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Time Management

Time Management

Let’s talk about time, how we manage it, why we waste it, and how it’s the most valuable tool we have in this life. We will touch on 6 key factors that can help you improve on time management, help you stay scheduled, and help to prioritize your day.

Time is the most valuable commodity we have but it seems we value it the least, as we go about our busy lives wasting our time on things or people that don’t matter. We’re all given the same hours in a day; it’s just how we use them that differs. It’s all the little things you do in a day, a week, a month a year, that we have a tapestry together that we call our lives.

Time escapes us minute by minute. We can’t stop it or rewind a clock or a calendar. Everyone has the same amount of time, 1440 minutes per day. There are no shortcuts to managing yourself more effectively. The key is in investing your time in the most productive way, not only for the sake of organization but for your own peace of mind.

Most of us have so many tasks to do every day that it can seem overwhelming. The workload only seems to increase with each passing day or week. Phone calls, emails, social media, managing a family, time with your spouse, exercising, etc. Our workload isn’t going to change but we can change how we handle it by prioritizing our day. We can separate what needs to get done from what could be done and breakdown tasks into manageable goals and next actions. Below are six time management skills you can use to help improve your life.

  1. Do a time audit.

    First things first, start by figuring out where you’re spending your time. Often there’s a discrepancy between what you think is taking up your time and what actually is. As it turns out, it is also difficult to know exactly how long a particular task can take.
  2. Block out distractions.

    Use your computer or cell phone and put it on the do not disturb function when you’re working or focusing on a task. Tools like self-control or freedom can be used to block distracting websites. Use these to control things like social media or new distractions while you’re trying to get things done.
  3. Schedule your day.

    A calendar is good for so much more than just scheduling meetings. You can use your calendar for time blocking, focusing on work, keeping track of deadlines, and automatically adding locations to events. Using a calendar can help you take responsibility for your time. If you think that a scheduled entry will not advance your plan for the day, just cancel it.
  4. Avoid multitasking.

    Multitasking can have a negative impact on most people and their productivity. Researchers found that those who multitask have a harder time accomplishing any one thing. Multitasking can also negatively impact your cognitive ability. Pick one thing to do, set a timer, and work on only that thing until either you finish it, or the timer goes off. This will help ensure both your focus and your quality of work.
  5. Insist that others respect your time.

    Your time is precious. Don't waste it on tasks and projects that don't align with your mission and goals. Instead of automatically accepting invitations and offers, say, “I'll check my schedule and get back to you.” This simple phrase will buy you time to evaluate offers and make smart decisions.
  6. Get enough down time and rest.

    During a regular workday, we all do tasks that require effort. Our bodies respond to this output of effort by accelerating the heart rate, elevating blood pressure levels which increase fatigue, and putting stress on the body.

When you make time for recovery at the end of the workday, these physiological reactions will return to their base levels. If you don't make time for recovery, there can be adverse physiological and mental impacts. It's crucial to turn off your work brain for your health and future productivity. You will be surprised about the positive effects some quiet time can have on your creative processes. Try activities like yoga or meditation to help relax your body and calm your mind.

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Big picture takeaway points

  1. If you do not manage your time, it will manage you.
  2. You must set goals.
  3. Write down a plan if you want to achieve it.


Self-reflection questions to think more about the content

  1. Do I have time set for everything, including rest?
  2. Have I made a list of what I’m doing hour by hour?
  3. I won’t beat myself up if I get off track. I’ll just start over.

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