Understanding Time Management – Tips, Skills, Techniques and Resources

Introduction

When sometimes we take a good look at the list of things we must do and then count the hours each day has, an overwhelming feeling can make our hearts beat faster or wish to stop. A poor management of time usually is reflected by procrastination, expectations that are not very realistic, and also not knowing when is it enough.

By poorly managing our time we end up feeling unnecessary anxiety, lack of productivity and insecurity, so it’s crucial to get hold of our over-scheduled lives and learn how to get our tasks done and enjoy our time in the best possible way.

How often have you heard yourself or someone else saying that we are lacking time in our lives – “Where has all the time gone?” – The hours each day has seems to never be enough because our lives are becoming more and more demanding as our pace became frantically hurried. To live a quality life means managing our time consciously and with planned intent.

Are you making sure you’re spending your time according to your priorities and values? Once I was sitting on a bench under the warm and relaxing Sun and saw a young mother with a blissful smile on her face while pushing a stroller with her baby daughter, while drinking what seemed to be a tasty large coffee and thought to myself: “What a sweet moment in time and space, isn’t this absolute time management for both the mind and soul?”

What is time management?

First of all, time can be seen as a resource, and like any other resource it should be managed and planned with real care, because each day has a finite amount of time, and one has always more than just one single thing to accomplish. In order to accomplish many things, one needs to use the available time effectively and wisely.

To get a serious management of time requires investment of… time. No matter how much of a paradox it might sound like, it’s nothing but the truth, for in order to develop useful and effective time management skills, one must invest time out of its already busy schedule to make everything happen successfully. And with this time investment, more available time will be available to you in the end.

Probably you’re now thinking that you have already so much to do and so little time that you’re becoming even more overwhelmed knowing that you need to invest even more time in order to accomplish your tasks, but think of it this way: What’s the greatest benefit you can take out of properly managing your time? Happiness!

Why is it that you can’t really hurl yourself out of bed during workdays, but on weekends you simply jump out of bed with a big enthusiastic smile? It’s because you’re perfectly aware that you’ll spend the whole day doing just what you want, and all the leisure activities waiting for you bring you great joy, so you have all the motivation you need to get out of bed because you know there’s happiness waiting for you, as opposed to the workdays where you are expecting a bitter taste of misery.

In order to motivate yourself to develop and exercise appropriate and effective time management, always remember that in the end you will free up time that will be available for you to spend on your favorite activities, giving to your family all the love they need, and nurturing your soul by living in a constant positively organized and relaxing state of mind.

Are you poorly managing your time?

Because time management isn’t a skill we are simply born with, people tend to make mistakes that make their time seem to run away from their hands, so here’s a list of the three biggest mistakes one must avoid at all cost:

  • Overlooking the importance of prioritizing the to-do list

It’s common for people to come up to the realization that it’s crucial to have a to-do list, but if the tasks it contains are not arranged in a specific order, one ends up constantly performing irrelevant tasks throughout the day, be it replying to emails or making unnecessary phone calls. It’s better to have a handful of crucial tasks to be done every day, prioritized and arranged from the most important to the less important one. And then it’s simply a matter of always finishing the remaining most important task before moving on to the next one.

  • Doing everything at the same time

It can sound very funny, but it’s actually a fact that men should never try to compete with women when it comes to multi-tasking. The human brain becomes highly effective when one’s focused on one thing only. The momentum created by focusing on a single task for long enough tremendously boosts productivity levels.

One can multi-task when performing activities that are not really important, be it listening music while driving a car or doing some healthy sport or a yoga practice, but in any other case one must complete the task at hands without any distraction before moving on to the next item on the list.

  • Allowing distractions to constantly steal your precious time

For most people, this is a tremendous problem, for there are infinite potential distractions around us, and we just need to learn how to shut them down or keep them away from our reality. For instance, having your computer always interrupting you with notification pop-ups just to inform you that your antivirus software was updated, or that you have a new email can easily break the momentum you had on the task you were working on – disable all those unnecessary notifications and you’ll see your productivity ramping up!

Your working environment should be interruption-free. Whenever you’re working on something important, always close the door of your office or room to reduce the probability of having distractions walking in.

Isolate yourself from noisy surroundings, either with earplugs or by listening to music (preferably without lyrics).

Pay closer attention to how often you check your email account, or if you immediately start the day by checking it. By starting the day in that way, you risk losing precious time doing irrelevant tasks and certainly messing with the order of your to-do list’s priorities. Try fitting in your schedule two or three email checking moments per day and see your productivity increasing.

The same applies to social web pages such as Facebook – by constantly checking it or leaving its window open, you’ll end up with no time in your hands to do what really matters and simply feel bad about yourself.

How to properly manage your time?

Proper time management doesn’t come without effort, but it certainly comes easier with the right tips and tricks.

Always remember that you need to have your goals well defined and have a modest and realistic approach – when making a list of what you expect for a given day or period of time, prioritize the tasks and you’ll find success coming your way. The moment you know your goals, develop a plan to execute them all in the most effortless and seamless way.

Commit to your plan and use all your discipline to follow it through. Visualize in your mind’s eye what you want and where you want to be and follow that road consciously and always take joy from every accomplishment.

The moment you find the system the works for you, stick to it but never stop improving it whenever new knowledge has entered your life – when your goals become achieved like a properly oiled machine, your mental balance and your soul’s peace are the results to expect! Your life will become washed away from unnecessary stress, you’ll feel proud of yourself for achieving what you realistically expect from yourself, and everyone around you will also take much greater joy from working with you because your balance will certainly be felt and appreciated.

Conclusion and final words

All the organization in the world can end up backfiring and having negative results the moment your life becomes a laboratory procedure with no mistakes allowed, so never forget to nurture your soul and sometimes simply let it be, with no mundane complications or formulas. Try to begin and end your days with a deeply relaxing moment of silence, instead of waking up to the chaotic news on national TV or falling asleep while feeding your mind and soul with unnecessary low-quality entertainment such as reality shows or any other soul-insulting programs.

Take some of your time to feed your soul – read a good book, go for a walk no matter if it’s a sunny or grayish day, be with your loved ones, pray, be! Take several moments throughout the day to reconnect with yourself and catch your breath and bring light to your thoughts. Slow down when you’re feeling you are rushing too much.

If you treat time with disrespect, expect that to be reflected in every single hour of your days. But remember that if you treat it wisely and with proper care, it will certainly reward you.

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