What’s your most valuable resource? Without coming across as too off-color, if you thought of anything other than time management then you would be sadly mistaken. You already know that time is a finite resource. That means once it’s gone, there’s no getting it back. But what is time management and why is it important?
It’s worth gaining an understanding that time management plays a major role in not only your success but also your overall happiness. Time management is a big deal, yet, so many people take it for granted. There could be a variety of reasons for not paying attention to time management. It may be because people just don’t realize how valuable their time is and why managing it is crucial.
What is Time Management?
Here at Calendar, we define time management simply as “the ability to plan, organize, and control your time.” Another big definition we use is, “save time, be more productive, and focus on the things that matter.” By setting aside the right amount of time, and protecting that time, you can apply this resource to the right activities. By applying your best super-power resource to activities where you’re best suited will help you reach your goals. Performing work you’re happy with will also help you maintain a healthy balance between work and life. As a result, we’re all more productive and fulfilled.
At its core, time management includes planning for the future, setting goals, prioritizing tasks, and monitoring where your time actually goes. It’s also used to set deadlines, delegate responsibilities to others, and ensures that you don’t waste any precious time on unproductive activities.
Although people have been tracking time for centuries as it was needed for their survival — like knowing when to plant and harvest crops — what we think of time management is a more recent development. During the Industrial Revolution people began to live by the clock instead of by the sun.
Over the years, people began to expand on this concept and explored ways on how employees could improve their performance. For example, Frederick Winslow Taylor, who published “The Principles of Scientific Management” in 1911, analyzed ways of how workers could optimize and simplify their jobs.
Today, however, the time management definition has expanded to include all aspects of your life. The main reason for looking at the sum total of your life is that you don’t want your personal and professional lives to be in a constant battle with each other. For example, working 60 plus hours per week doesn’t leave you with much time to spend with your family, unplug, or to grow as a person.
Why Time Management is Important
If you’re still not convinced that time management is important, here twelve reasons why it should become a priority for you to master.
You make the most of the time you’ve got.
Everyone, whether if you’re Jeff Bezos or Oprah Winfrey, have the same 24 hours in a day. However, the most successful people in the world are able to squeeze the maximum benefit to themselves out of the time allotted in life.
You may think that this ability to corner the market of time has something to do with carpe diem. And, in a way it does. But, it really means that the person takes care of all of the important pieces of life without having to sacrifice sleep or leisure time. With their priorities out of the way, the person can then go on a spending-spree with their spare time. It often appears to others these select few are able to crank out a ton of work, while also being able to enjoy their lives — and they can.
Without self-discipline, there’s no way for you to possess good time management skills. For example, you may be procrastinating on a task which leads to you spending all morning on social media and YouTube. If you had self-discipline, you wouldn’t get so easily distracted and get down to brass tacks. Rethink how you are going to handle this situation next time it comes up. How will you take hold of yourself and get to work when you are procrastinating?
I can tell you that beating yourself up for procrastinating has never helped anyone. But thinking differently about procrastination, might. Self-discipline doesn’t just assist you in your career. It motivates you to develop healthy and lifelong habits. Furthermore, it can boost your self-esteem, help you master specific talents, and pushes you to become a better person daily.
Do more in less time.
Time management isn’t about getting more done. Instead, it’s about being able to focus and prioritize your time so that you can deliver better results in a shorter amount of time.
I have never put much stock in the morning person or night owl theory. All babies seem to turn around to waking up early within a short amount of time. I just don’t see too many entrepreneurs that don’t get their backsides out of bed early and get to work.
But, let’s say that you consider yourself a morning person. That means that you have the most energy in the AM. As a result, you’ll be able to power through your obligations early. With that in mind, you wouldn’t schedule your most important tasks in the afternoon or evening when you may be dragging a little and don’t have the energy or focus to get additional work done.
Yes, stress can kill you.
“Chronic stress can lead to heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, and cirrhosis of the liver — well, the list goes on,” writes Max Palmer in a previous Calendar article. “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.”
“Here’s the thing, stress management and time management go hand in hand,” continues Palmer. “When you manage your time more wisely, you feel more in control,” are able to meet deadlines and avoid any last-minute surprises. “You also become more efficient and prepared to handle anything that life throws your way.” Ultimately, this will help you become more relaxed and less stressed — which could save your life.
It makes you feel more fulfilled.
When you’re able to complete your most important work, cross-off items on your to-do-lists, and have free time, you’ll have a more fulfilled life. I mean is that anything better than accomplishing all of your goals for the day and still get home in time to have dinner with your family or catch the latest Marvel flick with your friend? Wouldn’t it feel refreshing and empowering to wrap-up a project before it’s due so that you can disappear for a long weekend? Personally, that’s what we all should strive for in life.
