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Published on March 28, 2018

The Importance of Time Management: 8 Ways It Skyrockets Your Success

The Importance of Time Management: 8 Ways It Skyrockets Your Success

No matter how you slice it, there are only 24 hours in a day. Time is a finite resource, and it’s up to you to make the most of it.

If you lose money, you might get a chance to make it back; but a wasted hour is irreplaceable.

While we can’t add hours to our day, I can help you understand the importance of time management, and how time management helps you maximize the time you do have. This isn’t just a skill for entrepreneurs to master. Everyone could benefit from managing their time more effectively and appreciating it for the finite resource that it is.

The importance of time management

The importance of time management comes down to how much it impacts your personal and professional life. Time management is organizing your day so that you find the best use for every moment.

Excellent time management allows you to create a healthy balance in your workflow and home life.[1] The consequences of failed time management include missing deadlines and living with excessive stress.

Even if you’ve failed to manage your time in the past, it’s never too late to change. Set deadlines, get organized, delegate tasks, and prioritize your to-do list to get the most value from your time.

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Why time management matters to you

With the right time management skills and tools, you will experience a lot of benefits from good time management. Here are 8 reasons why you should start to manage time better:

1. Do more with less

Knowing how to manage your time means that you’ll be able to accomplish more in shorter periods of time with less effort. Think about how much more you accomplish when you truly focus.

Prioritizing and matching tasks to blocks of available time is one way to do more with less effort. Instead of trying to do deep work in the ten minutes between meetings, complete a minor task. This frees up larger blocks for projects that require concentration.

If you find an extra hour of productivity in your day by using your time wisely, that gives you an additional 250 productive hours at work every year.[2]

2. Make work fulfilling and life meaningful

There’s nothing more frustrating than spending a day being completely busy but also entirely unproductive. A feeling of accomplishment helps you stay motivated at work. At home this translates into being able to relax and enjoy your time.

By being conscious of how you use time, you’ll have more of it to spend on the things you love.

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3. End indecisiveness

Worrying about whether you have made the right choice can be time-consuming. Naturally, big decisions take up a lot of time but the small decisions you make every day can also be huge time-wasters. Deciding what to do next on your to-do list, for example, can have a major time cost.

Instead of staring blankly at your to-do list wondering what to tackle, create a plan or a routine.[3] This keeps you from using any of your precious minutes questioning what you should do next.

4. Achieve goals faster

Many people have big goals to feel fulfilled. But without understanding the importance of time management, these goals could sit on the shelf indefinitely.

For example, perhaps one of your goals is to lead a healthier lifestyle but you can’t seem to carve out time for gym sessions. Chances are, the time you need already exists. You just have to find it. By making the time to attend to your health, you can make necessary and desirable changes quickly.

5. Boost confidence

Time management can improve your confidence. You’re more likely to take care of yourself properly if you have the time to do so. You’ll look and feel more put together before you even set foot into your work space.

In addition, you’ll get a regular boost from feeling a sense of accomplishment. Meeting your deadlines and exceeding expectations is a huge motivator. On the flip-side, failing to meet deadlines and struggling to keep up leads to burnout.[4]

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6. Have more energy to achieve more

Constantly feeling worn out and stressed is miserable. It also makes it hard to take on new challenges. An efficient workflow gives you the time to build new skills to improve your work.

This doesn’t only apply to work, though. Think of how much more exciting life is when you feel energized. With a boost of energy, you’re more likely to try a new hobby or go on an adventure instead of planting yourself on the couch.

7. Make more time to do the things you love

After you consider the amount of time that it takes for you to sleep, work, eat, commute and attend to your personal hygiene, you have about four hours per day to devote to the things you do for fun.

By learning to manage your time, you’ll have more opportunities to work on personal growth, spend time with family or visit friends. This quality time is priceless.

