Psychology today defines time management “as the ability to plan and control how you spend the hours of your day to effectively accomplish your goals.”
Having good time management skills is not just the ability to set goals but effective time management goes much further. To be a time management wizard you must know how to prioritize tasks, you must know where your time goes, and you must be realistic about your productivity. This article is going to show you how to make time management your friend.
Understanding that everything on your to do list can’t be done today and that not everything on your to do list has equal weight of importance is the key to understanding your priorities.
Tony Robbins recommends that you “put all related tasks into bite-sized buckets that are easy to manage and tackle. If they’re related, you would have momentum when creating similar tasks.”
Work on all bite-size tasks that are chunked for 20-minute increments before you move on to either another task or take a break. This will help you get more things on your priority list done
Use the Time Log
One of the easiest ways to know whether or not you’re spending your time well is to create a time log. According to the University of Kent, time logs should cover a period of seven days.
Over this, you will track everything you do from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed within 30- minute increments. This includes if you spend four hours scrolling Facebook or four hours at study hall. If you do it, it goes in the time log.
Once you’ve identified where you’re spending your time you can examine whether or not your time is being spent productively. There’s no need to eliminate all leisure time but if you notice there are excessive amounts of time being spent doing nothing, procrastinating, or simply messing around you can choose to use those times more wisely.
the second way to master time management is to become a realist. Understanding exactly how much work you can take on in a certain amount of time is essential to effective time management. For many people, they underestimate the amount of time it will take them to accomplish tasks, especially tasks that are designed to be accomplished over a long period of time.
Psychology Today notes that when people think about their past experiences and failures, they tend to skip over the parts where they failed or didn’t need a deadline. Often we see that the reason for our failures to meet deadlines is one-time occurrences that will not happen again and we fall into the trap of believing this time it won’t happen.
You can use the time log that you created previously to get a realistic idea of your actual productivity compared to your optimistic expectations. It will also allow you to see where you had failed or one-time events that interrupted your deadline actually were multiple time events. One thing you shouldn’t do is attempt to create extra time by forfeiting sleep or cutting corners on a project. Both of these strategies will end up with you producing less than quality work.
Many elements go into effective time management. Learning how to be a time management magician really only takes three things:
1. Learn How to Prioritize
2. Learn Where Your Time Goes
3. Know Your Capabilities
Once you know these three things, you will have time management skills like no other.