You’ll be more reliable.
I don’t know about you, but I never want to be “that” person. You know who I’m talking about. They show up an hour late to a meeting, flack-out on plans at the last minute, and always miss deadlines.
Time management won’t always solve these problems. External factors like your car breaking down on the way to work or a social event could cause you to be late. However, if you’ve properly managed your time, that isn’t the norm. Instead, you’ll earn the reputation of someone who is respectful of other people’s time and always delivers what they promised in a timely manner.
It gives you an energy boost.
Here’s another misconception about time management; you keep working non-stop until you’ve completed a particular task. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Instead, time management prompts you to take frequent breaks so that you can rest and recharge. As a result, this will keep you from losing any momentum that you’ve built-up.
Prevents indecisiveness and procrastination.
There are several ways to properly manage your time. As already discussed, this could be knowing what to focus on and allocating the right time to that exact activity. However, it also involves planning in advance. For example, you can avoid hectic mornings if you laid out your clothes, packed your lunch, and reviewed your calendar every night. Now when you wake-up in the morning you’re ready to tackle the day and aren’t rushing around.
The benefit of this is that it speeds up and improves your decision-making. The reason is that you’re prepared in advance and aren’t spending time on less important matters. It’s almost like having your life is on cruise control.
Additionally, this can help eliminate procrastination and reduce unnecessary stress. And, it helps you preserve your mental energy for more important responsibilities.
It allows you to take advantage of new opportunities.
When you aren’t spending as much time on your work or wasting your time on unproductive activities, the door opens for you to discover new opportunities.
For example, since you’ve completed your most important tasks for the day, you can attend that networking event you didn’t think that you had the time to attend. At this event, you may connect with a new client or learn or learn a new skill that can make you more effective at work.
It helps you reach goals.
Imagine a time when you set a goal. Regardless of how big or small it was, it probably felt amazing. In fact, you most likely felt empowered and more fulfilled.
With proper time management, you are finally able to accomplish any goal that you’ve set in your life. In turn, you could be more motivated at work or follow-through with a personal life goal like learning a new skill or developing a healthy habit.
Identifies your priorities.
With so much going on in our lives, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s truly important. That may not sound like the end of the world. But, without identifying your priorities, you may end up spending time on the wrong activities.
Consider this. Your business is launching a new product. As such, you may have to work extra hours for the next week to ensure that it hits the market on time. Because of this, you know that you can’t meet a friend for lunch or schedule a doctor’s appointment during this time. These happy activities will have to wait until you have the availability.
I know that doesn’t sound fun, but, that’s life. You need to compromise so that you can be productive while still enjoying your life. It’s a juggling act that time management can help you accomplish.
Improves everything in life.
Saying that time management will improves everything in life — Hyperbole? Not at all. Now, time management may not fix everything in life — but it will improve everything.
Think of all of the instances and examples that have been listed. Thanks to time management you’re able to deliver quality work on-time — which can help you earn a promotion or obtain new clients. Outside of work, because you’re aren’t working around the clock, you can do the things that make you happy, take care of your health, and improve your relationships. That can lead to a more meaningful, productive, and less stressful life.
Most importantly, researchers have found that by planning your time wisely, you can maximize your happiness.
Getting Started With Time Management
There’s no denying that time management is important. But, it’s still something that most people struggle with. If you’re in this camp, here are some pointers to help get you started:
- Track how you spend your time to eliminate time-wasting activities. Also, this can help you stop over-or-underestimating how long specific tasks take to complete.
- Say “no” more often to avoid scheduling conflicts and distractions. For example, if you have a meeting scheduled, then you can’t accept another invite directly before or after that event. Moreover, this habit will protect your time and prevents other people’s priorities from weighing-in ahead of your own.
- Establish SMART goals so that they can be realistically achieved.
- Schedule your most important tasks when you have the most energy and focus during the day.
- Ditch your bad habits. Replace them with better ones, such as having a morning routine and taking care of your health.
- Break down your largest goals and projects into more manageable bite-sized pieces.
- Delegate, outsource or automate tedious and recurring tasks so that you can focus on more important items.
- Get organized in advance. Also, maintain that by clearing the clutter and putting everything back where it belongs.
- Batch similar activities together so that you’re not bouncing back-and-forth between various tasks.
- Stop multitasking and focus on one task at a time.
- Use an online calendar to keep you organized, receive reminders, and protect your time.
- Don’t go “full-throttle.” Pace yourself and take frequent breaks so that you don’t burn yourself out.
Of course, those aren’t the only ways to step up your time management game. But, it’s a start. The most important thing to remember is to find the hacks and system that works best for you — even if other’s tell you otherwise. Remember, it’s your time and you need to determine how you’re going to spend it.