Need to find more hours in your day? Here are 7 reasons why you should focus on good time management.
Really? Another blog on time management?
Time management is such a worn-out topic! Yet, we still don’t seem to have it right. And, in our soft skills training business, how to manage time well is a pretty hot topic for our customers.
No doubt, this is because no matter how long we’ve been attempting to manage our time, we haven’t been all that successful at it. So, should we just give up? Well, I’m going to give you 7 reasons why it’s worth it to try again.
Effective time management enables you to finish all you have to do with less effort (already sounding worth it, right?). In other words, you can do what you need to get done without exhausting yourself completely.
Here are the 7 reasons you should focus, again, on time management:
- Increased productivity
When you set goals and prioritize them, you have a much clearer sense of what needs to be accomplished and by when. By creating a well-thought-out to-do list, tracking time spent on tasks, and following a calendar, you’ll be able to finish your tasks in less time. This allows you to accomplish more in a day because you’re not fumbling around trying to figure out what you’re supposed to be doing and trying to remember that thing you told yourself not to forget. Since you’re now using a calendar and are very aware of your deadlines, you’ll find you stress less and are…
- Completing your work on time
When you place a time constraint on the work you do, your brain wants you to follow the schedule and complete the task. When we check off that task on our to-do list, our brains release little bursts of dopamine—that feel good chemical which is connected to pleasure, learning, and motivation. When we get that happy little boost, we want to experience it again, so we take action to feel those feels. So, accomplishing tasks and checking them off a list fuels us to keep checking off more things and get more done! I know people who write things down on their lists so they can check them off. Could that be you? And when you do more and check off more, that results in…
- Less stress
If you have a ton to do and no clear plan of how to get it done, you could, understandably, be under a lot of stress. That might have you rushing to complete the task and doing a substandard job, making an already stressful situation worse. However, if you’re managing your time and productivity well, you’ll know the times of day when you are most productive and can schedule critical tasks then. You’ll also know how to allocate more time to challenging tasks and less time to easy ones. You’ll feel calmer about it and, since you know you got this, you’ll have…
- More confidence
That little dopamine burst is not the only way you’ll feel better. By knowing you have things under control, you can approach your work (and life) with more confidence. You’ll be sure of yourself and will project an air of confidence which shows others how capable you are. Who knows? This confidence could very well mean…
- Better growth opportunities
By better managing your time, you’ll become known as that person who delivers quality work on time, and without losing it under pressure. You’ll demonstrate better focus, decision-making capabilities and leadership potential—essential qualities for career growth. The benefits that come with professional growth can lead to…
- Improved work/life balance
Because you’ve minimized distractions and are now focusing on task completion, you’ll be able to devote your attention to completing your work. You’ll get things done on time and finish your workday at a reasonable hour. This, of course, means…
- More leisure time
So often leaders find themselves taking work home with them. Using effective time management strategies helps you to plan your days with enough time to complete what you need to complete. If tasks are finished as planned, that means more free time to enjoy hobbies and other activities that revive and refresh you.
This is a pretty darned good list of benefits. So, start planning your time well using these 3 tips:
- Plan your day and set achievable goals—Start your day with the knowledge of what you need to accomplish. Use a simple to-do list, or whatever tool you like to organize yourself. Set goals to be accomplished within specific time frames but be realistic about them. If your goals are too complicated or hard, you’ll expend too much effort and will quickly run out of steam. So, set goals that are well thought out, provide some challenge, but are achievable.
- Prioritize thoughtfully—Determine what is essential and what is not, what needs to be done now and what can be scheduled (key word “scheduled”) later. Start by ranking tasks according to urgency and then by importance. After you’ve done that, allocate time to complete them. You might find the Eisenhower Matrix a helpful tool for this. In using this matrix, you’ll determine which tasks are important and urgent (do right away) , important but not urgent (need to be done so allocate time for them), urgent but not important (can you delegate these tasks?), or not urgent and not important (do them later, or maybe you don’t need to do them at all).
“I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.” – former US President Dwight D. Eisenhower
- Find your most productive hours—Mark Twain famously said, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning.” What he meant was you should get the biggest and worst things off your list early so you could enjoy the rest of the day. However, that might set you up for a pretty icky day. Instead, consider your work patterns and when you are at your peak. Assign your highest priority work to those hours. You’ll be better able to solve problems and think complex thoughts when you’re at your productive peak. For many people, this is first thing in the morning. For others, it might be in the afternoon, or even the evening. I, for example, am writing this blog at 8:00 p.m. because I often get a second wind after dinner.
No matter what your role is within your company, you can benefit from the productivity and confidence boosts effective time management brings. Go through the tips above, go forth, and be productive!