After coaching many different clients, I have come to realise that to effectively manage time, we need to first realise that time itself cannot be managed! We all get seven days a week and 168 hours within those seven days. This cannot be increased or changed in any way. However, what we can change, improve, and manage, is ourselves. In essence then, true time management now becomes management of ourselves – “self management”!
So being aware of this, we now know that it is not the amount of time we have that is important; it is how effectively we use that time that makes the difference. Successful people have exactly the same amount of time in the day as each of us. The only difference is they use their time differently – more effectively.
You might say, “I don’t have the time to commit to learning some time management skills”. I hear this a lot during sessions, but the fact is, if this were true, do you really think you have the time not to? Time management principles and techniques are usually quite simple to learn. They do not require deep thinking, a high IQ, nor lots of preparation. In fact, if you were to put the search term “time management resources” into a search engine, you will get dozens of websites offering help, advice, tips, and suggestions, on how to manage and prioritise your time.
To sum time management up, I would say you need to ask yourself two questions:
1. Do I physically have enough time to do the tasks that are required of me?
We only have so much time. Sometimes it is not always physically possible to fit everything in. If this is the case, then you need to prioritise and drop some of the low priority tasks/activities to claim some time back.
2. Do I fully optimise and use my time effectively?
If the answer is no, then you might want to learn and implement some time management principles and techniques.
Below is a list of some time management (self management) techniques and tips that I use during sessions. You may find a couple of them helpful yourself. They are in no particular order.
- Figure out when (what time of the day?) you work most efficiently.
- Establish your priorities for what you want to get done. Identify the tasks and activities that are the highest priority and eliminate those of low priority.
- Allow more time than you think you will need. This makes your schedule flexible and allows for the unexpected.
- Get into the habit of using your odd five minutes here and there more productively. Do not just dismiss it as only five minutes – they add up throughout the week!
- Accomplish one or two important tasks rather than lots of unimportant ones.
- Keep a calendar/diary. Mark all your important dates/tasks.
- Keep a list of “Things to Do” and mark them off as they are completed.
- Everyday, make a list of what you have to do tomorrow.
- When possible, do the unpleasant tasks first.
- Tidiness makes your life easier and reduces stress.
- Allow time to relax, recharge and do nothing.
- Leave time in your schedule for unplanned activities.
- Know your strengths, skills and weakness.
- Ask yourself, “What am I doing that someone else could do for me?” Delegate!
- Do not be afraid to ask for help.
- Bin things straight away to reduce the clutter (junk mail, newspapers and spam email, etc).
- Divide large overwhelming tasks into smaller chunks, and attack them one at a time.
- Complete at least one task each day that you do not like to do, but know you should.
- Realise that all your email checking, surfing the internet and other procrastinations add up to hours of lost time each week (sometime even each day!)
- Watch less TV. If you watch TV for three hours a day from the age of five years old, by the time you are fifty-five, the amount of TV you will have watched will be the equivalent to watching non-stop 24 hours a day for six years and three months. If you cut this down by just one hour a day (so then only watch two hours of TV), you will have gained back over two years worth of time.
Thank you KELLEPICS Stefan Keller for the background image https://pixabay.com/illustrations/fantasy-portrait-clock-time-woman-5536019/