The biggest misconception that many people have about time management is to help them improve work efficiency so that they have more time to use. However, if you only want to improve your work efficiency, the result is you only have more and more work. It is not time management. No matter you earn a high salary, it only makes you more and more stress.
The purpose of time management is to make you a better life, improve your quality of life. You have to identify what matters in your life is more important to yourself and spend your time on what you love to do. You can choose to do things or not and prioritize them accordingly.
What is Time Management
Time management is the use of skills, techniques and tools to help people do their jobs and achieve their goals. Time management is not about getting everything done, it’s about using time more effectively.
The Purpose of Time Management is to decide what to do and what not to do. Time management is self-management. You will need to correct your habits and make yourself higher performance and efficient. This means you can complete tasks efficiently and effectively. Time is limited and can’t roll back. Before carrying out effective time management, we must fully understand the concept of time management, to learn to control the time, arrange our work and life reasonably, maximize the effectiveness of time, and improve work performance.
How to Manage Time Efficiently
Create your goal
It’s easier than what you think. Simply think what you want to achieve in both short term and long term. I usually do it in daytime when my mind is clear. Once you have a goal, it’s easy to divide it into tasks. Then you can create your daily plan to work on the tasks to achieve your ultimate goal.
Prioritize the work
Which tasks are more important? Which tasks can do later? Which tasks can be forgiven?
You shouldn’t do any tasks with no purpose. In addition, more important and urgent things come first. I have a perfect example of my work. I am serving a customer and a colleague ask me for help. Which one is more important? Of course, customer. I politely tell my colleague I will help him after serving the customer and he understood.
Set time to achieve
After you have created your goal and know what tasks to do, the last thing is to DO them. You have to be clear what time to do which tasks. You should really have some tools to remain yourself. In the last section, I suggest 2 simple tools. But for this part, please remember, you have to set time to do things, otherwise, you will just ignore them.
Time Management Skill Examples
One way to learn time management is to learn from examples. You need to have time management at colleague and you also need time management at work. It’s also a frequently ask behavioral question during a job interview. Let’s start.
My friend worked in an office. He was responsible for answering customer questions, helping with after-sales issues. He went to the company early and also listed his “to do” list every day. It sounded, he was a very organized person. However, as long as he seated in the office, he just couldn’t control himself to move his hand to check email. At the same time, his phone rang. While he was answering the phone, there was an after-sales issue needed to follow up, at the same time he needed to deal with another customer who was complaining… and then when he went back to his “to do” list, it’s already 4pm in the afternoon…
Do you have a similar situation? It commonly happens in the workspace. Even if you are studying, a similar thing would happen. The different maybe just you would be busy with different stuff.
This is the misunderstanding many people have. They think they can manage time as long as they have a plan – “to do” list, they work fast, they don’t waste the time. This is not time management. Their life is not improved.
The key of real time management is not about how fast you do things. It’s all about how you can reduce the things you need to do every day and arrange the time to execute. In other words, the keyword is “choice”. You may say “hang on, are you kidding? Reduce work?
I will show you 3 points about “choice” in my friend’s situation.
1. Choose to not do
My friend actually made the effort to change his habit. He always his email when he seated on desk. He is now trained to only check the email once when he comes to the office, once before and after lunch, and once before finishing work.
2. Choose the time to do
Morning time is usually the time which a person is most energized. Your mind is more awake. It’s better to do more important work in the morning. The afternoon is better to do more body work.
My friend changed the schedule to communicate more with customers and signing contract work in the morning. He mainly left the administrative work such as preparing the price list, photocopying kind of work in the afternoon.
3. Choose to delegate other people to do
My friend’s company actually has a department responsible for handling complaints. By delegating the complaint customer issue to them. No only my friend have more “free” time, but also the issue is handled by a professional department so that it’s more likely to turn the unhappy customer into a happy one.
Benefits of Time Management
Less anxiety: wasting time, working on deadline and at worst things are still not finished making you feel stress and anxiety. If you manage your time properly, not only you can finish your works with stress free, you also have more time to spend with your family and friends.
Boost your credibility: Your family and friends will notice you are a person who are organized, well-planned and you are the one who can be trusted. You also have spare time to help others. No one is worried when they ask for your help. They know you will accomplish whatever you accept to do.
Top performer: Everybody has 24 hours a day. You completed more activities than others in the same time frame. You can complete your work and never miss a deadline. Your productivity is the top. You may even have spare time to help others. Future opportunities are opened for you.
Time Management Traps
One of the main reasons why you think time is not enough is that time is wasted on interference unnecessarily.
Interference is unavoidable but you should focus on things that are urgent.
For example, nowadays you can do anything with your smartphone. However, it also means that you also check or click on your phone unconsciously to see if there is any update in email. You should set a time probably some time in the evening to check the email once to avoid unnecessary work. Of course if you have important email, you have to check and reply immediately but the point is that sometimes you do something unconsciously because of the habits which is a waste of time.
2. Don’t be a good person (pretend)
I am not saying you should be a good person. I am saying you shouldn’t “pretend” to be a good person.
When your friends or your colleagues ask you to do something, don’t always just accept like be a good person. Yes, they may appreciate your help. But if it affects your work, the consequence is that you can’t finish your work and you will feel stress.
You should set your own boundaries. What can be done, what’s not. Your friends and colleagues will finally know your boundaries and know what should or shouldn’t ask for your help.
3. Don’t use technology products
Technology products can really help us to increase efficiency. But if they are used too much, it may also make reduce efficiency.
For example, if you use to use handwritten notes to write down your schedule. It’s not necessary to download a notepad app on your phone and then click on your phone and then put in the words in the phone. It just takes much time sometimes. Stick to what you are comfortable with.
4. Don’t focus on quantity
That’s right. We want quality not quantity. In other words, we want productivity which produce more values. No matter you are doing assignment as a student or you are a businessman doing business, you should always focus on quality. The results may be slow but the benefit is huge. You will get a higher grade as a student. You will get a better business as a businessman. The bottom line is you won’t get things wrong.
My Time Management Tools
If you really spend time to read through the whole article, I always repeat not doing unnecessary thing is a waste of time. Simple is the best. You don’t need hundreds of tools to get things organized. It will only be confused you and you will forget which tools to use and what things to do.
I use quite a few tools but I only list 2 time management tools here which are the main tools I use:
You read it correctly. Just a typically paper Notebook which can be bought in a stationery shop.
The key is that I bring it everywhere so I buy a small one. I have to make sure whenever I need to write something, it is always with me. I mainly use it when I need to write down something which is easy to forget. For examples, in a meeting, important stuff in a phone call, things planning to do. If I have something I know have to be done and the time, I use the second tool…
2. Google Calendar
I think I don’t’ need to demonstrate how to use it. It’s just easier to use. There are 2 things worth to mention about using this kind of calendar app. First, the calendar I set is a far from current date so that I won’t forget the task I need to do even after a time period. Second, I always set my calendar full of schedule (except sleep) so that I really stick to the plan and no time is wasting! I am not saying I am busy whole day. I may have set some time free or is flexible, I still put it in Google Calendar so that I have what time to do what. Just to make things more organized.
What are you waiting for? Just change some bad habits and time will be controlled in your hand to have a better life!