Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

how to start over How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late Fail Forward: How Setbacks Can Fuel Future Success How to Build New Habits With An Accountability Partner 13 Ways to Develop Self-Directed Learning and Learn Faster delegating tasks How to Start Delegating Tasks Effectively (Step-by-Step Guide)

Trending in Smartcut

1 How to Set Long Term Goals and Achieve Success 2 How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day 3 How to Start Delegating Tasks Effectively (Step-by-Step Guide) 4 27 Strategies to Achieve Your Goals Fast 5 A Complete Guide to Goal Setting for Personal Success

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on October 29, 2020

How to Develop Mental Toughness and Stay Strong

How to Develop Mental Toughness and Stay Strong

Are you the kind of person who wants to achieve massive success in your life? Do you have the mental toughness to make that happen?

I think we can all agree that no matter your ambitions, achieving success can be difficult; and over time, the daily grind can take a toll on your physical, mental, and emotional energy.

Achievers and high performers from all walks of life face ups and downs along the path to success—they face failure, burnout, discouragement, fatigue, self-limiting beliefs, stress, and so much more.

How do some people continually strive towards their personal goals year after year while others give up on them? How do those people stay strong and persevere when there is so much stacked against them?

Studies now show that mental strength is a critical key to success. If you haven’t read Angela Duckworth’s book Grit, you should. In it, she shows that “the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls ‘grit.’” In other words, mental toughness plays a significant role when it comes to achieving goals.

At its core, mental toughness is simply the ability to stick to something when the going gets tough. People with high levels of mental toughness can push beyond these obstacles and forge a path towards success, while those with lower levels of mental toughness may abandon their dreams.

The good news is that no matter who you are, what you’ve been told, or what you currently believe, you can develop the mental toughness you need to be successful.

1. Develop a Positive Mindset

If you’re going to increase your mental toughness and manage stress, the first thing you have to do is focus on building a strong, positive mindset in everyday life.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, the average person has 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 95% of those thoughts repeat each day and, on average, 80% of repeated ideas are negative.[1]

That’s roughly 45,600 negative thoughts per day!

Carrying around these negative thoughts is like going on a hike in the mountains with a backpack full of rocks. The hike is hard enough on its own, but having extra junk weighing you down is a recipe for failure.

Sometimes, building mental toughness isn’t as much about building new strength as it is about saving your strength for the right tasks. Wouldn’t it be easier to dump the rocks out of the backpack instead of trying to get strong enough to carry the extra weight?

Let Go of Self-Limiting Beliefs

It’s pretty hard to be mentally tough when you’re constantly beating yourself up. Self-limiting beliefs are any beliefs that hold you back in some way. Here are some examples:

Advertising

“I’m not smart enough to…”

“I don’t have enough experience to…”

“I’ve tried that before, and it didn’t go well, so I must just be bad at…”

When we allow these self-limiting beliefs to flood our minds, negative self-talk runs rampant, and we crowd out our ability to think positively.

When you recognize a self-limiting belief cropping up in your mind, quickly silence it by telling yourself that it’s not true, and then back that up with some positive affirmations:

  • “I am smart enough; I may just need to do some more research first.”
  • “I may not have as much experience as someone else, but that’s not going to stop me from trying. I have enough experience to get started. I’ll figure the rest out on the way.”
  • “Just because I failed at this last time doesn’t mean I’m going to fail this time. My past does not dictate my future.”

Get Rid of the All-or-Nothing Thinking

Another form of negative thinking that could be preventing you from building mental toughness is all-or-nothing thinking.

All-or-nothing thinking is the concept of thinking in extremes. You are either a success or a failure. Your performance was great or awful. If you’re not perfect, then you’re a failure.

But this isn’t true!

If you’re trying to lose 30 pounds and only lost 28, isn’t that still better than not losing any weight at all? I’d say so!

If you allow all-or-nothing thinking to rule your mind, you’ll be on cloud nine when you succeed, but you’ll beat yourself up when you “fail.” Acknowledging the shades of gray in between will allow you to see success more often.

When you recognize an all-or-nothing thought, remember to look for the positive in the situation. What did you gain by trying? What would you have missed out on had you not tried? Could you do better if you were to try again?

Ditch the Dwelling

Self-limiting beliefs and all-or-nothing thinking can lead to a bad case of dwelling on the negative, which is bad news for mental health. If you want to build some mental toughness and keep your mind strong, you have to ditch the dwelling.

When we dwell on our misfortunes, we waste massive amounts of energy that we could be using to achieve our goals. When this happens, we’re more likely to quit altogether.

Advertising

That doesn’t mean you’re not mentally tough; it just means you’re misusing your energy.

The next time something bad happens, it’s important to allow yourself to feel the disappointment and frustration, but work on reducing the amount of time you dwell on the situation.

If you struggle with this, you can try the following:

  1. Call a friend or mentor and talk it through with them. Get some outside perspective on your situation.
  2. Time block your dwelling by allowing yourself to dwell for no more than one hour.
  3. Then, tell yourself to move on, that you’re human, and you’re allowed to make mistakes or experience setbacks.
  4. If all else fails, find a good way to distract yourself until you can calm down and reexamine things with a clear mind.

The faster you can focus on the positives and move past the problem, the quicker you can get back to achieving success in your life.

