One of the most fundamental skills a person needs to possess is time management. Being able to manage your time effectively will lead to success in reaching your goals, establishing a healthy sense of accomplishment, and reducing your levels of anxiety. (Here is some additional reading to help you “Stave off Anxiety,” should you be interested.) So, let’s get started with time management for everyone.
For those of you who desire additional information on the definition of time management, here is a good article from Wikipedia; however, for our general purposes, we’ll define time management as the ability to understand, plan, and adhere to time allocation. And trust me, the following list is truly time management for everyone.
1) Set and reach goals – If you’ve never been an individual who establishes goals, you need to begin today—this very moment (i.e., right now!). Goals are your targets, and without a target, how will you know where to aim? Moreover, how much time will you waste?
Now, if you’re unfamiliar with goal setting, “What is Goal Setting and How to Do it Well” is a great place to start. You’ll need to create long- and short-term goals, making sure to define the results you’re seeking. Remember, you need something (a goal) to direct your actions; otherwise, you’ll drift aimlessly through life without direction, which reduces your overall chances for success.
2) Create to-do lists – You should have a prioritized list of daily tasks that need to be accomplished, which you created the previous day. The agenda should also have specific times allotted for each item. As you’re drinking your morning coffee, you can peruse your to-do list and focus on that day’s activities. Of course, your list does not have to be complicated to be effective, but it should be established before you go to bed. Period.
3) Do the BIG stuff first – Once you have a prioritized to-do list, you should work on essential items early in the day, if at all possible, while you still have plenty of energy and enthusiasm in the tank. Also, if you accomplish the more significant and challenging tasks first, you’ll be more inclined to complete the list.
4) Develop good habits – Good habits go a long way towards helping to increase your time management skills. For example, if you develop the habit of creating a to-do list every day, pretty soon, you’ll feel awkward without a detailed plan for the day. That is a good thing.
Conversely, if you have bad habits that are hindering your success, you need to eliminate those harmful practices, replacing them with positive ones. And you’ll be surprised at how easy the entire process becomes once you’ve established good habits. But again, don’t berate yourself for falling short here and there; instead, keep moving forward, and you “will” develop better habits over time, regardless of what the voice in your head says.
5) Stay organized – Staying organized is imperative to your overall success, because, if you’re always disorganized, you’ll struggle to stay on task, to locate items, and to keep your stress levels under control. The organization will improve your efficiency, thereby eliminating wasted time and effort—both of which you have limited amounts.
6) Delegate tasks – You don’t have to do everything yourself. Instead of overwhelming yourself to the point of exhaustion, enlist the help of your children, spouse, or even a friend. There is absolutely nothing wrong with spending time together while simultaneously checking off items from your to-do list.
On more than one occasion, I have spent time with a friend, talking and sipping on an adult beverage, while working on my car, cleaning the house, making dinner, or decorating for a birthday party. The results were: I didn’t feel guilty, and we both had a marvelous time.
7) Stop trying to multitask – I’ve said this before, there is no such thing as multitasking because you can only give your full attention to one thing at a time. So, whatever you’re doing at the moment, give it your undivided attention. However, that means you need to diligently schedule a time for yourself to relax, watch a movie, or browse social media. Don’t be that guy or gal who’s talking to someone while also checking Facebook on your iPhone. Those people are rude and irritating—there, I said it with unabashed verve.
And there you have my seven suggestions for time management for everyone. If you practice these techniques until they become second nature, you’ll be amazed at the increase in productivity. I know you can do it. But don’t be discouraged if it takes some time—that’s okay because there is no rush. You “will” succeed if you’re “Thwarting Procrastination,” continuously improving, and making any necessary corrections to facilitate the process.