Time Management: How to manage your time better
How often have you said something like: ‘I don’t have time to do………..’ ‘If only I had more time I would…….’ ‘There just aren’t enough hours in the day……’ Have you ever stopped to think about time and how you use your time? Time is a unique resource in the sense that we all have exactly the same amount of it. You can’t reverse time or replace it, no matter how rich or influential you are. Despite this, relatively few people make the effort to learn about time management and how to make best use of their time.
Here are some benefits you can gain from good time management:
- Feel more in control of your life and your job or career
- Be able to spend more time on the things that matter to you most
- Achieve your goals more easily
- Get more work done and better quality of work
- Better forward planning and time for more important tasks
- Time to think and clearer thinking
- Increased confidence and credibility
- Better personal and working relationships
- Reduced stress levels and improved health
- Achieve a better work-life balance
You can’t really manage time but you can manage yourself
Time management is essentially about self-management. The principles are quite straightforward and you might say they are common sense. In fact when I deliver Time Management training courses I sometimes think to myself – ‘this probably sounds like teaching your Granny to suck eggs!’ The tricky bit of course is putting the principles into practice – and doing so consistently.
If you want to be a better time manager then you must be willing to change and commit to new habits. This takes a good deal of determination and self-discipline. But don’t be discouraged, there’s evidence to suggest that if you manage to stick to a new habit for 28 days, then it becomes second nature. The best approach is to adopt new habits incrementally rather than trying to change too much at once.
Here are 4 key principles of time management
Time management means taking more control over how you spend your time and making sensible decisions about the way you use it. At work this usually means not wasting time on irrelevant things and focusing instead on the most important tasks.
- Increase your self-awareness
We’re all different and we all have different working styles, different things that motivate us – and even different ways of wasting our time! A useful first step is to analyse your relationship with time. How do you use your time? Do you tend to work proactively or reactively? What are your time wasting habits? What things tend to throw you off track?
- Decide what matters to you most and what you want to achieve
Before you can start making the best use of your time you need to be clear about your priorities in life and work. You will find it helpful to set some goals and then you can monitor your progress against them. You might also like to think about factors that might help or hinder you from achieving your goals.
- Make it happen by getting organised
Being aware of how you currently spend your time and setting some goals is a great start. The next step is to get organised and stay organised! For most of us that means using various planning techniques or ‘tools’ e.g. Outlook, To Do Lists, monthly/annual planners, filing systems for paperwork, emails etc. What you use will depend on the nature of your job, your personality and your preferences.
- Learn some strategies for dealing with external factors
It’s fair to say that sometimes we can be our own worst enemy when it comes to time management. Perhaps we’ve let our good intentions fall by the wayside. At other times it’s the demands made by other people or frequent interruptions that steal our time. You can protect your time by developing assertiveness skills that enable you to say ‘No’ nicely to people or to reach workable compromises.
When it comes to managing your time better, there is no magic wand. It’s all down to you, your behaviour and your choices. It can help of course to have some targeted coaching or training to help point you in the right direction.
Please contact us if you would like to find out about training courses or one to one coaching on Time Management. We can deliver tailored or fully bespoke programmes to suit your business.