We wish there were more than 24 hours a day, so more could be done. It would allow us to have more time for ourselves and be productive individuals. Time management is a bit of a misnomer because you cannot practically manage time. But of course, you can manage your activities concerning the time you have. Many skills go into learning how to be more productive and time efficient. Being able to be time-efficient is one of the most important skills to learn in life.
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Time is valuable because it is limited. So how can you make the most of it? Here is your complete guide to managing time and enhancing your productivity.
Benefits of Time Management
Why should you be a high-functioning adult? Why should you look for ways to save time and be productive? Here are a few benefits of being good at time management.
- Being able to accomplish more personal and professional goals
- Not feeling stressed or anxious over insufficient time for important tasks
- Being able to take care of physical and mental well-being
- Having an overall positive outlook on life
- Helping others in need
Keep a Time Log
The first step to managing time is to understand where you are spending it. Keeping a time log can help you do this. Buy a diary or use your phone to note everything you do in a day for a couple of weeks at least. This will help you get answers to important questions like
- When are you most productive?
- Which tasks are the most time-consuming?
- How are you wasting time throughout the day?
- Can you get all your duties done in a day?
By identifying the problem areas and tasks, you can devise a plan to deal with them. It is important to have an idea of which tasks are time-consuming and identify areas where you can be efficient.
Learn how to prioritize your tasks. You cannot possibly do everything that comes to your mind. You need to divide them into categories and decide which tasks are the highest priority. Steven R covey in his book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, described a time management matrix, which can help set priorities. Its four quadrants are
Urgent and important: These are critical tasks, which require urgent action. E.g. picking up your kid from school.
Not urgent but important: These are important tasks as they yield critical results but do not require urgent action. E.g. scheduling a routine checkup with your doctor.
Urgent but not important: These are tasks that do not have great importance but need to be done at the moment. E.g. buying groceries
Not urgent and not important: These are the lowest priority tasks, which do not carry any importance nor require immediate action. E.g. completing a show season on Netflix.
Don’t Be Shy in Asking for Help
People feel incredibly uncomfortable delegating tasks to others or asking for help. Assign tasks that are taking too much time and are not worth your time to someone that has the right skill set for it. It will save precious time. If a loved one has stepped in to help you manage some of your work, do not hesitate in accepting the help. You can return the favor when the time comes.
Multitasking is a controversial topic as there are many opinions surrounding it. Some people find it easy to multitask whereas, others cannot do it at all. You can multitask menial tasks that do not require any real intellectual input. However, it is best to give your undivided attention to important tasks so you can perform well.
Prioritize Physical and Mental Health
It is necessary to prioritize physical and mental health. We often work too hard and push ourselves to the limit and fall sick or become mentally burned out. Overworking may seem like a quick way to save time, but it can be counterproductive if you fall ill and can’t perform. Therefore, take time out to relax and prioritize self-care.
Time is valuable as you only have a limited amount of it. Therefore, using it in the best way possible is crucial. If you feel overwhelmed with making too many changes, try employing a few of the time management methods discussed above. You can make more changes if you are pleased with the progress.