With today's digital transformation and the acceleration of change, it might become harder and harder to focus on your goals and stay within your main course. How do you manage your own time so that you can do all the critical tasks? When to pay attention to your family? And where do others find that much time to relax in their schedule? That's where time management comes into play.
It is all in how you manage your time; we'll be sharing many articles on this topic as it's a big one, but here is a great start. We hope you learn and share some of our suggestions. Time Management–this spectacular term means–effective planning of working time to achieve goals, finding the right time resources, setting priorities, and monitoring the implementation of your plans. In this blog post, let's look at some best time management tips!
I'll tell you how to complete tasks better, use efficient time management techniques, and perform specific activities to improve your daily schedule.
A Brief Guide to Time Management
“The key is in not spending time, but in investing it. Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important. The challenge is not to manage time, but to manage ourselves.” – Stephen Covey
Good news: time management is a business skill you can learn in the same way you learn to swim or drive. It offers a system of approaches and tools designed to deal with procrastination, personal inefficiency, work, and personal clutter. In addition, it helps to get rid of stress and always has enough time for anything you do, be it studies, project management, or social life.
Benefits of Time Management
1. Stress relief
Relieving stress is one of the main motives for improving your time management skills. A full calendar of deadlines can be overwhelming, but if you plan and manage your time wisely, you can perform confidently, even with the busiest schedule.
2. More time
Learning to manage your free time is an essential part of being productive. Effective time management allows you to maximize your work efficiency, prepare for upcoming specific tasks, and meet deadlines on time or earlier. At the end of the day, better time management makes you happier and more focused.
3. More opportunities
Time management is an essential organizational skill for professionals s in any work environment. If you can improve your time management skills in the workplace and personal life, you can become more efficient and valuable in your industry. Moreover, when a person manages his time correctly performing various daily tasks, effective time management skills guarantee rapid career and business growth.
4. Ability to realize goals
The importance of time management is hard to overestimate. As your professional self-esteem largely depends on how well you do different tasks, your self-esteem grows with the number of victories and achievements increasing. Time management helps you to feel you are in control of your life rather than being controlled by circumstances, other people, or bad habits.
8 Actionable Time Management Tips For Professionals
1. Set goals correctly
Harvard University professor Edward Banfield studied successful people for 50 years and realized that such people always think in the long term. After deciding what to do, ask yourself, “Is there a better way?”. The ability to think affects performance more than any other quality. Set long-term goals and consider where you want to be in 5 years.
2. Prioritize wisely
The ability to manage time in an enterprise, as well as organize your personal time, requires an understanding of what you should complete first. While all the day's tasks might be important, you might have some with closer due dates. At the heart of personal and work effectiveness of decisions is the concept of prioritization of cases. To do this, you can use, for example, the Eisenhower Matrix, distributing cases into:
- Priority urgent
- Primary not urgent
- Urgent Secondary
- Secondary Non-Urgent
The Eisenhower matrix helps you determine urgent tasks are urgent essential projects and spend less time on distractions.
3. Set a time limit to complete a task.
Set deadlines for productive work during which nothing and no one should distract you. Teach your employees to respect your focus time. During those hours ignore phone calls, email messages, and communication on social media – they consume several hours of your focus time. A helpful way will be to allocate specific morning, afternoon, and evening hours to check all messages and chat.
4. Take a break between tasks.
If you get into the habit of working on a timer, you will know the value of your time, work more productively, learn to manage expectations, train your willpower and prevent burnout. For example, you can try the Pomodoro Technique designed by Francesco Cirillo. It's a 25-Minute System, during which 30 – 25 minutes are for work and short breaks of 5 minutes for rest. Pomodoro Technique also suggested that with every four repetitions, you take a break of 30 minutes. Use it for a short walk or other activities that help you enhance your creativity and avoid excessive screen time.
Another great time management strategy is the 90/30 rule, one of the best practices used by many famous people, including Leo Vidrich, the founder of Buffer. The idea is to solve current tasks with maximum concentration for 90 minutes with short intervals of 30-minute breaks before you repeat the cycle. Track your time; it will show how much more you and your team members can do in a day!
5. Organize yourself
If you want your life to be happy and enjoyable, with space to connect with family and friends, you should avoid poor time management skills. Track your time schedule and ensure it includes exercising, traveling, meeting friends, family gatherings, and spending time with your children. Time audit will help you improve your work-life balance protecting you from professional burnout in the long term.
6. Remove non-essential tasks/activities
It's impossible to do everything. The best way is to choose priorities. Determining what deserves your time frees up more time to spend on essential things. You can use the 4D method created by business consultant Edward Ray to determine what tasks to remove. This method helps people who need to learn how to approach all the accumulated items. According to Ray, you should remember only four words with the letter D: Do, Delegate, Delay, and Delete. In the next step, divide your tasks into these four groups, and discard them from the group “Delete” by permanently removing them from your to-do list.
7. Plan ahead
Write everything down in a calendar, diary, or file for efficient time management. Memory can always fail; momentary problems and difficulties will always knock out distractions. A pre-compiled list of tasks and actions increases the productivity of any type of activity by 25%. Break up big tasks. Divide time-consuming tasks should always into several small subtasks – only grab onto large projects if you think through the sequence of actions in advance. Always leave some time for “force majeure” – unforeseen circumstances. Remember that the few minutes you spend on the planning process will more than pay off in the future.
8. Reach your goals faster
Time management might be complex, as it entails implementing many life changes. Yet by developing good time management skills, you can gradually gain control over your personal and professional achievements.
The Science Behind Effective Time Management
Delving into the psychological and neurological underpinnings of time management can help us better understand why it's such a crucial skill and how to effectively harness its power.
Perception of Time
Our brains aren't flawless when it comes to perceiving time. We often underestimate how long a task will take, a phenomenon known as the planning fallacy. This cognitive bias can lead to overpacked schedules and stress. However, by being aware of this bias, we can make more realistic plans and improve our time management.
The Power of Prioritization
The prefrontal cortex, the part of our brain responsible for executive functions, plays a vital role in setting priorities. It helps us to focus our attention and resist distractions. However, this region can only process a limited amount of information at once. Therefore, by prioritizing tasks, we can ensure we are using our brain's resources most efficiently.
The Role of Dopamine
Dopamine, a neurotransmitter in our brain, is linked to motivation and reward. Each time we complete a task, our brain releases dopamine, which makes us feel good and motivates us to repeat the behavior. This is why breaking down large projects into smaller, manageable tasks can help boost productivity. Each completed task triggers a dopamine release, encouraging us to keep going.
The Impact of Stress
Chronic stress can negatively impact our cognitive functions, including attention, memory, and decision-making—key components of effective time management.
Therefore, maintaining a balanced schedule and prioritizing self-care are essential not only for our wellbeing but also for our ability to manage time effectively.
Circadian Rhythms and Productivity
Our bodies operate on a 24-hour internal clock, known as our circadian rhythm. This rhythm affects our energy levels, alertness, and cognitive abilities. By understanding our personal circadian rhythm, we can schedule demanding tasks for when we are most alert and productive, further optimizing our time management.
Let's start using effective time management strategies
Remember, effective time management isn't solely about crossing tasks off a list—it's about understanding how our brain works and creating an environment that supports productivity and wellness.
Our experts can help you choose the time management techniques that best match your needs and break your big goals into tasks. Contact us for an individual consultation that will enable you to develop self-discipline, manage your time more efficiently and reach your goals faster while keeping an outstanding work-life balance!