Nowadays, people are continuously looking to find ways to learn about time management in order to reach their goals at work, school, relationships, etc. Everyone is trying to figure out how to manage time better. Because we have unlimited goals but limited time.
So, for humans “how to manage their time” is one of the most important secrets to solve in life. This is why every day we are searching on the internet about time management articles more and more.
Before I start to explain more about time management, and giving some time management tips, I have three questions for you. These questions are the ones that you need to ask yourself every day if you want to manage your time effectively.
- How do you plan out a day where you have a lot of things you need to get done?
- Did you already put a structure to manage your time during the day?
- Do you have plans for the day?
Do you feel lost after these questions? Don’t worry and keep reading. I have some good and bad news for you.
Here is the good news. There are some tools, tips, and methods that will help you to learn time management and they really are working.
Here is bad news. Learning how to manage time takes some time! It is not rocket science but not a hat trick as well. You need to show the ultimate attention if you want to manage your time and life better.
What Is The Purpose Of This Time Management Article?
In this article, I’ll start from scratch. I’ll explain what is time management and why the heck is important that much. Then I’ll answer these three questions:
- Is it really possible to manage time efficiently or is it just a fairy tale?
- What are the skills you need to improve to manage your time better?
- How to improve your time management skills?
In the end, I’ll be giving some time management tips, tools to manage your time online, and some activity examples to improve time management skills in a fun way.
As you can feel from this pretty exciting start, it is going to be a long essay. So, take your coffee and devote some time to read this article about time management that will add value to your life.
What Is Time Management
Let’s start with a short definition of time management:
“Time management is a skill that we need to gain to open the door of happiness in all aspects of life.”
If you remove the curtains and check the real meanings behind that sentence:
“Time management is one of the most important keys that you need to have in order to achieve your goals.”
“Time management is one of the most important skills that you need to have in order to have a better life quality.”
“Time management is one of the most important tools that you need to have in order to increase your productivity.”
Why Is It Important?
Yes, time management is important but why? Where is coming from the importance of time management? Why are we putting so much stress on this? Why don’t we just give a long leash? Sometimes, you just got to wing it.
I mean, come on, right?
Well, not quite like that. Just think about it a little.
Wouldn’t you feel better if you have more time to spend with your family or with your friends, or at the park alone or whatever that matters to you? Wouldn’t you feel better if you reach your goals, feel successful as soon as possible?
Even just thinking about it is too nice. All you have to do is turn these dreams into reality. This is the reason for the importance of time management.
In a nutshell, manage time better and have a better life.
Is It Possible To Manage Time Efficiently?
The answer is simply yes. But the road that you are going to take to learn about time management is not that much easy. You need to put some effort to be a master of the time. There are some skills that you need to improve in order to manage time efficiently and I’ll start to talk about them right now.
What Are Time Management Skills?
If you want to separate more rooms in your life for the things that you really want to do or for the goals that you want to achieve, you need to improve your time management skills. You should stop switching from task to task during the day, and push yourself to stay organized. This requires good management of some sub-skills.
Here is the list of skills that you need to improve to manage your time wisely.
- Problem Solving: Stop nagging. Focus on solutions and be a problem solver.
- Analyzing: Be aware of your time. Stop spending most of your day in meetings or on tasks that have no priority.
- Communication: No one is perfect. You need help to be able to finish your tasks. And communication is the best tool to get help. Communicate with people, delegate tasks. Not only at work, at home as well.
- Arrangement: Set short term and long term goals. Prioritize them. Plan out your day according to your goals and priorities. Stay organized.
- Management: It is not going to work if you only focus on time management. Manage your tasks, manage people around you, manage yourself.
How To Improve Time Management Skills
As you can see above, you need to improve a set of skills to educate yourself to become a better time manager. It might seem a little bit scary, but don’t worry. There are ways to adapt all of them to your life.
First of all, you need to put a time management strategy. Although it seems hard, you can use the tips for time management that I shared below. Don’t forget to alter them for your particular needs.
Tips – How To Manage Time
Wake Up Early
I know, it is hard but you need to give it a shot. If you can give an early start to the day, you will see the difference.
Although, there are several advantages that you will have if you get up early in the morning, having a chance to plan your day before everyone else is my favorite. Believe me, this is really important if you want to manage your time according to your needs.
I am not suggesting to reduce your sleeping time. Actually, it is crucial to have 6 to 8 hours of sleep to be productive during the day (I’ll talk about the importance of the sleep cycle more later on).
What I am trying to say is that if you arrange your sleeping hours to wake up early, at the end of the day, you will see that you made the most out of your day.
Live with less. It is a popular saying nowadays. But it is not only about decluttering from the objects that you are not using. You can accommodate a minimalist lifestyle in all aspects. And actually, it is not only about ability, it is a must if you want to manage your time better.
