Time is the most valuable resource we have here on planet Earth; it is indispensable and irreplaceable. But it isn’t just through the fingers of CEO’s that time is seemingly slipping through. It slips through the fingers of everyone; parents, teachers, students, servers, farmers, even kids. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you are doing, you might (often or not) get an anxious feeling that you could use more time or at least find some effective time management strategies.
Since having more than 24 hours in a day is impossible (at least here on Earth), we must try making wise choices with the time we do have.
Sometimes, we get so caught up fighting the great battle of time that we miss out on the things in life we really care about. We all know those mornings. Running around the house in a panicked hurry, shoving pop tarts down our throat while hopping into our pants. Deciding to pass on brushing our teeth and scurrying out the front door while whispering profanities at our car for not starting fast enough.
Do you ever stop to think what you are missing? Do you ever think about the things in life that are truly important to you that you are completely putting aside? For instance, eating well, being mindful, sleeping well, stopping to appreciate the world around you, having close friendships, etc.
It’s important to ask yourself these questions: What are you trying to get out of this life? What is the purpose? And, most importantly, are you fulfilling that purpose?
Setting aside how you are actually spending your time, it is important to look at how you would like to be spending your time. Try coming up with a list of 10 things you would like to spend time in your day doing. Think of things that are most important to you.
- Eating well and mindfully
- Appreciating the little things
- Getting a good night of sleep
- Reading/learning new things
- Spending quality time with loved ones
- Spending time outdoors
Consistently go back to this list to remind yourself of what is most important to you in your life. If how you are actually spending your time doesn’t align with how you truly want to be spending your time, remind yourself why you are here, how you want to live your life, and make adjustments. You can do this through time management strategies.
10 Effective Time Management Strategies
Below you will find 10 time management strategies that work. I suggest you start out slowly and try a couple and see how things progress. Understand you won’t see a complete change overnight. Also, not all will work for you. The trick is figuring out which ones work best for you and sticking to them.
#1. Prioritize: Look at a list of what you need to get done, and number the items in order of importance. For example, put a 1 by the most important, 2 by the second most important, and so on. If you feel like you can’t get everything done, the lower level items can usually wait until later.
#2. Task Time: Decide about how much time (and energy) each task is going to take, and write that next to each task. This will help you to map out how much additional time you have and can give you some peace of mind.
#3. Allow Some Spaces in Time: Things come up, we cannot deny that. It’s the worst when unplanned things come up and we have absolutely no time to spare; that’s when things get really stressful. If you allow some wiggle room in your plans, you won’t have to worry about life’s inevitable interruptions.
#4. Relax and Exercise: Without relaxation, your brain can fail to properly operate and all of your efforts may go to waste. You’ve earned it. Set aside time. Whilst it be 15 minutes or an entire day, just breathe, clear your mind, and relax. On the same hand, exercise is also very important, for your brain will fail to function properly without it as well.
#5. Set Aside Time: Instead of immediately answering emails, texts, and phone calls, try setting aside a specific part of your day to do so. These constant daily interruptions tend to really throw off our momentum and thought patterns. Since sometimes it can be rather difficult to do get back in the flow, when you are in the flow, allow yourself to remain in the flow.
#6. Be Easy: Be easy on yourself. Accept your limitations. Time is a limited resource, and we are only human. Be able to let things go without giving yourself too hard of a time. It is impossible to get absolutely everything done.
#7. Spice It Up: Having a difficult time getting a task done? Try doing it differently. For instance, writing articles can sometimes be difficult for me. I write them much more slowly when I am at home or around people I know. However, when I go to a coffee shop by myself to work, I tend to get things done much more quickly. The coffee may help with this as well!
#8. Don’t Try To Multi-task: I know, it sounds contradictory, but our brains get into a weird funk when we try and do too many things at once. It best to hash things out one by one. If you have many tasks, try planning your day in blocks. You can even try and order them to where you are doing similar tasks consecutively, just not all at once.
#9. Stop Procrastination: Yes! Do it! One trick I do with myself is to set personal deadlines that are far earlier than the actual deadline of the task. For instance, if a project is due on the 15th of the month, I will tell myself it’s actually due on the 10th. Also, start the day out doing tasks you find to be the least pleasant, and give yourself small rewards throughout the day for having completed them.
#10. Stay Calm: Probably the most important of the time management strategies, having a number of tasks to do in a day can oftentimes cause a sense of anxiety. Guess what anxiety helps with? Absolutely nothing. The most important thing to do while feeling stressed is to breathe and think about the fact that it really will be okay if the task doesn’t get finished. Pause for a moment and think about your life as a whole, is it really going to make a huge difference if you get this particular task done right now, or if you just wait until tomorrow? Is it worth the stress? For example, it is scientifically proven that getting a restful night’s sleep yields higher results on tests than staying up and stressfully cramming.
It is not inevitable that time is going to slip through your fingers. You may not be able to produce more time, but you can end the great battle by making proper choices and better use of it through effective time management strategies. By remembering and focusing on what is most important to you in life and what you want to spend your time doing, you will have a much better grip on the most valuable resource on this planet and feel rich, rich, rich.
[Photo Credit: khfalk]