Time management. When done right it is one of the key building blocks to mastering your time. When done wrong, it is time well misspent.
So, how can you properly manage your time and avoid the many pitfalls along the way.
You’ve come to the right place.
Time Management: What It Is And How To Do It Right – An Essential Guide
You probably have a lot of questions…
- What is time management?
- Where can I get started?
- Is it an actual technique or is it one of those things that everyone says you need but no one actually knows how to do it?
This post covers all of that and more. Sure, I’ll explain the what and why and where, but I’ll go even more in depth.
My goal for you is to walk away (or scroll away) from this post with the confidence that you can apply time management to your life in an effective manner – because time management is important.
Let me explain why.
The why behind the time management
Before I dig into what time management is or why it’s important, I’m first going to share with you the why behind the why.
The meta why.
Because before you can start learning about time management, you first need to understand where it fits into the scheme of things.
These are various topics that all revolve around one thing – your time. In one way or another, each of these topics come together and are the deciding factor of how your time is spent.
If you have habits that dictate you eat a cheeseburger each day after work instead of working out, then you aren’t working out that day.
Or when faced with a challenging task, if you generally tend to procrastinate the day away until it’s pushed onto tomorrow’s desk, then you aren’t taking care of that task.
These topics all fit nicely together and ultimately decide how your time is spent. And time management is no different.
Your time each day
In a world where you have 24 hours each day, how you spend it is incredibly important. Because one day tends to blur into the next day. That blur turns into a blurred week and that week turns into a blurred year.
So on and so forth. You get it.
With that in mind, if you understand that your time is something to be harnessed, to be channeled and used productively, you can create an amazing life for yourself.
For instance, if you start running 1 mile a day for a month, 30 days will quickly fly by and you’ll have soon ran a cumulative 30 miles. An impressive achievement!
Or if faced with a daunting assignment, instead of pushing it off until “later”, you can start tackling it now knowing that the time is going to inevitably pass anyways. Might as well do it now so that you can free up some time for your future self.
Everything you do is a function of time.
If you use it wisely, you can create a life where you are in control. Where you can look at each day and call the shots. Where you are master of your time.
What you’ll need, however, is to take action. You can’t just read on and on forever. At some point you need to apply what you’ve learned. If you can do that, you’ll be on the right path.
Let’s find out what time management is all about.
What is time management?
You came here to learn about time management and that’s what I intend to teach you. So, what is time management?
According to the dictionary, the official time management definition is:
The analysis of how working hours are spent and the prioritization of tasks in order to maximize personal efficiency in the workplace.
Did you zone out reading that too? I don’t know why definitions are always so complicated. Let me make it a little simpler:
Time management = managing your time
There we go. That’s a little easier to read. Although, that definition may be a little too simplified, so to elaborate, time management is simply your ability to be the manager of your time.
In other words, instead of letting life happen upon you, it is about taking deliberate steps and actively choosing how your hours are spent.
So rather than waking up and playing on your phone for 40 minutes because that’s what’s easy, you pick up a personal development book and apply those same 40 minutes to something that you deem a little more important.
To provide another example, work rarely requires your full 8 hours. In most jobs, you can get everything done in 2 max.
So effective time management would not be sitting idly in your chair for 8 hours waiting for the day to end. No. Instead, it would be to get your 2 hours of work done and then use the remaining 6 for something that you see as more valuable – maybe starting a side project or going through a coding course that you can work at from your desk.
Time management is looking at your time and then deciding how you actually want or should be spending it.
Why does it matter?
Now you may be asking yourself, what’s the big deal… why does time management matter?
Because it’s taking a stand.
It’s saying NO to wasting time and YES to spending it on something that matters to you.
Time management is important because it allows you to take the reigns of your day and start making progress in things that you actually care about.
And when you combine it with productivity? Woah! Watch out because you’ll be running circles around your old self. But don’t stress about productivity just yet, we’ll get there later.
For now, let’s go through how you can get started.
How to get started
When it comes to time management, there is no one-size-fits-all, perfect strategy. Instead, what you’ll find is a slew of tactics and techniques that you can apply and experiment with in your own life.
Somethings will work out great, others will make you feel like you’ve wasted time. For me personally, I’ve found tremendous benefit in planning out my days.
Not only do I plan out my days, but I also plan out what tasks I intend to work on for that day, and then in the big picture I plan out my week and out further than that.
I like to plan.
Here’s a little time management hack for you – if you like to plan, or see it as something you can learn to love, I would certainly try it out for a few days. If it works, keep doing it. If it doesn’t, try something else.
I will say though, the best place to start when it comes to time management is somewhere you wouldn’t probably expect – goal setting. Yes, goal setting – like how to set goals and how to achieve goals.
Because goal setting forces you to analyze where you are today, look to where you want to be tomorrow, and then figure out how to get there.
So before you can start focusing on time management, you first need to know what you want. And goal setting will help you do just that.
Otherwise, if you have 6 hours of free time within your 8 hour workday, you’ll spend it on things that aren’t important and don’t actually matter.
You don’t want that! You want to make use of every minute. So start your goal setting journey here.
