How To Master the Art Of Time Management

Whether at home or on the job, you’ll have a tough time getting things done if you don’t have time management skills. Time management is not difficult to master, it just takes practice.  To get you started, try to implement some of the following tips into your daily routine.
Time Management 101

First, use a planner or a calendar to keep you on task.  Chances are good that, once you write something down, you’ll be much more likely to remember it without even having to look at your to-do list.

The discipline of writing in a planner can be quite rewarding.  It will make you more mindful of the work you must accomplish and force you to organize your day more effectively to complete what’s on your list.  To make it easier to get into the habit of using your planner, try the following:

1.  Every morning, take a few moments to look over your schedule while eating breakfast or sipping your coffee.  This will help you map out your day in your head and make any necessary changes to your plan.  The more flexibility you have in your schedule, the better you will be able to get around unforeseen difficulties.

2.  Get in the habit of confirming appointments or meetings with people to make certain nothing has changed. When scheduling an appointment, don’t be afraid to suggest a specific time or date. You must account for large group meetings where you have no say in the day or time, but if a smaller meeting is in the middle of your day, see if it can be shifted to optimize your schedule. After all, you’ll lose a few minutes of productivity before and after the meeting as you re-gain your momentum and return to your personal schedule.

Don’t Over Commit Yourself

Many of us develop terrible time management habits because we want to be involved everywhere, help with everything and not want to hurt any individuals feelings by saying “No”. When you’re feeling harried and hurried, then you’re not performing at your optimal best.

It is of vital importance to think about your physical and mental health.  You’ll improve your time management skills by taking a brief break to reflect and gain perspective on what’s going on and where you need to place your focus.

1.   First, determine where you want to focus your activities. If you have children, decide before the school year starts how much time you have to commit to school or after-school activities.  If you do not have children, then decide how much time you can commit to volunteering at your house of worship, clubs, etc.

2.   At work, think carefully about which committees or groups you can participate in without over-extending yourself. If you over-commit yourself, the quality of your work will suffer.

If you find that you are constantly running behind schedule, try to wear a watch with an alarm or set a reminder  alarm on your cell phone.  In addition, setting your watch or clock 5-10 minutes ahead of the actual time will make it far easier to stay on time for appointments.  Just wearing a watch can make you a whole lot more time conscious – and fashionable too!

Add Some Structure To Your Day

Set a specific schedule for the morning and evening so you can accomplish routine tasks everyday. Eventually you’ll become more efficient and this will free up more time in your day for other activities.

1.   Set up a routine to follow in the morning to get your day off to a great start.  Make your bed as soon as you wake up.  Before you go out the door, tidy up your kitchen.  Put away the remains of your breakfast and clear the counters and table.  When you get home at the end of the day, not only are you able to enter into a pleasant environment, you’re able to take some time to unwind without rushing around.

2.   In the evening, de-clutter your living space, putting everything where it belongs. Clean up the dinner table, wipe down the counters, and do your night-time routine before climbing into bed. Taking care of these mundane tasks every evening ensures that you start your day in a pleasant environment.  Integrating even the most simple structure into your day will help you think clearer and feel more organized.

Time management is a simple, yet all important skill everyone needs to master.  Make it a top priority and you will amaze yourself with all of the extra time you will have to devote to your leisure time!

Susan Karim

Time Management and Personal Effectiveness Coach

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