What is Time Management?
Do you find yourself rushing through your morning, stampeding to the door, making your way through traffic only to arrive 10 minutes late for work because you had to wait for the train?
How does the rest of your day go?
Once you get yourself into work do you need to take a few moments to compose yourself? Perhaps you get a coffee and relax by chatting with a co-worker on your way to your desk. When you sit down you see five items that need immediate attention (some left over from yesterday) and the phone starts ringing.
You forgot the morning meeting! So you start rifling through your papers….
Is this sounding all too familiar by now?
Regardless of whether you work at home, an office or a factory or if you work for a boss or yourself, getting a grip on time seems like a daily struggle for millions of people.
Are You Overbooked?
It’s true that many of us have heaped our daily schedule full of activities. Despite cell phones, internet and microwaves it seems we never have enough time to take care of business, ourselves, our friends and family.
So many of the activities we do everyday are demanding our attention that it can be difficult to make plans for the future. Even if the plans will ease our burdens down the road. We are busy but are we productive with our time? This is where time management has become important.
What Will Time Management Do For Me?
Time management isn’t a physics course, but it is worth making the effort to review and apply in your busy life. Why?
Because time management isn’t just about having time – it’s about making certain our time is well spent. There will always be times in our life when we get extra busy (back to school, taxes, holidays, important projects) but learning the skills to manage the time we have wisely will alleviate much of the stress and frustration that can lead to burn out and fatigue.
Working Smarter – Not Harder
Your time is a valuable resource – both to your employer, business and family.
When we treat every task we do as a priority it is easy to slip into bad habits that eat into our time but do not give us enough benefits. We run around ‘putting out fires’ and face every day’s activities as emergencies. Nothing is planned and we never have time to get things done properly. Identifying these areas and restructuring your routine and mindset enables you to optimize your time so you produce the most results with the least effort.
How does this work?
By identifying daily routines and your own body ‘rhythms’ you can try to plan the most energy consuming activities during your most productive times of the day and use your less productive times for activities that do not require the same amount of concentration or effort.
This applies equally well to all parts of our life – work and home. But it goes beyond that. Time management also helps you identify time (or energy) wasters. Perhaps there are activities that must be removed or delegated to someone else. By learning how to identify these we will not succumb to guilty feelings that we were not "up to the job" but we will conscientiously decide that to keep doing them is a waste of valuable resources – your time.
Time Management is a Skill
You’re not at boot camp. Although the discipline encouraged by boot camps may be useful it does not relate well to daily life. Work and family usually call for flexibility and learning the skill of time management will allow us to make wise choices without being tied to a strict routine.
Would your boss be pleased if you turned down an important assignment presented to you with urgency by hearing you say "I have a strict schedule to follow and tomorrow is my filing day so I cannot accept another assignment at this time"?
Or would your daughter, having forgotten to mention her soccer game until the night before, be satisfied with "we planned to do the laundry, remember? It’s on the schedule."
Developing time management skills with the help of this guide will show how to determine what tasks need doing and when in harmony with your overall goals at work and at home.
You Can Make Last Minute Decisions
That means when you have a last minute invitation out for a ‘couples only’ supper on Friday night, but you’ve already booked up the weekend for family activities, you will determine if one more social activity will contribute to your happiness as a couple or drain you for the family activities you planned for the weekend.
When your supervisor asks you to help out with some backed up invoicing, you can determine if giving a helpful hand to an important part of the business will improve your reputation as a team player or will cause other, equally important jobs that have already been assigned to you to become delayed or jeopardized.
Making conscious decisions about why we use the time the way we do will prevent you from appearing incapable or feeling overwhelmed. You will have the confidence to give your answers (even if it’s ‘no’) without questioning your judgment.
If you do say no to a task you will be able to furnish an explanation as to why you are making that decision if need be. Or in the case of an employer or manager you can explain your situation and allow them to decide which task uses your time to the most profitable ends. You may find that they were unaware of your current load and are thankful that you are concerned about making the best use of your time and talents.
You Will Have a Purpose in What You Do
While time management is a skill that should be used day-to-day, it is also useful to help reach your long term goals.
Your goals may be hazy right now, or even obscure, but by incorporating them into the ‘why’ of what you do every day you will be making strides to accomplish them while enjoying what you do.
Even the drudgery that sometimes comes with life is easier to manage if you know why you must do it. Knowing why will make these chores a part of your plan, and thus a choice rather than a burden. Managing your time can also prevent these areas from becoming dragged out and thus affecting your usefulness and energy.
The first step to getting your time managed is to find out exactly how much your time is worth…