“Zhoom! What was that? That was your life, Mate! Oh, that was quick. Do I get another? Sorry, Mate. That’s your lot.”
– Basil Fawlty
At this moment, the following symptoms may face you:
- Multiple to-do lists
- An overflowing mailbox
- Incomplete task lists
- Lots of post-its and reminders
- Postponing tedious tasks
- Difficulties in setting priorities
- Stacks of paper on your desk
- A lack of planning skills
- A lack of concentration
- Always looking for things
- Forgetting things regularly
It doesn’t have to be that way!
Time management is critical to achieving success. Time is the same for all of us: we all have 24 hours in a day.
The big question is, ‘What do we do with our time?’ How do you spend your time?
The choices you make, and with what intensity and focus, determine whether you have a fulfilling life or a life of regrets and disappointment.
You can win an extra hour daily when you improve your time management skills. Maybe even 2 or 3. What could you accomplish if you “found” an additional 10-15 hours per week? Spend more time with the people you love? More exercise? Generate a higher income? Play a musical instrument? At last, write that novel?
Time is not renewable, and it’s way too easy to use it up, only to be gone forever. Wasting time can cost you dearly, in private and in business. Your time is a valuable resource that you should treasure. You can do several things to ensure you never waste another minute of your time.
So what is time management?
Time management is not about working harder; it’s about working smarter. Unfortunately, keeping up with your many tasks can be a scheduling nightmare.
Using your time sensibly will give you more time to make better decisions. You may not make a wise choice when you have to decide and don’t have enough time to think about the pros and cons. That can cost you time and money.
The key is to plan your time, down to the minute, if necessary. That way, you’ll be working smarter, not harder. You’ll be able to do all the things that need to be done, so you won’t have to say:
- “There is never enough time to do what is important.”
- “Other people make too many demands on my time.”
- “Given my busy schedule, it’s impossible for me to work based on priorities.”
- “If you want something done right, do it yourself.”
- “I’m often overworked in my job.”
- “I’m much too busy to plan my activities.”
Sounds very familiar, doesn’t it? But, it does not have to be this way because there is always enough time; it’s just poorly managed.
Too many people needing your time means they are controlling you, so you need to take back control. Priorities are essential; you need to set time for them and stick to the schedule. Let nothing interfere with that time.
Many people can do the same thing you do; you need to delegate those tasks. They may do it their way, but who cares if the results are the same? Again, it’s a trust issue that takes your time — time you can spend doing more important things.
Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and make time to plan your time. That’s what time management is all about — planning your time, so it feels like you have more of it.
Make a schedule and stick to it, no matter what. You should say, “I should stick to my plan for the day, no matter what happens.” If something comes up, set the priority or delegate the task. You’ll soon become used to managing your time.
There are some major benefits to managing your time.
- You won’t ever have to say, “I don’t have time.” Instead, you’ll be able to find the time once you set up your schedule.
- It also helps you make better decisions. What? Studies have shown people who use time management make better decisions. The reason is this: you have more time to think about the pros and cons of a choice before deciding to act.
- You’ll also gain valuable flexibility for your time. That’s important when a family member calls and needs help. You won’t get stuck at work because there’s time in your schedule for emergencies. You can’t say, “I don’t have time for your problem right now. I have to work, sorry.” Of course, there’s no way you can tell your boss you can’t do what he wants without putting yourself into a serious predicament.
- Time management also gives you confidence in your abilities and makes you look more confident. If you work too much, you look overworked and harassed all the time.
- Not to mention the stress overwork puts on your body. Think about not having a headache first thing in the morning, a tight stomach, or pain in the neck. Managing your time takes all that away and gives back confidence, enjoyment in your work, and flexibility with your time.
Time management is one of the best ways to beat the stress that makes work harder. The harder you work, the less time you have.
So you gain confidence, time, less stress, better decision-making abilities, and flexibility with your time, and you feel less overwhelmed all the time. There are only benefits to managing your time; there’s no downside. So why would you not use time management to improve your life?
Sometimes, the world doesn’t give us much time to react with the right choices. For example, you can damage your reputation by always canceling appointments or not spending enough time with your clients.
Planning, setting priorities, and delegating are vital in managing your time. The next time someone gives you an assignment that isn’t scheduled yet, you’ll have time to slip it in, and you won’t even notice. After doing it for a while, you’ll wonder why planning your time took so long.