Updated: Aug 29, 2019
You only have 24 hours in a day yet it feels like it’s never enough. The number of things you have to do seems endless, while the time you’re allotted to do it in is terribly limited and you’re running out of time as you read this. The only way to stretch your time out is to manage it effectively.
Managing time effectively requires good habits that should be implemented as soon as possible as time is a limited resource. Time management is a skill that you get better and better at, with time.
Why time management is important
Time management keeps you on track of your tasks and how you allocate time throughout your day, ensuring that time is not wasted. Like many valuable resources, time is finite and non renewable. Although it feels a lot like there is a lot of time to do things, especially with a deadline that seems far away, but time has a habit of passing quickly without your notice.
With efficient and highly organised time management skills, you become able to find more time not just to progress in your career but also to work on yourself.
How to manage your time
Get organised This is the obvious answer to any time management question! Start with an audit of all your time. Spend a few days with your usual routine and keep track of how much time you spend on each task or errand. Once you’ve done that, eliminate what James Clear calls “half-work” - distractions that take away from your efficiency (such as checking your phone in the middle of work when you have no notifications).
Start incorporating a planner in your daily life and use it not just for short term achievements but also long term goals.
You should have a daily schedule that maximises your productivity, and includes break and rest times. If you find a structured schedule difficult to adhere to, make a general and flexible one instead. That way you can remain organised while giving your creativity reign instead of feeling stifled.
Start making lists too! It’s a good way to increase organisation - with lists you are able to see at a glance the tasks that you should be doing. It’s even better if you can allocate a time in your schedule to your to-do list and for errands so you can remain on top of things even if they’re
Prioritise according to your needs - and delegate/outsource the rest We mentioned list making as a way to get organised previously but there’s a catch - you should arrange tasks in order of priority. This ensures you get things done according to your needs, instead of procrastinating.
Think about what you can and should delegate. There’s no need to try to do everything on your own. If you need help, it’s always a good idea to seek it. This works especially well if you are at work because when working in a team or a group, there should be tasks that are delegated between people to maximise output efficiency.
Don’t confuse urgency with importance Split your to-do list and your most important tasks (MITs) into two categories: those which are important and those which are urgent.
What’s the difference?
Urgency requires immediate attention, but it does not necessarily mean that it is important as well. Prepping food for the next day isn’t something urgent, but it is important. Fixing the tap is urgent, but arguably not important, especially when in considered next to other tasks - such as those that are work- or health-related.
Time management skills are worth investing in as they not just enable you to complete more in less, but also lower your stress levels as you are no longer rushing to deadlines and have more time for yourself.
“Either you run the day or the day runs you,” is an oft-quoted proverb coined by entrepreneur Jim Rohn. Run your day and be the master of your time with good time management.
Zarrah Morden is the Financial Minion at PAQ Group. The mission of PAQ Group is to create a stress-free bookkeeping experience and to empower entrepreneurs with financial know-how so they are able to create a more successful business. Join other entrepreneurs with the PAQ Newsletter to get regular insights on how you can grow both you and your business.