8. Reduce stress and avoid feeling overwhelmed

In a given day, you might be tasked with creating a mock up for a project, taking your child to practice, leading a discussion at work and buying groceries. When every task on your to-do list seems equally important, you’ll become overwhelmed.

Good time management allows you to look at your to-do list, categorize, and prioritize everything that’s expected of you. You’ll readily see the distinctions between work-related and personal tasks. You’ll know whether you can delegate some tasks or shuffle items so that you can be more effective.

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The result is a calmer and more-accomplished you.

Start managing your time

Time isn’t an infinite resource for us. By becoming excellent at time management, everyone can make the most of the time they are given. Failing to manage your time means losing hours you can never get back. Succeeding opens a world of possibilities.

By sharpening your time management skills, you can expect to be more confident and effective at work, and you’ll have more time to spend with your family. You can take care of yourself and feel a strong sense of purpose when you produce your best work.

Find out how you can boost your time management skills here: 20 Quick Tips For Better Time Management

Effective time management leaves you energized, which translates into living fully and trying exciting things in the new time you’ve found in your day.

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Forget Learning How to Multitask: Boost Productivity 10X More with Focus

Forget Learning How to Multitask: Boost Productivity 10X More with Focus

There’s a dark side to the conveniences of the Digital Age. With smartphones that function like handheld computers, it has become increasingly difficult to leave our work behind. Sometimes it seems like we’re expected to be accessible 24/7.

How often are you ever focused on just one thing? Most of us try to meet these demands by multi-tasking.

Many of us have bought into the myth that we can achieve more through multi-tasking. In this article, I’ll show you how you can accomplish more work in less time. Spoiler alert: multi-tasking is not the answer.

Why is multitasking a myth?

The term “multi-tasking” was originally used to describe how microprocessors in computers work. Machines multitask, but people cannot.

Despite our inability to simultaneously perform two tasks at once, many people believe they are excellent multi-taskers.

You can probably imagine plenty of times when you do several things at once. Maybe you talk on the phone while you’re cooking or respond to emails during your commute.

Consider the amount of attention that each of these tasks requires. Chances are, at least one of the two tasks in question is simple enough to be carried out on autopilot.

We’re okay at simultaneously performing simple tasks, but what if you were trying to perform two complex tasks? Can you really work on your presentation and watch a movie at the same time? It can be fun to try to watch TV while you work, but you may be unintentionally making your work more difficult and time-consuming.

Your brain on multi-tasking

Your brain wasn’t designed to multi-tasking. To compensate, it will switch from task to task. Your focus turns to whatever task seems more urgent. The other task falls into the background until you realize you’ve been neglecting it.

When you’re bouncing back and forth like this, an area of the brain known as Broadmann’s Area 10 activates. Located in your fronto-polar prefrontal cortex at the very front of the brain, this area controls your ability to shift focus. People who think they are excellent multitaskers are really just putting Broadmann’s Area 10 to work.

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But I can juggle multiple tasks!

You are capable of taking in information with your eyes while doing other things efficiently. Scientifically speaking, making use of your vision is the only thing you can truly do while doing something else.

For everything else, you’re serial tasking. This constant refocusing can be exhausting, and it prevents us from giving our work the deep attention it deserves.

Think about how much longer it takes to do something when you have to keep reminding yourself to focus.

Why multitasking is failing you

Multitasking does more bad than good to your productivity, here’re 4 reasons why you should stop multitasking:

Multitasking wastes your time.

You lose time when you interrupt yourself. People lose an average of 2.1 hours per day getting themselves back on track when they switch between tasks.

In fact, some studies suggest that doing multiple things at once decreases your productivity by as much as 40%. That’s a significant loss in efficiency. You wouldn’t want your surgeon to be 40% less productive while you’re on the operating table, would you?

It makes you dumber.

A distracted brain performs a full 10 IQ points lower than a focused brain. You’ll also be more forgetful, slower at completing tasks, and more likely to make mistakes.

You’ll have to work harder to fix your mistakes. If you miss an important detail, you could risk injury or fail to complete the task properly.

