We have so many things to juggle every single day, whether as a parent, spouse, student or in our careers. You may find yourself always tired, feeling out of breath, anxious, stressed and forgetful. We let go of enjoyable activities in life because we are always running out of time and rarely enjoy the simple details around us, causing us to be unable to take satisfaction in our achievements.
That’s where time management comes in. Unlike what so many people think, time management is a skill, not a talent. It is simply the process of planning and exercising conscious control over the amount of time spent on specific activities. Managing time means managing yourself, making precise plans and sticking to them, limiting distractions and prioritizing what matters to be first. So how can we manage our time?
Assess Your Time
Take detailed notes of how you spend your day. At which part of the day are you most active and alert at? What are your most common time wasters? Which activities could you have eliminated completely from your day?
Set Your Goals
Break your goals into smaller, attainable and realistic portions, and turn them into tasks or actions that will help you reach and achieve them. Jot them down on your weekly calendar to make sure you are getting closer to achieving them day by day.
After assessing your time and writing down your goals you will start to notice that most of the time we do things that don’t really matter while remaining blind to the things that really do. Now it is time to prioritize your life by putting first things first. Invest your time in what really matters such as: achieving your goals, looking after your health, self-development, basically whatever is most important to you.
Don’t wait for a relationship to go up in flames, your health to go down the drain or nearly losing your job to take action. This is called ‘firefighting’, where people spend their lives putting out fire here and there instead of preventing them. Plan ahead for your life while accepting the fact that things might go off track every once in a while, but with the intentions of staying on track from the start.
Reduce Time Wasters
We waste so much time doing things that don’t really matter, or on things that don’t deserve much time. We complain about our kids being on their phones or on screens while we don’t face ourselves with the reality of how much time we waste on them too.
Learn to DCN
In order to reduce time wasters, you need to learn these 3 skills: Delegate, Consolidate and say “No”.
- Delegate whatever you don’t necessarily have to do yourself and will be done 70-80% as well. Learn how to use the services available that may cost you more money, yet buy you more time. Each person has to decide what can be delegated, as it varies for each situation: studying with your kids versus a tutor, cooking meals versus hiring a cook, or going to the supermarket versus using the delivery service.
- Consolidate actions and errands as much as you can. For example, if you’re going to a specific mall to pay for your bill, pass by the supermarket there and buy bits and pieces that you needed from other but kept on postponing for a while.
- To keep focus on your goals, you need to learn to say no to time wasters whether they are things or people! Saying no is a given right that we have, but often feel embarrassed to use. It isn’t a mean thing to do and can be done nicely without hurting people’s feelings. Respect your time and people will eventually respect it too.
Time waits for no one. When you procrastinate, there is a great possibility that things won’t get done in the end, or will be rushed and not done to the best of your ability. Don’t sell yourself short; do it and get over with it.
Simplify your life, house and work place. Clutter is one of the most common time wasters and energy zappers, so learn how to organize your life and get rid of things you don’t really need but are keeping anyway.
Time management is like setting up a company, once good and strong foundations are set, the company will flourish and succeed. For more tools to help you organize and simplify your life by better managing your time, read more here.