Since we are spending most of our time at the office, we should eliminate all the distractions that prevent us from working especially in the workplace. Email notifications, slack conversations, phone calls, etc. Stop everything when you need to focus on a task.
We need to take the same actions when we are not in the office as well. Remove the applications that you are not using at all, close the notifications, decrease the amount of time that you are spending on social media, etc. Stop everything when you need to focus on your side hustles.
Don’t hesitate to take these actions. Don’t worry, after you remove all of the distractions, you’ll see that you are way better without them. A little courage to take the first step will be enough to feel that.
Find Your Comfort Time
Although it does sound perfect to be productive all the time during the day, the reality is different. Everyone has a most productive period during the day.
For example, for me, it is changing according to the time that I started the day.
If I manage to start the day around 7, between 10-12 am is my most productive period during the day.
If I start the day around 9, well then I need to wait until 3 to find my productive period. Actually, this is one of the reasons I always push myself to wake up early.
Anyhow, finding your comfort time is one of the essentials to be able to manage your time. Because, if you know what time is best for you to put in hard work, you can schedule your day easier.
Plan Your Day
Separate some time to plan your day as first thing in the morning. Check out all the tasks that you think you need to handle. Prioritize them according to their urgency. But don’t forget this. Everything that is urgent does not have priority.
Remind this rule to yourself to not fall into the trap of urgency. So you can manage your time and take care of the most important task in your comfort time.
Use a calendar and its alerts to see all the meetings that you have in one place. Schedule all of your meetings, cancel the unnecessary ones. Postpone the meetings that will not add value to your targets. Don’t let them ruin your daily plan.
Set A Time Limit For Each Task
Time tracking sucks. Trust me, I know. Because it puts pressure on you and pressure sucks, especially when it is coming from outside.
Unfortunately, time management is a little bit about putting pressure. And since no one wants to see pressure from the outside, I suggest you to put pressure on yourself in the first place. If you don’t, trust me, someone will.
And to be honest, managing time for someone else is frustrating. I think this is why there is a lot of tension in companies.
So, Manage your time better, don’t let anyone tell you how to manage your time. Set a time limit for each task, and push yourself to finish your task in the time that you determined.
Track Your Time
Track your time and analyze where you are spending your time during the day. You can do this either manually (by creating an easy excel sheet) or using time tracking tools like Toggl Track.
This will give you a better insight into your time management skill and help you to see missing points. After that, you can work on the points that you need to improve and start to manage your time wisely.
Did I say that before; you need help. There is nothing more exhausting than trying to do everything alone. You need to turn delegation into a habit both in work and in special life. You need to share the responsibilities to be able to carry all the burdens, daily grinds.
There is a misperception that only managers delegate tasks and manage time. This is not about who holds the power will delegate the tasks. This is totally wrong and dangerous for both companies and relationships.
In a company, from intern to CEO, everyone should be qualified in time management and task delegation. This is how you and your company will grow smoothly.
In a relationship, from kids to mom and dad, everyone should be qualified in time management and task delegation. This is how you and your relationship will level up.
Multitasking Is Not Working
Multitasking and efficiency. These two together sound to me like a mission impossible. I am not able to imagine someone who is dealing with so many tasks at the same time and productive as hell. Of course, I experienced it first hand too. How wouldn’t I? I wanted to be a superhero as well.
But let me tell you something is going to break your dreams. Multi tasking is not working. I am not saying that you can’t finish two or three tasks together. Yes, you can, no doubt.
But there will be a lack of value between the tasks that you did by not multitasking and the ones that you did with multitasking.
So, stop multitasking. Quality over quantity. One at a time. Tiny leaps, big changes.
Stop Looking For Perfection
You don’t have to be perfect to be successful. Nothing is perfect, don’t forget this. There will always be room for improvement. First things first. So, instead of chasing after perfection, finish your task. Feel the satisfaction of getting things done. Then work on improving the quality.
Dividing a task into small tasks is a good start to do that. Determine steps to finish a task. Every time you finish one of them, mark it as done. After you finish all of the small tasks, turn back and check for improvement points.
Clear Your Inbox
Checking email is a waste of time. Especially if you have a crowded inbox. You need to get rid of that clutter if you want to spend less time checking your emails. Here are some steps.
- Reserve a whole morning to organize your inbox if it’s necessary.
- Unsubscribe from newsletters that you don’t need at all.
- Create filters and send emails automatically to the files.
Don’t you know how to create rules to filter your emails?
For Gmail check here.
For Outlook check here.
Use The Magical Word: NO
Saying no to extra work is an appropriate time management technique. At the end of the day, you are the one who is responsible for your time. There is nothing wrong with saying no to someone or something that won’t help you to reach your goals.
Use your time wisely, don’t say yes to everything in advance neither in the office nor in your special life. Being selfish is not always bad.
