5 Tips to Improve Your Time Management Skills
Life is not getting less busy, and definitely not slowing down any time soon, on the contrary.
Not having the proper time management know-how to deal with the struggles of the daily demands of work, family, school, and other responsibilities can leave a person feeling anxious. Effective time management strategies can help alleviate stress and allow a person some leisure time to take care of personal needs.
Time management is the process of planning and organizing how to allocate time effectively and efficiently towards specific activities or tasks to achieve one’s goals and objectives.
When properly used in the workplace, effective time-management skills have a tremendous effect including increased productivity, improved work-life balance, reduced stress and burnout, optimized focus and efficiency, higher job satisfaction and morale, better goal achievement and performance, enhanced teamwork and collaboration, increased competitiveness and innovation, better decision making and problem solving, and improved time utilization and resource allocation.
Poor time management can have a lot of drawbacks. These can include:
- Missed deadlines
- Inadequate work performance
- Poor work quality
- High-stress levels
- Inefficient workflow
How Time Management Improves Your Mental Health
It decreases stress
When you become successful at time management, this gives you a sense of control over your life. You can choose to do whatever you like with your free time, resulting in more opportunities for activities and hobbies that turn into self-care.
It improves negative moods
Time management directly eliminates the stress that creates negative emotions by eliminating procrastination or self-doubt. Anyone who masters the art of proper time allocation will find themselves feeling energized and determined, having achieved so much throughout their day.
It helps people reach set goals
To-do lists break bigger, wider goals down into manageable steps, helping people accomplish their goals more successful.
Tips To Excel at Time Management
Get a calendar, and use it!
A paper or virtual calendar is essential to keep track of your schedule. Make sure you note all your classes, meetings, appointments, exams, work commitments etc. on your calendar. Remember to keep it handy, in your suitcase or bag so you refer to it anytime you need. I highly recommend you become familiar with your phone’s virtual calendar as it stays with you the whole day. It also gives you reminders of upcoming tasks, making it easy for you to stay on track. Don’t avoid to set your task deadlines on it too!
Whether you like to plan your day in detailed minute-by-minute increments, or broad chunks of time, make sure you put deadlines and due dates on your calendar, then work backwards so you have a handle on what needs to be accomplished on time. I found that the best way to do this is to take some time in the evening to plan your next day, setting out reminders and allocating your time correctly. Planning ahead will put you halfway there.
Prioritize important tasks
It’s simply impossible to get everything on our task list accomplished in time, right? Managing your time is not about getting everything done; it’s about having enough time for what matters most. It’s really personal management, a necessary skill for a better quality of life. Managing time in a more efficient way not only gets the right things done, but also gives you time to relax, have a break, de-stress, and breathe. I like to remind my clients to assign their tasks numbers according to their priority, based on importance and deadline. It’s a simple yet very effective way to identify what to start with first.
One of the most effective ways to manage your time properly is to avoid distractions. Whether it’s binge-watching Netflix or scrolling through your Instagram or Facebook, removing distractions will help you to fruitfully use your precious time. And yes, this does involve keeping your mobile phone either on silent/airplane mode (vibration-mode is distracting as well), or removing it altogether from your environment until the task at hand is done. Moreover, I find that my clients do best when they ‘prep’ the environment they work in, making sure it’s well lit, allowing the sunshine in, it’s devoid of a TV unit, it’s quiet and away from other family members, and comfy.
Take breaks and avoid multi-tasking
Scheduling your breaks within the day is as important as scheduling any other task to achieve. And yes, do put it down on your calendar and stick to it! You can schedule several short breaks to regroup your energy and thoughts, going at your own rhythm. See what works best for you. I like to schedule short breaks every hour, and a bigger one right after I accomplish an important task. This works well with most people as it reinforces them to get bigger tasks out of the way quickly.
Keep Track of your progress and adjust your schedule accordingly.
Don’t be rigid in your planning. Setbacks and delays are a natural occurrence. Accepting this fact will allow you to reset your schedule, remaining flexible and resilient to what emerges, and will keep you focused on results.
Luckily, many behavior modification methods and strategies are available to help you with your time management skills. For more information about how to successfully make use of your time, talk to Dr. Carla.