This is an emotional response.

There’s so much data suggesting that multitasking is ineffective but people insist that they can multitask.

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Feeling productive fulfills an emotional need. We want to feel like we’re accomplishing something. Why accomplish just one item on the to-do list when you can check off two or three?

It’ll wear you out.

When you’re jumping from task to task, it can feel invigorating for a little while. Over time, this needs to fill every second with more and more work leads to burn out.

We’re simply not built to multitask, so when we try, the effect can be exhausting. This destroys your productivity and your motivation.

How to stop multitasking and work productively

Flitting back and forth between tasks feels second-nature after a while. This is in part because Broadmann’s Area 10 becomes better at serial tasking through time.

In addition to changing how the brain works, this serial tasking behavior can quickly turn into a habit.

Just like any bad habit, you’ll need to recognize that you need to make a change first. Luckily, there are a few simple things you can do to adjust to a lifestyle of productive mono-tasking:

1. Consciously change gears

Instead of trying to work on two distinct tasks at once, consider setting up a system to remind you when to change focus. This technique worked for Jerry Linenger, an American astronaut onboard the space station, Mir.

As an astronaut, he had many things to take care of every day. He set alarms for himself on a few watches. When a particular watch sounded, he knew it was time to switch tasks. This enabled him to be 100% in tune with what he was doing at any given moment.

This strategy is effective because the alarm served as his reminder for what was to come next. Linenger’s intuition about setting reminders falls in line with research conducted by Paul Burgess of University College, London on multitasking.

2. Manage multiple tasks without multitasking

Raj Dash of Performancing.com has an effective strategy for balancing multiple projects without multitasking. He suggests taking 15 minutes to acquaint yourself with a new project before moving on to other work. Revisit the project later and do about thirty minutes on research and brainstorming.

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Allow a few days to pass before knocking out the project in question. While you were actively work on other projects, your brain continues to problem solve-in the background.

This method works because it gives us the opportunity to work on several projects without allowing them to compete for your attention.

3. Set aside distractions

Your smartphone, your inbox and the open tabs on your computer are all open invitations for distraction. Give yourself time each day when you silence your notifications, close your inbox and remove unnecessary tabs from your desktop.

If you want to focus, you can’t give anything else an opportunity to invade your mental space.

Emails can be particularly invasive because they often have an unnecessary sense of urgency associated with them. Some work cultures stress the importance of prompt responses to these messages, but we can’t treat every situation like an emergency.

Designate certain times in your day for checking and responding to emails to avoid compulsive checking.

4. Take care of yourself

We often blame electronics for pulling us from our work, but sometimes our physical body forces us into a state of serial tasking. If you’re hungry while you’re trying to work, your attention will flip between your hunger and your work until you take care of your physical needs.

Try to take all your bio-breaks before you sit down for an uninterrupted stint of work.

In addition, you’ll also want to be sure you’re attending to your health in a broader sense. Getting enough exercise, practicing mindfulness and incorporating regular breaks into your day will keep you from being tempted by distractions.

5. Take a break

People are more likely to head to YouTube or check their social media when they need a break. Instead of trying to work and watch a mindless video at the same time, give yourself times when you’re allowed to enjoy your distracting activity of choice.

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Limit how much time you’ll spend on this break so that your guilt-free distraction time doesn’t turn into hours of wasted time.

6. Make technology your ally

Scientists are beginning to discover the detrimental effects of chronic serial tasking on our brains. Some companies are developing programs to curb this desire to multitask.

Apps like Forest turn staying focused into a game. Extensions like RescueTime help you track your online habits so that you can be more aware of how you spend your time.

The key to productivity: Focus

Multitasking is not the key to productivity. It’s far better to schedule time to focus on each task than it is to try to do everything at once.

Make use of the methods outlined above and prepare to be more effective and less exhausted in the process.

If you want to learn more about how to focus, don’t miss my other article:

How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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