One of the most important things people can do when they need to accomplish tasks is to make sure they manage their time the right way. Not only will that help them get more things done, but it will also help them get the most important things done first, or at least on time. But managing time isn’t always easy, and it takes some practice to make sure that things get done properly. Just saying that it’s important or creating a schedule for completing tasks doesn’t always work. That’s often because it can be hard to estimate how long certain things are going to take. One thing that takes too long can throw off the entire schedule — and then stress gets added and makes it harder to work. Here are some issues to consider.
1. What is Time Management?
Time management is exactly what the name implies. It means that a person is determining how to use set amounts of time, and that leads them to accomplish tasks during those time blocks. It could be as simple as saying that specific things will get accomplished by a certain time, or it could involve a more complex way of scheduling out particular tasks to make sure they’re all getting done the way they should be. When time is managed properly more gets done, but good time management also means that leisure activities and “downtime” options are in the schedule, as well. Time management shouldn’t only be about work.
2. How Can You Establish Better Time Management?
Establishing better time management is different for everyone. Some people need a very strict schedule, with breaks and leisure time planned out, while other people need a “to do” list for the day, week, or even longer. There’s really no right or wrong when it comes to how time management is handled, because not everyone operates the same way. If a detailed schedule doesn’t work, then it’s a good idea to reconsider. Time management should be something that feels natural once it’s established, and if a particular way of doing it isn’t working then trying something else is the next logical step.
3. Work Smarter, Not Harder
Working smarter doesn’t mean that the work is easy, but only that the work’s being done in a way that’s efficient and makes sense. Good time management contributes to the concept of working smarter, because it makes it easier to get things done and off the list or schedule in a way that shows progress and encourages productivity. Being productive doesn’t mean working every waking minute, or running yourself right into the ground with everything that needs to be done. It means doing the important things efficiently and tackling the less important things as and when you can. It’s not a competition and shouldn’t increase stress levels.
4. Avoid Multitasking, and Keep Your Focus
A lot of people insist that they can multitask well, and that it doesn’t hurt their productivity, but that’s not actually the case for the majority of people. It’s better to stay focused on one task until it’s completed, rather than jump around from one thing to another and back again. By staying with one task until it’s done, distractions will be lowered and stress levels will come down, too. It’s not good to feel like there are too many things that have to all get done at once. Just doing one thing and then moving on to the next thing will help with time management and provide a better opportunity to complete all the things that need done that day.
5. Learn to Say NO
Knowing when to say “no” is a very big part of time management and task completion. Even if something sounds like fun, or there’s an opportunity to take on more work, that doesn’t mean saying yes is necessarily a good idea. Considering how much time the new thing will take or whether it’s a good use of the available time is very important. Saying no has to be done sometimes, whether it’s refusing a personal invitation or turning down an additional project. Not only do people need to learn to say no to things they don’t want to do, but they also need to learn to say no to some of the things that they do want to do. There simply isn’t time to do it all.
By practicing proper time management, reducing multitasking, and saying no to ideas that aren’t going to be helpful or valuable, it’s easier to get things done. Remember that there are only so many hours in the day, though, and be reasonable and realistic about how many things can really get accomplished in that time frame. That can help you accomplish more and reduce your frustration and stress level at the same time.