10 Essential Time Management Tips

Looking for some time management tips?  

These are the ones that will make the most difference in your life and work

Learning how to manage your time wisely is the foundation on which to improve any and every aspect of your life. Your career, wealth, relationships, health and well-being all depend on your ability to know what matters, then to spend more time doing it.

Apply these 10 time management tips to help you achieve whatever you want:

1. Appreciate the importance of time and why your management of it matters

We all get the same amount of time to use as we choose - it’s what we do with it that counts.

Boost your appreciation of the finite nature of the most precious commodity we have and you’ll automatically be more motivated to make the most of it.

This is the starting point for everything else. You can only improve your management of time if you value it, so do that first.

2. Plan your day

Planning means you’ve thought about what you could do and then decided what you should do. It’s the one element of these time management tips that you need to master if you want to get the right things done.

Whether it’s for a day, a week, a month or even longer term, planning matters.

Of all those time frames, understanding how to plan your day is the first one to focus on getting right because it’s the one where you can see immediate results ("Did I do the tasks I’d planned for today?").

It also enables you to incorporate longer term planning, batch similar tasks and schedule the unscheduled. Learn how to plan your day.

3. Choose your highest value activity

This doesn’t mean you should aim to be constantly working on your highest value activity; it means you should aim to do it, and that could be work, rest or play.

It’s all about balance.

The best use of your time right now should be dictated by your finite daily list, and that should allow for some downtime.

You’re not a machine - we all need to take a break, and that is a vital part of your day. The key is to not allow it to spiral out of control - that’s when downtime becomes wasted time.

Work, however, can, and should, be prioritized.

4. Put limits on things

Everything you do has a price. It costs time. And, time, just like money, can slip away so easily unless you put a limit on how you spend it. 

This is particularly true for your unscheduled roles, goals, tasks and projects.

Of course you need to make progress with what you’re focusing on, but if you habitually do so for too long it will be to the detriment of everything else in you life. 

Learning when to stop is just as important as knowing how to start (see point 7).

5. Do things well enough

‘Good enough’.

It’s not a fashionable phrase, is it? 

But it’s the reality of everything we have or produce. In terms of time management tips this is crucial to accept and to harness.

Aim to find the sweet spot in terms of time and effort you put in for rewards.

Too much and you’ll have wasted both. Too little and you may as well have not bothered at all.

Develop your ability to be efficient and effective by harnessing the power of the Pareto Principle.

6. Make time for the important but not urgent

One of the most important time management tips is this: Ring fence time to deal with things when they show up, not when they blow up.

This means regular scheduling for those things that you know are important, but don’t need to be dealt with immediately… yet.

If you can do this you’ll have far fewer crises to react to and you’ll feel far more on top of things.

This is based on the time management matrix.

7. Expect to procrastinate… but have a strategy for it

Let’s face it - we all have to do things that are difficult, boring or both. And these are the very things that can lead to the time sink-hole that is procrastination.  

It’s all too easy to put things off with time fillers of various value. Everybody does it to a greater or lesser extent.

Accept that, but also learn how to overcome it.

How?

By breaking things down and making them easier.

8. Just say No

Have you seen ‘Yes Man’, the movie where the guy says Yes to everyone and everything?

Nice idea for a movie, but totally unrealistic.

There’s nothing wrong with saying Yes to someone or something; just make sure you’re aware of the implications of doing so, because it will cost time, particularly if it’s a role, goal or commitment.

One of the most important time management tips I’ve got for you is to learn how to be assertive and say No.

9. Dare to delegate!

Trusting others to do what matters is all about balancing risk (will they do it well enough?) with reward (you don’t have to do it).

Look for opportunities to do it. Start with small tasks and build up from there.

In the longer time you will benefit because you’ll be able to put more time into those high value activities, the ones that no one else can do.

That applies to your personal life as much as it does to your work. Stop wasting time on things you don’t need to do and delegate your work.

10. Do it all in the name of balance

All these time management tips point to one thing… making the best use of your time.

But what does that actually mean?

In a word...

Balance.  

Effective time management is all about doing what matters (hence the slogan of this site).  To do that you need to know what this means for you with respect to you work and your personal life.

Time management success is when you feel that you’re achieving a healthy balance between the two.

The key is to keep it that way.


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