This is a question we often ask ourselves at different points in our lives. When we are students, we have exams, assignments, and extracurricular activities to juggle. When we grow up, we get jobs and we have to handle responsibilities and follow through with commitments. At various stages, we have diverse tasks to do.Granted that we all have the same 24 hours in a day, but why is it that some people are so much better at managing their time and utilising it? With some people, it seems like they get a lot done and manage to check everything off their to-do list and also have free time to pursue their interests. The answer is simple, the key is effective time management.
What is Time Management?
Time management is the process of organising and planning how to divide your time between specific activities. Good time management enables you to work smarter – not harder – so that you get more done in less time, even when time is tight and pressures are high. If one is unable to manage time, it has chances to damage overall effectiveness and cause avoidable problems.
Failure to manage time effectively leads to a lot of stress and anxiety. Easy, doable tasks can feel daunting and overwhelming. It can lead to reduced productivity and feelings of inefficiency. The pressure can be crushing.
In short, time management is the method of managing time effectively so that the right time is allocated to the right activity. It is the way of making the best of your time and making the best use of your skills.
Smart Work Vs Hard Work
At times, you might work all day and achieve no desirable results. It might have consumed all your time and left you tired and upset. This can also cause frustration in both professional and personal life.
Smart work is all about efficiency, which is essentially achieving more in less time, creating systems and processes to enable you to use your time well. We all have the same amount of time each and every single day. It is about devising effective strategies in order to make time for all your tasks. It is about prioritising. Strategic hard work doesn’t mean not ‘working hard’, it just means working more effectively and becoming results-orientated rather than time-orientated.
The difference between hard work and smart work is the approach we take. Hard work usually looks like spending a lot of time just doing work and whereas smart work would look like having a clear idea and having a proper list and with breaks.
Managing time can be really easy if we have the right tools. Introspect on which task is important and allot respective time to each of them.
Some of them are listed here. Read on and learn how to manage your time effectively.
- Plan Each Day- Prepare a To-do list in advance. Write down each task and rank them in an order of high priority to least priority and complete them one by one. In this way, you can optimise your energy and time.
- Analyse Your Day- This is very important as it will tell you how you spend your time. This analysis will shed light on how much time is dedicated to specific tasks. With this knowledge, you can find areas to improve on.
- Plan your entire week on a Sunday. Sit down and chalk out your entire schedule and make sure to include them in your plan.
- Clarity- Having a clear picture in your mind before doing something can end up saving a lot of time. This will cut out unnecessary procrastination and distractions.
- Be mindful of time- Allot time for different tasks. Identify tasks that are taking longer than they should and adjust them accordingly. This will help you to eliminate unscheduled breaks that take too much time and affect productivity.
- Complete your most demanding and time-consuming tasks first thing in the morning when your energy and enthusiasm is high. As and when the day goes on, it tends to feel like a drag. So, it’s always to get the work done bright and early.
- Block out distractions while working by making use of helpful features such as ‘Do Not Disturb’ on your phone and computers. It is also helpful to use timers while completing time-sensitive tasks.
- Make the most of waiting time- The time we spend waiting in traffic, doctor’s clinic, airport, train stations can be used to answer e-mails, make important phone calls, read a book, or listen to a podcast.
- Exercise often, which goes a long way in managing stressors and triggers. Engaging in physical activities releases endorphins in the body and makes us energetic for a busy day.
- Get a good night’s sleep- A well-rested person is a productive person with good spirits and moods.
- And lastly, reward yourself for a job well done with treats like a chocolate, your favourite pastry, or some downtime with an episode of your favourite sitcom.
Time management is a skill that requires focus and organisation. It cultivates habits of punctuality and discipline in us, which are very important qualities to have. It can boost morale and make us feel confident as you can accomplish a lot more than you previously could. It can prevent a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety.
Remember that time is very precious and it must be used properly. Time is money and the popular saying is right, that is, time and tide wait for no one. There is always time to turn over a new leaf and learn to manage time well.