When first starting out, time management can be a pretty elusive thing. Especially when trying to figure out just how to manage time yourself.
It doesn’t have to be that hard though.
There are a handful of keys that you can utilize to help you manage time and get more done in your 24 hours. That’s what this post is all about so you’ve come to the right place.
How To Manage Time: The 6 Keys To Better Time Management
Now, when it comes to understanding the basics like:
- What time management is
- Why it matters
- And how to hone your time management craft
I recommend starting with my time management guide. It’ll give you the basics you need to start managing your time like a pro.
But for this post, you only need to know one thing: time management is a critical component of harnessing your time. If you do it right, you will be well on your way to creating and achieving your ideal life.
So with that, let’s get into it.
How to manage time wisely (key #1) – goal setting
The first key to managing your time oddly enough has nothing to do with time management. But, it has everything to do with where you direct your time.
With that in mind, the first key to better managing your time is goal setting.
Goal setting is important because it gives a direction to your time. You may have great time management skills, but if you don’t have a plan for your time you’ll just be moving in circles.
So give your time a direction through the power of goal setting. To learn more, I recommend the following posts:
- Goal setting guide
- How to set goals
- How to achieve goals
- Overcoming adversity along the way
- And tackling your daily goals
Effective time management strategies (key #2)
With your goal setting plan in place (seriously, start with goal setting before doing anything else), the next stop on your road to time mastery has to do with strategy.
That said, the second key to better time management is effective time management strategies.
As the name implies, time management strategies are the various tactics that you can apply to your life to enhance your daily efforts. So when it comes to how to manage time, strategies are a must.
But, here’s the thing.
A lot of this is an experiment. What works for me, or the person next to you, or someone down the street, may not work for you. Everyone’s priorities are different and so is how they choose to manage their time.
Here are my top time management strategies for you to try. Give them a shot. If you like them, keep doing them. If you don’t, take a look at my full list of time management strategies and choose a few more to sample.
- Be proactive – take care of problems before they actually become problems.
- Get started – start your day with your hardest task first so that you don’t procrastinate.
- Plan ahead – have a plan for your time each day.
How to manage time (keys #3-4) – supplemental resources
When it comes to learning, there’s nothing I love more than step-by-step instructions. Especially when it comes to something as ambiguous as time management.
That’s why these next keys are so important.
The third key is my time management course and the fourth is my time management bootcamp.
Plain and simple, I’ve created a course to help you become a time management pro. I know how hard it is to understand the depth of time management and how challenging it is to actually apply the lessons.
I know how much time it takes to actually learn and go through everything on your own – and I don’t want that for you.
So I created a course.
A detailed, step-by-step course that will show you the various things you need to be doing daily to help you better manage your time. You can learn more about the time management course < there.
And if you want to try out the course for free before enrolling, you can sign up for my free, 6 day bootcamp.
Each day, for 6 days, I’ll email you one lesson straight from the course.
It’s a great free introduction to the world of time management and it will give you a real sense for how I do things. You can sign up for the bootcamp right here:
Effective time management skills (key #5)
Similar to strategies, which involve the tactics that you employ, you’ll also need to work on and develop your time-related skills. That’s why this next key is so important.
The fifth key is time management skills.
Time management skills are those time-related traits that you need to work on and hone. Just like when throwing a baseball, you can train yourself to throw faster, further, or have better accuracy.
Your time management skills are much the same.
With them, you can train yourself to better manage your time today, tomorrow, or in the future. You can have skills related to how you treat an hour in the morning, and different skills for how you stay on-task in the class or at home.
So when it comes to how to manage time, developing your time management skills is a must.
Here are my 3 favorite time management skills that I’m working on right now. You can try them out for yourself, or you can check out the full list of time management skills < there.
- Be flexible – don’t over-schedule yourself. Leave room for change.
- Optimize meetings – work to avoid them, or if mandatory, have a strict plan for them.
- Learn when to say yes or no – avoid time wasters while keeping yourself open to new experiences.
