Learning how to manage your time wisely is an important part of reaching your goals. There are only 24 hours in the day and it’s up to you to decide how you use them. Staying on top of your schedule and to-do lists is a balancing act.
Having good time management skills is essential to having an organized life, but this doesn’t always come naturally to everyone. We’ll look at some of the ways you can improve your time management skills and how you can manage your time more wisely.
Benefits of Managing Your Time Wisely
Managing your time wisely comes with a whole host of benefits. You can succeed and reach your goals when you are able to plan your time accordingly.
Without time management skills you could end up wasting your time on a variety of tasks that won’t benefit you in the long term or help you to achieve what you want to. Good time management helps you to increase your productivity.
You have the same amount of time to get things done, but better time management will help you to use your time more effectively. This means you can achieve more in the same amount of time, and perhaps even by doing less.
Using your time more wisely will reduce stress, anxiety, and worry. Many people spend a lot of time worrying about deadlines and how they will get all the work done in time rather than actually doing the work. When you learn how to manage your time, your life will be more organized.
You’ll plan out when you will do the work to ensure you can meet any deadlines. This in turn prevents you from worrying about these unnecessary things.
6 Top Skills to Manage Your Time Wisely
1. Goal Setting
One of the most important things to start with when learning how to manage your time more wisely is to set goals. You need to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve and how you will get there.
This might be a personal goal, work target, or education. You need to be working towards something so you can use your time to reach it, otherwise, your time might be wasted on unimportant things.
You should set your goals and targets using the SMART method. This means they should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.
Having a clear goal with specific deliverables will help you break down the task into smaller steps.
When you have one goal and set tasks to work towards, it can be easier to manage your time as you can focus on one thing. However, if you have more tasks and more responsibilities it can become more difficult to manage your time.
The latter is usually the case for most people as there are many things in life that we need to split our time for. Many people need to balance work and home life, which means managing how they will spend their time.
Learning how to prioritize is important here. You can’t do everything at once so you have time to decide what you will do first and when you will do everything else.
One of the best ways to prioritize tasks is by putting them in one of the four following categories:
- Important and urgent: Do these tasks right away.
- Important but not urgent: Decide when to do these tasks.
- Urgent but not important: Delegate these tasks if possible.
- Not urgent and not important: Set these aside to do later.
Once you have analyzed the severity of the task and the deadline you need to meet, you can prioritize them accordingly.
For example, if you are in the workplace you will usually have deadlines to submit work. Sometimes it is clear what you should do first, depending on when the work is due.
However, when deadlines are tight you may need to prioritize them, especially if you don’t have the capacity to complete everything. You can discuss with a manager which tasks are more important to complete and where you might need some additional support.
Prioritization is important because it allows you to spend time completing the work to your best abilities, rather than spreading yourself too thin across different tasks.
3. Start with the Hard Stuff First
Do you ever have one of those tasks on your to-do list that just always stays there and never seems to get done? One helpful tip to prevent this is to always tackle your most difficult task first.
Sometimes this might be the most important task or the one that is due first, but sometimes it might be the most boring or one you dislike doing the most. Prioritize this task so you can get it out of the way in the beginning.
Once you’ve completed this task you will feel more productive after which you motivate yourself to complete more things on your list. Avoid procrastinating here as this will make you more likely to put off doing the task.
Starting with the hard stuff first is like ripping off a band-aid, it might be painful at first but you will think of yourself later.
4. Time Blocking
One way to help you spend your time more wisely is to time block. This means setting aside chunks of time in your day to do certain tasks. You might have a long to-do list but if you don’t plan when you will do each task on the list, it’s likely they won’t get done.
Start by putting in the time you have commitments such as meetings or classes, then fit in lunch and dinner breaks. By this point, you should have already started prioritizing your workload so you can fit in the most important tasks then.
It’s important to allow realistic time slots to complete a certain amount of work, 90 minutes is a good amount of time to spend on any one task to allow you to get stuck in and concentrate before you start to fatigue. You should stick to your time plan and not overrun these tasks as this could cause you to burn out later.
As we mentioned earlier, always schedule downtime and breaks as this is important in keeping you energized. You might feel like relaxing is a waste of time, but don’t be fooled. Downtime is just as important, you are not a robot, and you need time to rest and recharge.
Having a good night’s sleep is important to ensure you can work your best and most effectively so don’t stay up late just to meet deadlines, you will regret it in the future. Time blocking allows you to plan how you will spend your time so you ensure you are spending it wisely on what you need to do.
5. Reduce Procrastinating
Procrastination is the worst time waster. Many people spend most of their time procrastinating with unimportant tasks which prevents them from reaching their goals.
You might feel you don’t have enough time in the day, but think about how much time you spend watching TV or scrolling on social media. All of that procrastinating adds up.
These activities might be fun, but not when they are taking away your valuable time. To combat this you should include this as part of your downtime.
Allow yourself to watch TV but set a time limit to do so after you’ve tackled those more important tasks earlier in the day. Sticking to the allotted time is key to avoiding procrastination.
6. Planning Ahead
Planning ahead is golden when it comes to how to manage your time wisely. You can avoid procrastinating and being reactive to situations when you are planning in advance.
Be proactive and plan what you will do tomorrow today. Then when tomorrow comes you already know what you need to work on. You need to plan ahead when setting goals and prioritizing tasks.
Accept that sometimes things don’t go to plan and unexpected things can come up. When this happens you can reprioritize and reschedule much easier than if you didn’t have a plan in the first place.
Conclusion: Manage Your Time Wisely
Learning how to manage your time wisely is important in helping you reach your goals, become more productive, and reduce stress and worry.
Start by setting goals and thinking about what you want to achieve. Break down these goals into step-by-step tasks that you can plan for your day.
Use time blocking to plan your time in advance and always remember to schedule time for breaks and downtime.
Stick to your allotted time and avoid procrastinating on unimportant tasks.
Prioritise work depending on the importance and due date. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you don’t have the capacity for everything.
Managing your time more wisely doesn’t mean doing everything at once, it means allowing yourself enough time to spend on any one task to produce the best quality work.