The application of time management skills has tended, in the past, to be thought of as something that is for business life only. In reality, though, time management is something from which we can all benefit in our personal lives as well, and in the art of marrying our working lives with our home and social lives.
Those benefits show in a number of ways, including health, well being and satisfaction with our lives overall. Manage your time well, and you can feel in control of your life, rather than letting events control you. There is no single “method” of time management, either in business or personal life. However, there are various time management tips and techniques, practices and theories, which it is worth knowing about.
Acquiring time management skills is something we can set about doing in a methodical way. Really, we all practice time management whether we know it or not. It is more a matter of whether we do it well or badly. The following tips are for improving time management skills, building on those that you will naturally have. Even primitive man used time management, it was just a lot simpler in those days. Time had to be allocated for hunting, and that time had to be used to the fullest effect possible to survive.
Here are just a few time management tips:
1. Before learning any techniques to help you manage your time, have a clear idea of what you are setting out to achieve. Give yourself the opportunity to get your life in some sort of order so that you can both enjoy it to the full and succeed to the full. If you just apply time management to areas of your life that do not really matter to you, then you will not be progressing at a personal level.
2. Get your priorities clear in your mind, so that they are a natural part of you. This will need to become a habit to be very effective, and you will need to apply prioritizing over a number of time spans. Your long term success will probably depend on your being able to prioritize what you need to do to achieve that success. However, to use your time well on a particular day, you need to start the day with a clear idea of your priorities. that also applies to the week, the month and the year. Your priorities for the shorter period must always feed positively into the priorities in the next longer period, and so on, so that each time period is mapped out with priorities that lead to your ultimate success.
3. When assessing priorities, be ruthless with parts of your life that are not contributing to your longer term goals. Removing the areas of your life where you are wasting time, will free up more time for you to apply to reaching your goals.
4. Always be sure to build your health and enjoyment into any plans. Time for relaxation and exercise are critical to your long term achievements; always make time for proper meals, and keep to a healthy but enjoyable diet. Time management is not an exercise in being macho with your business life; it is an opportunity to build a balanced life for yourself and your family.
5. Once you have set your priorities for any period, write them down and refer to them from time to time, updating them if necessary. Should you appear to be failing, examine why, and reset and reinforce your goals and priorities. It is too easy to slip back into bad habits that inhibit your progress.
6. Be sure to keep a diary and use it to plan out each day, week, month. There are all sorts of electronic gizmos, online planners, software etc to act as aids to your time management. Personally, I think a good old fashioned diary is just as good, if not better. About 18 months ago I reverted to using a traditional diary to plan my working time. That forces me to get away from the computer, even for a few minutes, and think what my priorities are, and what I need to be reminded about.
If you can become better at time management, you will find your life more satisfying and less stressful, as well as being able to achieve greater things. For millions of people, life just sweeps them along in a torrent of activity, or inactivity, over which they have little or no control. That can be very stressful, unhealthy, inefficient, and demoralising over the long term. There is nothing quite like controlling your own destiny to reduce stress and aid success.