No one gets more than 24 hours a day. In that time you have to juggle work, family, dependants, eating and sleeping as well as any hobbies you may have.
You may be good at managing your time or saying no to extra things that can take up your time. Or perhaps you just spin all those plates in the air until something crashes.
If this sounds more like you, here are some top tips for managing your time better.
Why Is Time Management Important?
Maybe you struggle with procrastination or writer’s block. Perhaps you say yes to everything and then get overwhelmed trying to make it happen.
Or is social media distracting you from getting on with the task at hand?
All of this can easily happen while at work too which can impact your efficiency and performance.
Managing your time is not all about exact rules and time frames.
You still want spontaneity and surprise in your life. However, with the right tools in place, you can learn to manage your time so you do more of what you enjoy.
Rather than firefighting to keep up all the time.
Benefits To Time Management
By managing your time more effectively, you can start to take more control over your decisions.
Thus you can make calmer, more incisive decisions that need your immediate attention, rather than jumping to conclusions because you’ve run out of time.
At home, good time management will enable you to spend more time with the people you love, or more quality time on your hobbies and leisure.
You don’t need to check your work emails at home all the time or respond to comments on social media.
Additionally, it can help to reduce stress. When you’ve lost control of time you might be flying about in a rush trying to get everything down.
Turning up late for work can also cause stress and give the wrong impression of you. Whereas managing your time well can help you to stay calm and in control of a situation.
Furthermore, don’t forget that your free time is essential.
Reducing your leisure time or cutting it out altogether can lead to a decline in your health and wellbeing, which then impacts on your work or family.
Tip 1: Make a plan
Making a plan for your day is an obvious step, but it’s easy to get sidetracked away from this. Your daily planning may include jobs at work and at home, such as chores, meals, children’s clubs, school runs or meetings.
But what happens if something derails your organised plan? Your child needs your attention so the family meal has to wait.
Your manager asks for an urgent meeting at work but you have time booked in with a colleague who needs your support.
Sometimes daily planning has to make way for better time management.
This helps you to rebalance your lifestyle and reduce stress. It can also help you to become more mindful about what is a priority to you.
Tip 2: Set Your priorities
Choosing your priorities reflects on your values and goals. So tip number two is about setting your priorities to focus on yourself and what works for you.
Managing your time better is not all about a set of rules. It’s about looking at what matters to you.
This isn’t always easy. Many people get an occasional out of hours work emergency to deal with. However, if this becomes a regular thing, then it can impact on your own time.
Another example is your screen time. This isn’t to say you should cut out screen time altogether. But if your priority in the evenings is to spend quality time with your children, then perhaps you can put the screens away until they are in bed. Or join in with gaming time together as a family.
Tip 3: Use Time Management Tools
There are a number of different tools and techniques you can use to help manage your time better.
One popular tool is the Time Matrix, which helps you to decide which tasks are important and urgent and divides it into four quadrants.
For example, quadrant 1 is for urgent and important tasks. Such as you’re about to give birth. Or your kitchen is flooding. Or you biggest customer has a complaint.
Quadrant 2 is not urgent, but still important. Such as paying your taxes, doing exercise or looking for a new job.
You could put them off until tomorrow, but the more you do that, the more urgent it becomes. Working through these tasks links into self care, personal development and relationship building.
Quadrant 3 is urgent but not important. For example, answering emails within 10 minutes of receiving them. These tasks call for your immediate attention but don’t necessarily need to be addressed right away.
At this point they are distracting you from what you were doing. Often, urgent comes from other people. While important is from your goals and values.
Meanwhile quadrant 4 is neither urgent or important. These are the distractions that don’t even call for our immediate attention, but you’re doing it away.
Such as bingeing on Netflix or reading the comments on a news article or gossiping with friends.
Now you know the quadrants, the optimum way of using this tool is to spend most of your time in quadrant 2, with careful time spent in quadrant 1. Try and stay away from 3 and 4 as much as you practically can.
Conclusion: Top Tips For Managing Your Time
To conclude, did you know that on average 20% of a workday is spent on ‘crucial’ and ‘important’ things. Whereas 80% is spend on things that have or add little value. Which means there’s a lot of room for improvement.
To become more effective with your time, it’s good to think about your goals and values, what is important to you. Set the goals you want to achieve and set your intent on how you are going to achieve them. Then you are less likely to get distracted.
For example, if your goal is to be more healthy, then you could stop getting takeaways for lunch at work and start packing your lunch.
Go for a walk during lunchtime which increases your activity, takes you away from the desk and may even add some useful creativity.
Additionally, don’t jump on every urgent call on your time. Consider what is being asked of you.
It may be that what your manager thinks is urgent is not necessarily an important use of your time right now.