Check the article below to learn how to say no:
Don’t Forget To Take Breaks
So, you need to find your comfort time to work, set a time limit for each task and there is no multitasking. I bet you think that you need to work like hell. Because if you apply all these steps, there is no time to get things done and reach your goals.
If this is what you are thinking, stop it. Your physical and mental health is more important than anything. If you don’t have both, you can’t achieve anything. And taking breaks during the day is really important to maintain a healthy life.
So, don’t forget to take breaks. Clear your mind before you start to think about work. Calm yourself, get energized.
There are a lot of methods to take reasonable breaks while you are working. You can check out on the internet by searching “effective breaks at work”, or “how many minutes of breaks I need”, etc. My favorite method is every 25 minutes. You can check different techniques in this article.
No matter how much you are passionate about your goals, putting effort into something is hard. Career targets, life milestones, relationship goals… You need to motivate yourself to run after them. This will make it easier to manage your time.
Think about it. Lack of motivation is one of the biggest reasons to start being lazy. If you lose your focus while you are working on something, most likely you will stop working. This will create delays for each task that you have.
So you need to motivate yourself while you are working. There are different methods to do this. I will share a small list with you below.
- Keep reminding yourself why you are doing this.
- Listen to music. Especially the songs that make you follow the flow.
- Watch inspirational videos from successful people. Ted Talks is a perfect source.
- Create a done list beside your to-do list. Check this list to celebrate your success.
- Keep reminding yourself how much you came until now. Giving up is not an option.
I don’t know if there is anything exercise doesn’t affect in a positive way. It is essential for everyone who wants to have a better life.
If you can manage to start the day with even 20 minutes of short practice, you will see a very positive effect on the rest of the day. Exercise will help you to open your mind and clear your view of the things that you need to handle during the day.
Watch Out Your Diet
Everything is connected. It is not going to work if you keep exercising every day but don’t take care of your diet. Maybe you will feel better for a while after you finish your daily practice but if you don’t watch what you are eating at breakfast, all the effort that you put in will be ruined (and same for all meals).
You should take care of your body. Failing that will affect your mood during the day and you will be ending up procrastinating.
I know it sounds boring. Who will strive to maintain a healthy lifestyle while trying to be an expert about time management? If you are thinking like this, let’s talk about things that can change your perspective. Here are two quick reasons for you to start to take care of yourself right away.
- As opposed to popular belief, preparing healthy food is not taking that much time. There are really easy meals out there that you can prepare to eat in 15 minutes.
- It is not a tall order. Absolutely you need to put in some effort but the value that a healthy lifestyle will add to you is worth trying.
Watch Out Your Sleep Cycle
This was one of the most beneficial tips that I found to improve my productivity (and ofcourse time management). As I mentioned in the wake up early part, the amount of sleep that we are taking every day is a determining factor for the rest of the day.
Be sure that you are going to sleep between 6-8 hours everyday. In addition to that, there is one more thing that you need to watch out for; your sleep cycle. According to researchers, if you can manage to sleep according to the time that you want to wake up, you will be vigorous for the rest of the day.
For more details, please check this article.
Problem solving, analyzing, arrangement, communication, and management. They don’t seem that hard to improve after all of these tips, techniques, and methods, right?
No? Okay then, keep calm and continue reading. I still have some tools and activity examples to share for time management.
Time Management Tools That Will Help You To Find Your Way
Personally, I still believe taking notes with paper and pen has a huge effect on self improvement. I am not ignorant about it though. Because It is a necessary thing to benefit from the blessings of technology in today’s fast and furious environment.
So actually, I am a fan of the balance between time management tools and traditional methods (like everything else in my life). I still keep taking quick notes and creating to-do lists in my notebook. But when it comes to taking detailed notes, keeping track of my time, creating detailed tasks with checklists I am using some tools.
Here I will share with you a small list of time management tools. I tried each one of them personally and found them useful to manage my time.
- Trello: One of the best free to-do lists apps for free.
- Evernote: A note taking app that will help you to accomplish more.
- Google Calendar: Well, it is time to turn your schedule into a to-do list.
- Monday: A project management tool with a bunch of features from time tracking to the activity log.
- Toggl: A time tracking tool that integrates with other project management tools like Asana, Trello, etc.
Also, check this article to find more to-do list tools that you can use:
Improve Time Management Skills With Activities
There are some time management activities that can help you to learn how to manage time in a fun way. These kinds of activities are mostly practiced by companies. But as a believer of self development, I think you can apply them to your journey as well.
I won’t go into the details about this topic. Because there is a detailed, well organized article out there about it. So, check out this article to see some examples of time management activities.
That was all. I know this was a long article. So, thanks for reading in case you could bear with it until the end! If you have any suggestions or questions about time management or comments about this article please let me know in the comments section below.