When I became my own boss I was thrilled that I could set my own hours and work on whatever I felt like working on. In the beginning, this may have worked. I was wasting time and falling for time management myths like multi-tasking and focusing on being “busy.” After my epiphany, I realized that the only way I was going to succeed was if I started to manage my time more effectively. The conclusion is that time management plays a major role in your success — any person’s success. And time management certainly was going to play a major role in my success.
Time is a Limited Resource
“Time is your most precious resource,” writes Brian Tracy. “It is the most valuable thing you have. It is perishable, it is irreplaceable, and it cannot be saved.” It’s true. We all have the same amount of time. When the time is gone — it’s gone — and it’s gone forever.
Realizing the fact that time management means everything, can put things in a new perspective. For example, you could spend all day watching Netflix. But, that time could have been better spent on exercising, reading, learning a new skill, catching up with an old friend, or networking.
In other words, when you really understand that time is a finite resource, you begin to cherish every second of it.
Chronic stress can lead to heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, and cirrhosis of the liver — well, the list goes on. I don’t want to dwell on that. Stress can also affect your brain, suppress your thyroid, cause blood sugar imbalances, reduce your immunity and ability to heal, and even cause some to commit suicide. But there are some great stress reducers you can use in your company.
Here’s the thing, stress management and time management go hand in hand. When you manage your time more wisely, you feel more in control. You’re able to meet deadlines and prevent last-minute surprises. You also become more efficient and prepared to handle anything that life throws your way. Eventually, you become more relaxed and less stressed.
You Accomplish More With Less Effort
When taking control of your time you can improve your ability to focus and eliminate distractions, which in turn will make you more productive.
This because when you’re aware of what needs to get done, you don’t lose momentum. You focus on the task at a time and block out distractions, like email and social media notifications. As a result, you’ll breeze through your tasks more quickly.
Time management rules encourage you to work more efficiently by being organized, staying focused, and single-tasking, you won’t make as many mistakes. This doesn’t mean that your work will be perfect, but you’ll notice that you’re no longer having to redo a task because you forgot to add it to your list. You will not be forgetting an important item nor making severe errors anymore.
“Don’t make the same decision twice. Spend time and thought to make a solid decision the first time so that you don’t revisit the issue unnecessarily. If you’re too willing to reopen issues, it interferes not only with your execution but also with your motivation to make a decision in the first place. After all, why bother deciding an issue if it isn’t really going to be decided?” — Bill Gates
Small Steps Lead to Big Goals
Richard Branson once said, “If you don’t have time for the small things, you won’t have time for the big things.” I love that quote. In order to become successful, you need to set goals. Obviously, you’re not going to achieve them overnight. It takes time. It also involved baby steps.
Think of it like when you see a set of stairs. You know that you want to reach the top, but in order to get there, you need to take one step at a time. Time management helps you focus on each of those steps so that you can reach the top.
Identifies Your Top Priorities
Perhaps the greatest influence that time management is that it allows you to prioritize. This is because it forces you to focus on what is most urgent and important right now. As Sheryl Sandberg has said, “You can only do so much. There are five more projects you want to do, but you pick the three that are really going to matter, and you try to do those really well, and you don’t even try to do the others.” Other founders have determined to deploy a “no meeting day” companywide in their companies.
Improves Decision Making
When it’s crunch time and you have an important decision to make, this pressure may lead to making the wrong decision because you don’t have all the information or time to mull it over. When you’re not pressured for time, you can sit back, reflect, and analyze the information you have to make the best decision possible.
Eliminates Wasted Time
When you know what you have to do next, you won’t waste valuable time wondering what you’re going to do next. You can jump right into the next task so that you’re one step ahead.
Boosts Your Reputation
How successfully do you think you’ll be if you’re constantly showing up late to a meeting or missing deadlines? No one wants to work with someone who is so flaky and unreliable.
Time management ensures that you’re always going to show up, meet a deadline, and follow-through on what you promised to do.
Gives You More Free Time
While managing your time better won’t actually give you more hours in a day, it does help you make the most of these hours so that you can have more leisure time. For example, instead of spending a lot of time composing emails in your office — formulate your response during your morning and afternoon commute so that you can get home earlier.
Successful people realize that they can’t be on the clock 24/7. They need time away to destress, recharge and refocus. The only way to achieve this is by effectively managing your time so that you can stop and smell the proverbial roses.
Rules for Successful Time Management
While there’s no denying that time management plays a major rule in your success, how can you become a master of time management? Start by following these rules:
- Start your day on the right foot. Have a morning routine where you have time to gather your thoughts and prepare for the day.
- Have a plan on what you want to accomplish. Set reasonable and practical goals that you can achieve that day.
- Break large tasks down. Large and complex tasks can be overwhelming — which leads to procrastination. Break these down into smaller chunks that are more achievable.
- Prioritize and eliminate the non-essential. Focus only on your three most urgent and important tasks for the day and forget everything else. You can add these to your to-do-list.
- Delegate. If there are tasks you aren’t strong at or dread doing, hand them off to someone else to complete so that you can focus on more pressing matters.
- Use timers. A timer can keep you on track when you get distracted or make sure that you don’t spend too much time on a specific task.
- Stay organized. Make sure everything has a home and is returned when not in use. This way you aren’t wasting time looking for an item when you need it.
- Review your calendar. At the end of each day review your calendar. This way you can plan accordingly for tomorrow.
- Spend your downtime wisely. Read, write, learn something new, socialize with friends, volunteer, and build your network. Do any of these instead of working 24/7 or spending your free time on activities that don’t contribute to your success.