2. Connect With Your Purpose

One of the most critical elements to building mental toughness and keeping a strong and focused mind is having a strong “why” for all of your short and long-term goals.

If you set out to achieve a huge goal that you don’t have a “why” for, you’re going to find yourself distracted, discouraged, or disengaged as soon as you experience your first setback.

Think about the last time you were working on a goal or resolution, and things weren’t going well. Perhaps you thought you didn’t have enough willpower or discipline.

It’s more likely that you just didn’t have a strong enough why.

Simon Sinek has been spreading his message “Start with Why” across the globe.[2] In short, he says that:

“Your ‘why’ is the purpose, cause or belief that inspires you.”

One of the biggest drains on your mental energy is pursuing a goal or a task that you don’t have a why for. Often, we set goals because we like the idea of the goal, not the reality of the goal. Without connecting to our why, we can’t intrinsically motivate ourselves to achieve our most challenging goals.

You can learn more on identifying your purpose in this video:

Find Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation is our innate desire to do something, and it comes when we work towards something that satisfies ourselves above all else—not our parents or our bosses or our teachers[3].

Advertising

Develop mental toughness with intrinsic motivation

    Let’s say you think you want to quit smoking because you know it’s bad for you, but you really enjoy smoking. If you don’t truly want to quit smoking, it’s going to be nearly impossible, regardless of your willpower or mental toughness.

    However, if you want to quit smoking because you just had a baby, and you don’t want your baby growing up around smoke, then that “why” is going to give you intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is far more powerful than sheer stubborn willpower, and it’s far easier to maintain over the long haul.

    If you’re trying to develop mental toughness, connecting a why to everything you want to achieve will reduce the effort and energy it will take to achieve those things.

    3. Find Strength in Unity

    The final aspect of developing mental toughness is embracing the idea that you’re not in this alone.

    Bill Gates didn’t build Microsoft alone. Oprah didn’t build her network by herself. Steve Jobs didn’t invent the iPhone without a team. Michelle Obama didn’t implement the “Let’s Move” campaign on her own.

    Behind all of these successful people were countless other people who were offering support, mentorship, guidance, and encouragement.

    If you want to develop unmatched mental toughness, you need to understand that you don’t have to go it alone. Even the toughest Navy Seals have a team backing them up.

    Find a Mentor or Committee of Mentors

    The benefits of having a great mentor are far too many to list, but to boil it down to the basics, a mentor is someone who will help show you the path to success, discover your greatest strengths, spot and overcome your blind spots, and work through your weaknesses.

    If you’re struggling to deal with your internal negativity or with finding your purpose, talk it through with a mentor. Sometimes we lose the forest for the trees, and a mentor can help us take a step back and see the bigger picture.

    Here’s how to find the right mentor for yourself: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

    Recruit Some Cheerleaders

    If you want to stay strong, it never hurts to have a group of personal cheerleaders to help you successfully complete your goals. Unlike mentors who are going to jump in and help you address your problems, a group of cheerleaders will help keep your spirits up.

    Even if you have a strong why and a positive mindset, it’s nearly impossible to maintain a positive attitude 100% of the time. It doesn’t make you weak to need some help from time to time. Having a group of people cheering you on will make all the difference in the world.

    Advertising

    As you work towards your goals, tell a few close friends about what you’re doing, and when things get tough, tell them about it. When they give you the pep talk you need, don’t resist their positivity or counter it with your self-limiting beliefs.

    Allow their optimism to refill your energy and use that energy to press on.

    Form an Accountability Group

    Cheerleaders are great, but sometimes we need someone to give us the kick we need to keep going. You might have a strong why for running a marathon or losing 30 pounds, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy; and trying to force yourself to follow through is a sure way to tax your mental energy.

    Why not save some of your mental energy by forming an accountability group?

    Find a person or a few people who have similar goals, or at the very least, the need for an accountability partner. Then, form an agreement within the group to push each other every day.

    4. Learn to Pick Yourself up After Setbacks

    Building a strong mindset and developing mental toughness isn’t easy! Anyone who’s ever achieved massive success knows that obstacles, setbacks, and failure are inevitable, and you’re no different.

    As you work on your goals, you’re going to face many ups and downs, but this doesn’t mean that you don’t have mental toughness, willpower, or discipline.

    When you find yourself in a low spot, instead of giving up right away, ask yourself these questions:

    • “Am I being too hard on myself?”
    • “Are negative thoughts distorting my view?”
    • “What’s the positive side of this setback/obstacle/failure?”
    • “Why was this goal important to me? What was my purpose?”
    • “Is this goal still important to me?”
    • “Who can I ask for help? Who can mentor me or hold me accountable?”

    Asking yourself these questions is a great way to check in on your mindset. When we get lost in negative thinking or lose connection to our purpose, it’s far too easy to become discouraged.

    This article provides some useful tips to help you get back on track: How to Deal with Failure and Pick Yourself Back Up

    Tying It All Together

    A crucial part of developing mental toughness is learning to recognize negative tendencies and taking action to correct them early on with healthy habits. Developing mental toughness is not about eliminating weakness, but learning how to deal with it and overcome it.

    No one is perfect, but when we focus on the right things, we can develop a mental toughness worthy of life’s biggest challenges.

    More on Developing Mental Strength

    Featured photo credit: Zulmaury Saavedra via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next