Updated: Aug 26
Many of us face endless demands on a regular basis. Demands, and the pressure to meet these demands, can come from various sources including your family, workplace, school, and you. These demands can cause negative emotions and often leave many of us wishing for more hours in the day. While it is important to cope with the negative emotions that endless demands can cause, effectively managing your time can help reduce negative emotions and empower you to be productive.
What is Time Management and What Can It Do for You?
Even though it seems straightforward, time management is a multifaceted skill. Time management is the process of allocating your time to optimize your productivity. This skill can be applied to tasks for school, work, around the house, or your daily to-do list. Managing your time not only enables you to be more productive across the different domains of your life that you apply it to, but can also create extra time for you to enjoy hobbies or unwind and reduce negative emotions, such as stress and anxiety, that feeling overwhelmed by tasks can cause. Additionally, managing your time can empower you by building your sense of capability, responsibility, and self-sufficiency.
How to Improve Your Time Management
The process outlined in the following six steps can be used to help you improve your time management capability.
1. Assess your tasks
2. Set realistic goals
3. Prioritize your tasks
4. Create a schedule
5. Organize your environment
To effectively manage your time and increase your productivity, start by assessing your tasks. Determine what tasks you have to complete during your designated work time, which can be your workday, your day off, or the hour that you have during your morning commute. Next, set realistic goals for the completion time of each task. To do this, determine how long it will take you to complete each task. Although you are estimating the completion time of each task, it is important to anticipate a realistic estimation so that you remain able to set realistic goals and effectively manage your time. Your goals should include the completion time for each task and some extra time that you can use in case you underestimate a task’s completion time or an unforeseen issue arises.
Now, prioritize your tasks. Take a moment to consider which tasks are time-sensitive, important to you, or able to be deferred, and then list your tasks in order from highest to lowest priority. Next, use the list that you have just made to create a work schedule. This schedule should indicate which tasks you will be completing during your designated work time and the amount of time that you have allotted to each task, including the extra time. Additionally, try to schedule breaks throughout your work period to ensure that you remain focused and energized throughout it. Once you have finalized your schedule, organize your work environment by minimizing or eliminating distractions. For example, you can limit or turn off the notifications that you get on your phone. After you have organized an appropriate workspace, you can start working on tasks.
Tips to Help You Manage Your Time
1. Be prepared
While assessing your tasks, try to understand what each one requires you to do to make sure that you are fully prepared to complete them.
2. Stay focused
We all face a lot of distractions. Even though you may do your best to minimize or eliminate distractions, it can be easy for you to get distracted or for your mind to wander. Whether you find yourself thinking about your next task or the show that you have been binging recently, try to stay focused on the task at hand so that you have enough time to effectively and efficiently complete all of the tasks on your to-do list.
3. Know your limits
Completing your tasks can become challenging if you work continuously for an extended period of time. It is important to be honest with yourself and remain aware of your mindset while you are working. Even when it feels like you are running out of time, remember to take breaks to eat, hydrate, sleep, re-energize, and re-focus. Working continuously without breaks can compromise the quality of the work that you are doing and your health.
4. Time your breaks
Although taking breaks while you are working is important and can benefit both your work and your health, it is important to stick to your schedule. Try timing your breaks for the length of an episode of your favourite show or setting an alarm to remind you that it is time to get back to work.
Effectively managing your time can improve all domains of your life that you apply this skill to. Whether you are managing your study time, work time, or downtime, being able to manage your time can help reduce negative emotions and empower you to be productive.
What helps you manage your time?
Do you have any tips and strategies for effective time management?
Let us know in the comments below!