How to manage time (key #6) – time management books
I owe so much of what I know today to the power of books. Books have given me a world of knowledge and I know they can do the same for you.
That’s why the sixth key to managing your time better is through time management books.
That said, there are 2 things to keep in mind when it comes to books:
- Some are better than others
- You will come across some at just the right moment, while others you won’t
To touch on that first point – when deciding whether or not to purchase a book, make sure you check out the reviews, table of contents, and maybe even try and preview a few pages.
Some books are definitely better than others.
For that second point – you will come across some books at just the right time. Whatever you’re going through, wherever you are in life, sometimes you’ll read a book at exactly the right moment.
And other times, it’ll be way off.
To help explain, here are 2 quick examples explaining my point.
When it’s totally irrelevant
I once read a highly, highly recommended book some years ago. It was all about ways to be effective while working in a corporate-setting.
The thing was though, I wasn’t working in a corporate-setting. I was trying to start my own business (aka the opposite of a large corporation). But, because it was so highly rated I immediately jumped on it and started reading it.
I completely hated it. Utterly and totally did not like it.
Because it was irrelevant to me. Recommended or not, it did not speak to where I was at in life.
When it connects perfectly
Around that same period of time I read a book on how to manage time and create more freedom in my life. It was also highly recommended so I gave it a read.
I loved it.
The book hit me at just the right moment. And not only did I absolutely love it, but I now also recommend it to anyone that will listen.
Your time management books
With those examples in mind, conduct your own book research with a giant grain of salt.
Only pick up books that are relevant to you. Purchase ones that you find interesting and take notes while you read them. Be open to them changing your life and they surely will.
You can check out my full list of recommended time management books (and find out which book in particular I am always recommending) < there.
How to manage time for a student
When it comes to how to manage time, you now have your 6 keys for better time management. With that, let’s give you some real world examples to help you see how to apply the lessons to your life.
To start, let’s consider how you can manage time as a student using the 6 keys. You can:
- Set goals (#1) to help you achieve better grades
- Use the strategy of planning ahead (#2) to keep you organized and prepared for exams
- Go through my course (#3, #4) to help you create better study habits (ie. be more productive)
- Apply the skill of saying no (#5) to ensure you give yourself enough time to get your schoolwork done
- And read a couple books (#6) to help you learn of even more ways to manage your time while in school
That’s just 1 example though. Students in any capacity can use these keys to better manage their time and get more done effectively.
How to manage time at home
Those 6 keys can be applied to your home life just as easily. So in this case, let’s say you’re a stay-at-home parent looking to reign in some of the chaos of the day.
You could apply each key in the following way. You can:
- Set a goal (#1) to create at least 1 hour of me-time each day
- Apply the strategy of being proactive (#2) to resolve any potential kid problems before they start
- Use the lessons from my course (#3, #4) to reduce the distractions and noise around you so that you can focus on the things that you need to get done
- Employ the skill of flexibility (#5) to make sure you don’t overschedule your’s and the kids’ day at the museum
- And go through a few books (#6) to help you become more aware of your daily timing and to become a more present parent
Again, this is just 1 scenario out of a long list of options. But hopefully it’s starting to show you the possibilities that these time management keys provide.
A bonus key
There’s one final key we haven’t touched on yet. Technically, it’s a bonus key because it doesn’t deal with managing your time, but it does impact how effective you are with it.
The bonus key is productivity.
Because while time management is good for blocking out your time, productivity is all about how effective you are within that blocked out time.
Productivity is a combination of speed and accuracy and to learn more I recommend the following posts:
When it comes to creating your ideal life, time management is one of the critical pillars that you need to consistently work on. So don’t neglect it!
Use the keys above to your advantage. Try some out, do an experiment, iterate as you go.
When it comes to how to manage time you will find that you are constantly growing and improving. In turn, that improvement will inevitably lead you to doing bigger and better things.
But remember, there is no perfect time management strategy.
However, if you use the keys recommended above you’ll certainly be on the right track. So don’t waste any time. Scroll back up, choose a key or 2, and start changing your life for the better.