Time management and you
With your goals at the ready, it’s time to start building out your time management system. There’s a lot to cover, but this section is dedicated to the cause.
Let’s dive in.
Time management tips
When it comes to how to manage time effectively, there are a few tips that you should keep in mind. Some of those tips include:
Don’t check your phone first thing in the morning – Side step the urge to check your phone right when you wake up. Instead, use that time for something that you deem a little more valuable (like reading or meditating).
Make a list – Creating lists is a great way to keep yourself focused and on track. Doing so can also help you stay better organized. Try it out and watch as you start to spend more time on what’s actually important.
Delegate – One of the best ways that you can free up time for yourself is by delegating out or sharing responsibilities. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Have the hard conversations and free up your time for the things that matter most.
For more, you can read the full list of time management tips < there.
Time management strategies
You have some tips ready to go. What’s next? Strategies! Time management tips and strategies go hand in hand. They work together to help you form a solid time management system.
With that in mind, here are a few time management strategies that you can use to better manage your time:
Prioritize – Determine which tasks are urgent, important, both or neither. Figure that out and then rank them accordingly. This is a great way to gain perspective on what actually needs to get done.
Reduce distractions – One great strategy for making better use of your time is by avoiding distractions. I know, I know, it’s often easier said than done. But it helps if you use the Pomodoro technique.
Don’t do too much – In other words, don’t overschedule yourself. Know what tasks are important and which ones aren’t and plan your schedule accordingly. Don’t spread yourself too thin. Instead, manage your expectations and plan to do what your time allows for.
You can check out the full post on time management strategies < there.
Time management skills
Similar to tips and strategies, there are also several time management skills that you’ll want to work on and hone.
At this point, you may start to notice that there is often overlap between these terms. Some things can be considered both tips and skills. Others can be strategies and tips. And some may be all 3.
Don’t get hung up on the semantics. Instead, focus on the ideas that stand out to you and start applying them to your life.
Here are some time management skills that you can practice:
Utilize a calendar – I’ve mentioned it a couple times now, but planning is incredibly important when it comes to time management. So if you aren’t already using one, start using a calendar ASAP.
Pick up the phone – Sometimes texts or emails just can’t convey what can be said via phone. So don’t waste time going back and forth. Make a call and work out the problem in 5 minutes instead of 50.
Optimize your meetings – Meetings are huge time wasters. Do your best to only attend those that matter and avoid the rest. If you do have to go to a meeting, make sure it stays on track and is organized so that no additional time is wasted.
See the full post on time management skills < there.
More time management articles
Want more time management? Here is our full list of time management content:
- I Turned Off Notifications For Good – And It’s Awesome
- 5 Time Management Tips To Try When Working From Home
- How To Manage Time: The 6 Keys To Better Time Management
- Parkinson’s Law: The Little-Known Time Management Secret
- 12 Seriously Transformative Time Management Books
- Why Work Life Balance Doesn’t Exist – Only Balance
- Easy Time Management Activities That You Can Do Right Now
- Powerful Time Management Strategies To Do More With Your Day
- Time Management Skills: 10 Essentials To Boost Your Productivity
- Time Management 101: An Expert Guide To The Pomodoro Technique
- 11 Time Management Lessons You Should Learn In Your Twenties
When it comes to productivity and time management, there is a lot to go over. Honestly, it can be pretty overwhelming.
Unsure of where to start or what to do first, you may find yourself spending more time jumping from article to article than actually applying the lessons to your life.
I hate wasting my time. If you do too, you should check out my goal setting course.
Where does productivity fit into all this?
Now that you know about time management, you’re probably wondering… how does productivity fit into all this?
Well, if time management is how you choose to use your time – for example, deciding to spend 1 hour working towards your goals instead of binging a show – productivity is how effective you are with that 1 hour.
You may set aside that 1 hour for your goals, but when it actually comes time to work, you may find yourself scrolling aimlessly on your phone (wasting time).
Therefore, productivity is a combination of effectiveness and efficiency. It’s how quickly you can get a job done and how well it turns out.
When you combine productivity with time management, the results are amazing! When done together, these two forces help to ensure that your time is spent wisely and that you can make some serious progress towards your goals and ideal life.
If you want to learn more, check out my full guide to productivity < there.
Related productivity articles
Interested in learning the ins and outs of productivity? I recommend starting with these posts:
- How To Be Productive – 12 Habits Of Highly Productive People
- Get Motivated! How To Be Productive When You’re Not Feeling It
- 20 Productivity Hacks You Can Use To Be 400% More Productive
- Best Productivity Apps: Here Are 5 That You Need To Try
- 62 Productive Things To Do When Bored – These Are A Must!
When it comes to creating your ideal life, to owning your time and being able to choose how you spend it, time management is one of the key pillars to be harnessed.
There’s a lot that you can do to better manage your time effectively. To start, try applying just one of the above tips, strategies, or skills to your life.
Try it out, see what works, drop what doesn’t, and keep what does.
The journey of mastering your time is a long one, but it’s completely worth it. Take action and start changing your life for the better!