“Just one more episode.” “Maybe one last video.” “Okay, last article.”
We’ve all been there before. What starts as a relaxing evening scroll quickly becomes a full-blown binge. You blink, and it’s midnight – throwing off your entire next day before it even starts. And at its worst, this indulgence might leave you feeling behind on things you planned to finish that night. This is why time management is important.
What is Good Time Management?
Time management describes how you plan, organize and prioritize your time throughout the day. We all have 24 hours in our days. Yet, somehow people manage 7-8 hours of sleep every night, an hour of exercise, and a thriving social life. Meanwhile, others barely find the time to eat a proper meal sitting down. Yes, of course, we all have different obligations, responsibilities, and priorities, but adequate time management skills make the difference. Good time management is the difference between making time for your health, family, career, and the other things that are most important to you… or not.
The Basics of Time Management
The core elements of time management come down to three important aspects: goal orientation, effective planning, and organization.
Effective time management requires setting realistic goals. Knowing what you want to achieve and giving yourself a timeline helps avoid distractions and focus on core tasks. Without a specific outcome and completion date in mind, most people end up wasting time.
Effective planning means knowing the where, what, why, and how before you start working toward any goal. Use tools such as calendars and scheduling software, workflow tools, checklist and process tolls, and other project management tools.
Being disorganized is a massive waste of time. The time you spend trying to find paperwork and tools could be time allocated to actually working towards your goals.
10 Importances of Proper Time Management
Ineffective time management can create many problems in your life beyond just wasting time. It can lead to missed deadlines, poor work-life balance, and constant stress. However, proper time management has numerous benefits.
1. Gives You Focus
Good time management improves focus because you are always clear on tasks and deadlines. This helps to prioritize your schedule and multi-task smartly.
2. Improve Self Discipline
Building the habit of working towards goals, even when you don’t want to, builds self-discipline. You’re no longer doing what you feel like doing. You’re doing what needs to get done, regardless of your mood. This discipline will undoubtedly impact other areas of your life for the better.
3. Helps to Maintain Commitments
Poor time management can lead to a pattern of overscheduling, running late, missing appointments, and more. While these outcomes are not intentional, they reflect poorly on your professionalism. Building time management skills ensure that you follow through on promises and commitments.
4. Reduce Stress
Running late is stressful. So is being behind on work and missing deadlines. On the other hand, when you manage your time well, you’re much less stressed because you get those outcomes less frequently. Even when you have tasks, you know you’ve allotted time to complete them, which gives you peace of mind.
5. Explore New Opportunities
Rushing from one thing to the next in a state of perpetual hurriedness prevents you from slowing down and appreciating what’s in front of you. When you’re able to move at a slower pace, you’re likely to notice opportunities that you didn’t see before — and who knows what exciting things they could lead to!
6. Enhances Decision-Making Ability
When you’re well-rested and calm, you can make better decisions than when stressed out and sleep-deprived. With good time management, your brain won’t be as overloaded, meaning you’ll be able to think on your toes more quickly.
7. Boost Productivity
Let’s face it: You get way more done when you start with a plan, a priority list, and a set block of time. Practicing good time management will make you more efficient and effective, allowing productivity to soar.
8. Help to Set up Goals
Knowing that you have deadlines, commitments, or other priorities to manage helps put critical structure around your goal-setting. As a result, you’re more likely to achieve goals quicker.
9. Helps to Maintain Relationships
When you’re a person who manages their stress well, sets goals and meets them, and honors your commitments and responsibilities, your relationships will be much more harmonious than if you didn’t do these things. These actions facilitate trust and convey reliability.
10. Improve Career
Similar to positively impacting your personal relationships, your career will also thrive. People will trust that you will show up to meetings, work reliably towards deadlines, and they’ll be more likely to think of you when exciting opportunities arise.
Benefits of Time Management in Workplace
While having good time management skills improves your personal life, there are also benefits in the workplace. Not only does productivity improve, but you’ll also have a positive reputation. Often when people don’t manage their time and tasks well, their coworkers have to pick up the slack. If you stress your coworkers out because you can’t complete tasks on time, this could cause division and give you a bad rep.
Another significant benefit is a work-life balance. If you can plan and prioritize your tasks ahead of time, then you can also plan your breaks and days off. Being able to look forward to that extra time to yourself will encourage you to stop procrastinating, and you’ll be more efficient.
Most Common Time Management Pitfalls
One thing I can say with confidence is that people don’t poorly manage their time on purpose. Often subpar time management skills are a result of the way we go about prioritizing and organizing (or not) our day. For example, poor habits are the number one reason people don’t manage their time well. You may keep starting your day late. Maybe you’re not correctly estimating how much time your tasks will take. Perhaps you don’t even make a to-do list for the day. These are bad habits that will have you running around all day without a proper plan in place.
Another pitfall that everyone has been a victim of is distractions. Distractions are different for everyone and aren’t always in our control. However, we must try small things like closing out unrelated tasks, ensuring we are in a quiet space, and putting our phones away.
Lastly, there’s multitasking. Believe me when I say not everyone is a multi-tasker. While some people can do it (and do it well), most of the population cannot effectively multitask. It’s important that we make a plan and complete each action one at a time. The more you check things off your list, the more productive and motivated you will feel.
Why to Stop Wasting Time?
Time is fleeting. It’s one of the few things that we can never get back. How we use that time is almost entirely up to us, and we owe ourselves to remove the mental roadblock that prevents us from using it effectively. By taking control of how we spend our time, we open ourselves up to new possibilities, better experiences, and awesome relationship-building opportunities. We even give ourselves the chance to mentor others and pass along our skillset.
How to Manage Time Effectively
Effectively managing your time starts at the beginning of every day. If you wait until you’ve started with your daily tasks, it may be too late. When you wake up in the morning, take a moment to do these things.
- Plan your day. At the start of each day, develop a plan for what you’d like to accomplish and why. Even if you do this in your head, you are creating some structure for how you’d like your day to go.
- Prioritize your tasks. Ensure the plan for the day is prioritized around when you are most productive. Some people are most productive in the morning. Meanwhile, others get more done in the evening. Ensure you schedule your most important tasks during a time when you know you’ll get them done.
- Create a schedule. Sometimes writing it down and assigning a reasonable amount of work time to complete the task helps stay organized and on track.
- Build in some breaks and buffers. Yes, your tasks are important, but make sure you schedule some time to rest. This includes lunch breaks, walking breaks, or even time with your kids. Also, remember to schedule natural buffer time between tasks.
It’s up to us to take control of our time and our lives. We only get 24 hours in a day or 168 hours in a week — what we do with that limited time can be critical for determining how well we live and whether or not we can achieve our goals, prioritize what really matters, and build relationships that we’re proud of.
Very good article to revisit.
I agree 100 percent.