It is true that we all have 24 hours every day, but have you ever wondered why some people seem to have all their daily tasks under control and get the best out of every minute of their day while some others are barely able to achieve any meaningful thing throughout the day?
Well, it all boils down to effective time management principles. We all live busy lives, and it doesn't matter whether you're an entrepreneur or you work a 9-5 job, time management is an issue that is common to everyone.
Have you ever been in a position where you're doing everything to get the best out of your time but found yourself running into a brick wall? Well, you're not alone. A survey carried out on 500+ professionals revealed that only 10%
felt that they had their time under control.
If you want to know how to become a master of time management and save a couple of hours every week, you're in the right place.
What is time management?
Time management has to do with the amount of effort invested in planning and organizing your time. This ensures that a specific amount of time is spent productively on certain specific activities.
Part of time management entails identifying, evaluating, and eliminating less productive activities that tend to waste your time. Effective time management is not only crucial in helping you to succeed in life's endeavors, but it is also vital in helping you find time for leisure, family, and friends.
When it comes to effective time management, there are some vital concepts you need to focus on, they are:
- The need to set the right priorities
- The need to maximize the time spent on achieving set priorities
- The need to reduce or eliminate time spent on less important things
Why is Time Management So Important?
According to Steve Jobs, "time is the most precious resource we have." You would think that you have all the time in the world when you consider the length of the average human lifespan, which stretches to about 4,000 weeks.
However, when you consider how much time is spent in school, and how much time you spend sleeping or when you eventually retire, you'll understand why you need to make the most out of your time during your active years.
When you're able to manage your time effectively, you'll enjoy the following benefits;
- Your productivity level increases either as an entrepreneur or a 9-5 employee.
- You're better able to build good habits, stay focused, and more disciplined.
- You're able to set and accomplish both short-term and long-term life and career goals.
- Excellent time management skills help to boost your morale, make you more organized and more confident.
- Excellent time management skills eliminate the need for procrastination.
- You're able to avoid burn-out, as a result of being overwhelmed by too many tasks, and above all,
- You're better able to find and maintain that all-important work-life balance.
Conversely, if you do not manage your time correctly, you'll be faced with the following consequences;
- Slow and inefficient workflow
- Constantly missing project deadlines
- Poor quality of work
- High-stress levels
- A stalled career
- Poor professional reputation, etc.
Your ability to manage time effectively ultimately depends on the kind of personality you have, your level of discipline, and your ability to motivate yourself without waiting for others to motivate you. Add that to the time management strategies listed below, and you're on your way to becoming an expert in time management. If you want to make the most of every minute you have and even have a few hours to spare every week, then follow the steps listed below.
Here Is A 5-Step System That Can Help You Become A Master In Time Management
Step #1: Set the right Priorities
Your ability to manage time effectively depends primarily on your efforts in setting the right priorities for your day. You need to be able to distinguish between events or activities that are:
- not urgent
- not important
This categorization is known as the four quadrants of time management.
It is also crucial that you prioritize your tasks. It is expected that you focus first on the activities that are urgent and important. According to Mark Twain, it is best to focus on your most important tasks (MITs) in the morning when you are most alert. When you're able to accomplish your most important tasks early enough in the day, you'll gain more momentum to deal with other tasks throughout the day.
One way to effectively prioritize your activities is to come up with a daily, weekly, or monthly "to do" list depending on the goals you intend to achieve.
Step #2: Use a Planning Tool
As recommended by time management experts, you can use planning tools such as pocket dairies, index cards, day-timer, electronic planners, wall charts, or a phone app to help you manage your time.
You should bear in mind; however, that different planning tools work for different people; you should endeavor to find the tool that works best for you. Once you decide on the planning tool that meets your needs, you should endeavor to carry it along with you always and set up a reminder or a prompt with your time management tool, so that you'll always be in the know as regards your next line of action.
Step #3: Delegate
You need to identify certain tasks that you feel can be handled by others. As an entrepreneur/professional, there are certain tasks that require your expertise and professional input, and there are certain tasks that do not require your expertise.
You need to identify competent people and delegate those tasks that do not require your professional input to them. This will free up space for you to attend to urgent and important activities in your schedule.
Step #4: Avoid Multitasking
When you switch from one task to another, it does not give you time to focus on a particular task, and at the end of the day, you're left with multiple incomplete projects. Multitasking affects your productivity level; in fact, you tend to lose as much as 20-80% of your productive time.
Instead, commit to single-tasking. When you're focused on one task at a time, you'll get more done and achieve desired results.
Step #5: Get rid of both physical and digital distractions.
Do you know that having your phone or other digital tools around you can affect your ability to focus on the task at hand? You need to clear out any clutter or device that does not add high value to your work at the time. Here are some tips you can use to get rid of both physical and digital clutter.
- Let people know when you will be available for visits
- For unexpected visits, let them know you're currently unavailable and then, you can reschedule
- Before you schedule or attend meetings, make sure they're highly necessary
- Set aside time to receive and respond to phone calls
- When making calls, do not engage in small talk, go straight to the point
- Do not let emails accumulate, schedule time to sort, and respond to emails
There is an enormous need for you to begin to hone your time management skills and leverage it to your advantage. One thing you should understand about time is that time is valuable and limited, and just the way you plan and budget on how to spend money wisely, you also need to plan and budget on how to spend your time wisely. As an entrepreneur or small business owner, there are lots of things that compete for your attention, while you cannot completely control or do away with these distractions, you have the power to determine how much attention you give to them.
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