People say there aren't enough hours in the day. I agree, there aren't enough hours in the day to do EVERYTHING. However, no one is asking you to do 'everything'. You just have to focus on getting what you PRIORITISE done. Successful time management is about managing your time in a way that enables you to accomplish what you desire. For me, good time management is focused on reducing stress, being prompt in meeting deadlines, accomplishing personal goals while also ensuring that I’m fitting in things for me. But what are the keys to good time management, and why do so many people find themselves overwhelmed by their commitments? Check out the time management tips and tricks below.
How often have you had to say no to a new and exciting opportunity because you’ve told yourself you don’t have enough time? How often have you pushed spontaneous ideas, date nights or hobbies to the side because you are a slave to your calendar? The thing is, there is no such thing as not enough time. However, there is such a thing called bad time management.
Managing your time well enables you to achieve the following things:
- reduced stress or worry
- a secure vision of your future and accomplishment of your goals
- that feeling of being on top of things
- rest and taking time to let your mind relax
- ability to take time to gather ideas and get inspired
- more control over what you let into your day and impact your life
So how do we get a hold of good time management skills? The thing is, it isn’t as difficult as people make it seem. We all have so many balls in the air and so many roles that we play during a day, we often fail to look at our situation from a big enough perspective. Think of it this way, a young woman may have some sort of idea of what she wants to accomplish when she wakes up in the morning. Perhaps she would love to get out for a walk or even pop into a coffee shop because she hasn’t done so in a while. But all of a sudden, her children wake up sick and it shatters the plans and intentions she had for that day. Now, instead of just juggling one ball (her as an individual), she’s juggling her role as a mother and the needs of her children. The unfortunate thing is, the intentions and goals of a young women don’t always line up with the realities and priorities of being a young mum. Which is why there are two balls in the air rather than one. The complicated thing is, we’re not just individuals or parents. We’re also friends, sisters, or employers. We may have 5 or 6 balls in the air and I don’t know about you but I’m not the best juggler.
Time management is about taking in your situation from a big perspective and understanding how you can best manage your time to prevent yourself from dropping any of these balls (or mentally losing your marbles in the process).
At the end of the day, time management has a focal point of prioritising. Every single thing you do on any day has the ability to be given a priority level. Letting go of things which no longer need or deserve your attention is the first key. Then, it's all about figuring out what to do with the rest - which are the things you need to do, and the things you genuinely want to do.
Are you a student? Check us out on Etsy as we have amazing resources available for purchase which will help you study effectively and manage your time well.
Here are my top tips, read more about them in detail below:
1. Define your destination
2. Set long term goals and break them down
3. Visualise accomplishment
4. Find your why
5. Bite-size your goals
6. Set non-negotiables
7. Reduce ‘barriers to entry’
8. Prevent procrastination
Tip 1: Define your destination
Find yourself 10 minutes and a quiet spot. Mentally, put yourself in the position of each of your roles and write down what you wish to accomplish in that role. This could be as general, broad, or specific as you like. You may find that in some areas you have more specific goals than in others. For example, in your role as an individual, you may want to train for the upcoming Spirited Women adventure race. However, in your role as a friend, you may just want to focus on always being positive and encouraging of your friends and their passions.
For more on this, check out our blog post, 'How to Clarify What you Want' which comes with a FREE printable set!
Only when you know what you want from life can you go out and get it.” - Robert Ashton
Have you checked out our FREE printables? Head to our 'Printables' page here.
Tip 2: Set long term goals and break them down.
This is about taking these intentions you’ve set in each of your roles and making them into achievable goals which are broken down into manageable and actionable tasks. This is where most people get stuck. They seem to set these wide intentions but fail to put them into terms which they can actually act upon. It’s like putting something into the search bar in google without pressing ‘Search’. You come up with nothing.
1. In 1 year, what do you want to spend most of your time doing?
2. Why does this appeal to you?
3. What steps do you need to take to accomplish this?
Tip 3: Imagine yourself accomplishing everything you set out
While this is highly unlikely to be a reality. Asking yourself what your life would look like in a year if you’d accomplished everything you desire is extremely motivating. Also, it gives you the opportunity to reflect upon your goals and understand what you really want. For me, I like writing out what a perfect day would look like. From the moment I wake up, to the minute my head hits the pillow again, what would a perfect day look like where I accomplish all my intentions in each of my roles?
Tip 4: Find your Why
An amazing speaker named Simon Sinek wrote a book called, ’Start with Why’. Although he typically speaks from a business leadership perspective starting with why is vital to understanding your goals and enabling you to understand what you TRULY want. For example, WHY do I want to train for the Spirited Women event? Is it because it will motivate you to get active? Is it because it’s a social event with a group of inspiring women?
Tip 5: Break down your goals
This is all about simplifying what we need to accomplish in a day. Ever heard of the saying, ‘work less but work smarter’? This is about ensuring that the time you do spend on your goals is well thought-out. Breaking down your long term goals into short term goals makes things more manageable and maintainable. In the Spirited Women example, perhaps you wish to train 3 times a week with your team. This enables you to tick off both a physical and a social activity. If you’re doing this in a very long term perspective, then break them down into yearly goals, then monthly, then weekly. Once you’ve got a list of your weekly goals, you can even break these down into daily habits. For example, on a training day, put your clothes out the night before and set an alarm so that you can get out and train before the kids wake up or straight after they go to sleep.
Tip 6: Have non-negotiables
Once you know exactly what you have to accomplish, prioritise these tasks as if they are special appointments which have taken months for you to book. Treasure them, and don’t let other events get in the way. Put them into your schedule and don’t schedule anything which clashes with them. You’re ‘unavailable’ during this time. This is you setting your personal standards and priorities. Remember, if you are more motivated or productive in the morning, schedule these priorities for the AM.
Learn more about non-negotiables in our blog post, 'How to Make Time for Everything.' Here, you'll also find a FREE Weekly Planner Printable!
Tip 7: Reduce ‘barriers to entry’
In economics, we learn about high or low barriers to entry. This prevents a firm from entering the market because of the high barriers to entry preventing the firm from taking advantage of the possible revenue available. Much like in your own life, there will be barriers preventing you from achieving the outcomes you want. Perhaps it’s a job which isn’t driving you towards your goals, limited financial stability, or limited time due to family commitments. Not all of these are preventable. However, the first step to working through them is initially identifying them. Then work towards reducing these barriers by delegating other tasks in your workload, reducing your commitments, asking for help or simply letting things go.
If you’ve read any self-help book, you’ll know that defining your dreams and vision for the future is important. You’ll also know that what usually gets between you and achieving those dreams is you. The same applies to making the best use of your time. To put it simply, good time management means doing what you consider important when you feel best able to do it.' - Robert Ashton
Tip 8: Prevent procrastination
If you know, like me, you’re a sucker for procrastination, don’t try to ignore this. Become aware of your habits and set aside time for the things that usually distract you. This may mean scheduling 10 minutes at the end of the day to read through your emails for example. If you know you’ve accounted for this, you’re able to accomplish your priorities without feeling worried.
We have so much more to share about good time management! So be sure to let us know if you enjoy blog post like this. What tip was your favourite? Let us know how you’ll be practicing good time management this week in the comments section.
For more organisation and time management tips, check out our blog post, '5 Organisation Tips for 2019'.
From our home to yours,
Hi there! Thanks for checking out the Live Lively blog. I am so excited to share my passion for productivity, personal growth and wellbeing!