security in knowing that you were able to make the most of your time. Always remember that time is something that you can never buy back, so make the most out of what you have.