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Last Updated on December 14, 2020

What Is Time Management and How To Manage Your Time Wisely

What Is Time Management and How To Manage Your Time Wisely
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Time is money, isn’t it?

If you learn to manage your time efficiently, you can conquer any task in the world. From inner peace to productivity to work efficiency, time management is the one skill that can help you achieve them all.

So what does all of this mean and how can you achieve it?

Read on to find out everything you need to know.

What is Time Management?

The term ‘time management’ is pretty self-explanatory:

It means managing your time.

At the end of the day, all you got are 24 hours.

Of these, at least 6 to 9 hours are spent sleeping, as recommended by experts.[1] A couple of hours are used to prep and eat meals. Add in 3 to 4 hours of commute, being stuck in traffic, and other minor unexpected challenges.

So, all you are left with is 10 to 12 hours or sometimes even less.

Within this time, you need to complete your work tasks, study, manage a hobby, take care of yourself, socialize, and spend time with your family. Events and special occasions are a whole other story.

How does one cope with so much in such little time?

The art of doing this without losing your mind is exactly what time management is.

Why Does Time Management Matter?

Fortunately, or unfortunately, you cannot choose to skip time management.

Living in a social world also means having some responsibilities. Without fulfilling these, you cannot survive.

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You have to work to earn money. You need money to be able to eat. If you do not eat, you will starve to death. If you completely isolate yourself, your mental health will suffer. You have to have some source of entertainment to keep your mind fresh.

This is why time management matters. You have to learn to cope with time restraint for your own good.

Without time management, you will only stress yourself out. You will have to sacrifice a meaningful life, which results in everything going downhill, mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Therefore, you are the one who needs to manage time like a pro.

Find out more about why time management matters: When Does Time Management Matter Most?

Time Management Techniques

No matter how elaborate your to-do list is or how minimal your time is, if you follow the right techniques, there is always enough room to fulfill your tasks in one day.

1. Delegation

Delegation is a remarkable technique to manage huge projects at work. It is specifically suited for work-related tasks. This technique requires the distribution of minor tasks among a group of people to achieve bigger goals in the end.

If you aim to create a digital marketing campaign, you can break the task down into several components. Assign individual, small tasks to different employees so that everyone can work simultaneously to produce a great campaign in minimal time.

If one person were to work on an entire project, it will take weeks to develop. However, with the delegation, this project can be done within hours.

Learn more about how to delegate effectively: What Is Delegation and How Does It Enhance Team Management?

2. Prioritizing

Sometimes, when you have a lot to do and little time to do it, you may dive right into the workload without thinking about it first.

Never do this.

First, go through your list of tasks for the day and prioritize. This way, even if you run out of time by the end of the day, you will not be missing out on anything super important.

The best way to use this technique is by learning how to prioritize, especially when everything seems to be equally important and you do not have hours to ponder on the list.

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Take a look at how to prioritize right: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

3. Block Scheduling

What is a better way to manage time than creating a schedule? And not just any schedule, but a block schedule.

So what you do it divide your time into blocks of hours or minutes however you want.

Then you assign one task to each block.

The main aim is to tackle fewer tasks per day but get done with them within the assigned time-frame. This is a method to keep the brain focused.

If you do a little bit of everything every day, your brain will be all over the place. Therefore, block scheduling technique recommends getting on with one thing, finishing, and then moving onto the next.

Learn more about block scheduling: How to Boost Your Productivity with Block Scheduling

4. Stay Focused

Truth be told, if you could keep yourself focused, you can finish any task faster.

A major part of time management is utilizing every single second productively. You can do this best if your mind is focused on the task at hand and without any distractions.

There are little things you can incorporate in your routine to improve your focus, such as choosing a structured environment to work on. Here’s how: How to Stay Focused and Not Get Distracted

5. Overcome Procrastination

Having 10 hours to do 10 things might sound impossible.

But the truth is that you can very easily squeeze in all the necessary tasks within this time-frame if you stop wasting your time.

Believe it or not, procrastination is the biggest enemy of time management.

You probably already knew that. But what you may not know is how to overcome this bad habit.

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Well, you will have to start by identifying when you are procrastinating. You can follow guides available online to stop procrastinating and improve your productivity.

However, one thing you must keep in mind is that it takes a conscious effort to eradicate procrastination from your routine. You will have to figure out when you are doing it and then forcefully stop yourself from putting off important things.

Here you can learn some tips on overcoming procrastination: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

6. Learn to Say No

Just because you are learning to tackle more in less time does not mean you should over-burden yourself.

Once again, prioritize what you are assigned with. If something is out of your job description, not your passion, or not manageable for you, simply say no.

It may come out as rude, and you may feel a pang of guilt. But, you can always learn to say no in a polite way to tackle both these issues without causing any extra stress to yourself.

Find it difficult to say no? This article can help: How to Say No When You Feel You Can Only Say Yes

7. Use the Pomodoro Method

The Pomodoro method is a technique of working in short intervals.[2]

Basically, you set a 25-minute timer and focus on the single task at hand without any distractions.

After one Pomodoro, or 25-minute interval, is over, you take a break of no longer than 5 minutes.

The 5-minute break is enough to recharge your productivity but not long enough to break your work tempo. It gives your mind the satisfaction of taking a break without letting your brain lose its trail of focus.

Moreover, after 4 Pomodoros, you can treat yourself to a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes. You can indulge in a small activity, eat a snack or simply relax. This is an excellent way to keep you from getting bored with tasks that you have been working on for a long time already.

By setting a timer, you are giving your brain a direction. Your mind knows that it has to focus on one thing for a set amount of time.

You can also view the 5-minute break as a treat for your mind looks forward to. Hence, you boost your overall focus and productivity.

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Find out Why the Pomodoro Method Is the Best Productivity Timer.

Useful Tools and Resources to Master Time Management

Sometimes, just knowing is not enough.

Constant reminders, a budge here and there, and a support system are necessary to keep you pushing on the right track.

This is where time management tools come to the rescue.

Your brain may agree with everything you have read so far. But constant repetition is needed to imprint this on your mind to make it a habit. This is why time management guides and books are lifesavers.

Here is a long list of relevant time management books that can help you out in this regard: 10 Best Time Management Books for Maximized Productivity 

Each one has a different approach and suits different individuals’ reading and learning styles. Choose whichever one you like best, and take advantage of an expert’s opinion.

Now, even when your mind has all the knowledge, you still might not be able to manage time well enough. This is why you need the help of applications.

Certain applications serve the purpose of accountability while others keep your to-do list organized to save you the stress.

Some apps, like Focus Booster, focus on the Pomodoro Technique. So, if you find that to be useful, an app like this one will help you save a lot of time.

Similarly, some tools will allow you to record how much time you are wasting and where you spend the rest of your time. Once you have this information in front of you, you can then prioritize and shift your routine to accommodate more productivity.

Summary

If you want an organized, stress-free life without compromising your relationships, work-life or mental health, you should start applying these recommended time management techniques in your work and personal life.

Download applications that will boost your productivity, and read books that encourage you towards a better life.

Conclusively, you are the one in control of how your life goes by.

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Luckily, it is pretty easy to follow along with these tips, and anyone can avail of their benefits.

More Time Management Tips

Featured photo credit: Simon Daoudi via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] HelpGuide: Sleep Needs
[2] Francesco Cirillo: The Pomodoro Technique

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide) A Complete Guide to Goal Setting for Personal Success How to Get Motivated Every Day When You Wake Up Can’t Focus? The Mistake You’re Making and How to Focus Better 17 Traits That Make a Successful Person Stand out from the Crowd

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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