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Published on April 21, 2020

What Is Time Management and How To Manage Your Time Wisely

What Is Time Management and How To Manage Your Time Wisely

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.

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

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on June 2, 2020

Easy Tasks or Difficult Tasks First? Which One is More Productive?

Easy Tasks or Difficult Tasks First? Which One is More Productive?

Procrastination is probably the biggest detriment to our productivity. Conventional wisdom dictates that the best thing you can do is make that procrastination constructive. When you don’t feel like doing one task, usually one that requires a lot of will- or brainpower, you do another, usually less labor-intensive task.

Recently, though, conventional wisdom has been challenged with something Penn State refers to as “pre-crastination.”[1] After doing a series of studies in which students pick up and carry one of two buckets, researchers theorized that many people prefer to take care of difficult tasks sooner rather than later. That theory poses the question of whether this pre-crastination or the more widely acknowledged constructive procrastination is more effective.

Here is a look at whether people should do difficult tasks early or later on to achieve maximum productivity.

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Doing Easy Tasks First

The Pros

One of the hardest parts of working is just getting started. Constructive procrastination eases this hardship, because working on easy tasks requires a smaller mental or physical commitment than if you tackled difficult tasks firsts.

If one of the foremost deterrents to your productivity is simply getting going, it makes a lot of sense to save the difficult tasks for when you’re in more of a groove.

The Cons

If you eat a frog first thing in the morning, that will probably be the worst thing you do all day. — Mark Twain

On the surface, there don’t seem to necessarily be any disadvantages to doing easy tasks first. However, in Eat That Frog, the book writeen by Brian Tracy challenges that.

Based on the above quote from Mark Twain, Eat That Frog encourages avoiding procrastination, even if that procrastination is constructive. Tracy wants you to “eat that frog,” i.e. do your difficult tasks quickly because the longer it’s on your plate, the harder it will become to do the thing you’re dreading. If you have a habit of dreading things, Eat That Frog makes a solid argument to hold off on your easy tasks until later in the day.

Doing Difficult Tasks First

The Pros

Brian Tracy postulates in Eat That Frog that if you do your difficult tasks first, your other tasks won’t seem so bad. After all, after you eat a frog, even something unappetizing will seem downright delectable.

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Tracy also recommends that, if you have to eat two frogs, you should eat the uglier one first. The metaphor is a very easy way to get your head around the new concept of pre-crastination.

If all of your tasks seem somewhat torturous to you, you might be able to ease the pain by getting rid of the ugliest “toads” as quickly as you can.

The Cons

The primary disadvantage of doing your difficult tasks first is probably that it will make it especially hard to get started on your workday.

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A lot of people aren’t exactly at their peak performance mode when they enter the office. They need to ease into the workday, maybe have a cup or two of coffee to stimulate them.

If that’s you, doing your most difficult tasks first would probably be a costly mistake. Hold off on “eating those frogs” until you have the willpower and fortitude to choke them down.

Conclusion

Should you do easy or difficult tasks first? It seems like a cop-out to say that it depends on the person, but sometimes that’s the honest answer, and that is definitely the case here.

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Hopefully this article helps inform you of what type of worker you are, offering clues to whether you fall into the constructive procrastination or pre-crastination camps. Good luck on your pursuit of maximum productivity!

More Tips for Beating Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Courtney Dirks via flickr.com

Reference

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