Time is the most important resource we have for everything in life. It is necessary for personal, family, and professional activities. Hence the importance of knowing how to manage it in the best possible way. Finding the balance to fulfill all these aspects translates into a full life.
It is not about doing more things or doing them faster, but about organizing our tasks by priority and doing them correctly.
What is time management?
We call time management the organization of this valuable asset in an effective way. It’s about planning and optimizing the time dedicated to each activity. And assigning tasks and objectives to each day, week, and month, according to their priority, and progressively accomplishing them as intended.
Here we make room for personal space, leisure and recreation, family time, education, and work hours. The time assigned to each aspect of our life is important and we try not to mix or interrupt one with another. However, there is also room for flexibility and redefining goals in case of eventualities.
Importance of time management
As a tool, time management allows balancing the amount of time invested with the quality of the result obtained, understanding that spending long uninterrupted periods in front of the computer, for example, will not translate into a great performance if the mind is somewhere else.
When we recognize our needs and adapt our daily lives to fulfill our duties in a balanced way, we:
- Avoid feeling overwhelmed and stressed, forcing ourselves to spend more time than we can give to a task.
- Improve our productivity through dedicating time blocks to focused work.
- Understand that we work more effectively in small time intervals, and we get the most out of them.
- Achieve more with less effort, completing tasks with high quality.
- Get the most out of the workday and can enjoy our work.
- Improve our completion rate, leaving behind the days of starting a thousand things at once only to leave them half way through.
- Get daily satisfaction, seeing that the task list is completed to the fullest.
- Improve our professional reputation, by delivering great results in the expected time.
- Have time to share with loved ones, work on ourselves, and enjoy the little and big things in life.
“Why not, if time is all I have?”
Many times we see people – even ourselves – making the mistake of committing to projects or work without guarantees, under the premise that they have nothing to lose, but time.
And while it is okay to take certain risks, and even if it seems that time is a free resource, and even if we are not really doing anything else, we cannot get involved in something without assessing the costs and benefits it brings us.
Time is really money, it is limited, and even worse, we don’t know when it will run out. That’s why, for me, it’s not an option to accept a draining offer, with minimal or no guaranteed remuneration, that doesn’t even leave room for oneself, or just to get in. You may end up wasting time.
The first one to value your time should be yourself. Only then will others value it and respect it.
Keys to better time management
- Make a list of all pending tasks. Give them a deadline and classify them as urgent, important, not important, giving priority to the most urgent or necessary ones. You can use the Eisenhower matrix for this.
- End your day by organizing your agenda for the next day. Mark today’s tasks that you managed to finish, readjust your agenda for those that you could not do and do not end your day without listing your duties for the next day. This way you can start your day focused on what you have to do. You can use a methodology such as Kanban to organize your tasks, digital tools such as Trello, or go to the pencil and planner or poster board if you are more traditional. The important thing is to get organized, not the how.
- Don’t overload your agenda, set achievable goals for each day and always leave room for unforeseen events and delays.
- Set a time limit for each task. Try not to spend more time than necessary on an activity.
- Limit interruptions so that you can focus 100% on each task. For example, turn off the wifi, limit notifications, put a sign on the office door, whatever helps you to avoid disturbances or distractions in that period when your focus is so necessary.
What do you focus your time on?
Time management makes you efficient and that is why it is a valuable skill that you are not born with, but that we must learn in the way. Think about how to make the best use of your time when making plans or doing any activity.
Whether your deadline is just around the corner or months away. Starting today with small but smart steps will help you not only meet the pace but also the quality you’re looking for.
I am proof of this: almost a year ago I committed myself to this website, to create content, to launch my books, audiobooks, and their translated versions, and to publish the first chapter of my comic (and now I’m debating between publishing the second chapter for free or for sale, leave your opinion in the comment section and help me decide).
Many times I thought about giving up on this project. But I decided to transform the time I was wasting between doubts, loneliness, and lack of motivation into working on new things, involving friends and family in the development of this, and many other skills to keep growing.
Connect with Nico Pengin