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Principles of time management - 10 tips to help you succeed

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Managing one's time has become a major concern for professionals as today's demands and the "hustle culture" continue to grow. Many people have a hard time managing time effectively because of their mindset. In fact, research shows that even though time management is made easier, only 17% of US employees track their time. Like money, energy, and power, time is a valuable resource, but we often underestimate its worth.

To answer the question of how to better manage time, we must first understand why time is valuable. As such, the Workee team will share ten insightful time management tips. We've included six dos and four don'ts from experts in different fields in the hopes that you'll take them to heart and, more importantly, put them into action.

What is time management, and why is it so important?

The term "time management" refers to the practice of effectively planning and allocating time spent on tasks/activities. A well-managed schedule allows you to prioritize, focus and deliver excellent results. Time is a precious commodity. So, to make the most of it, time management is critical.

According to a 2021 study, 82% of people do not use any time management system. Now imagine how much more you could accomplish if you had a proper time management system to guide you. You'd have structure and balance, which is essential in both our personal and professional lives because they're inextricably linked.

Benefits of managing your time

Time management pumps up productivity and efficiency, lowers stress, and accelerates one's chances of success in life. Organizing your time enables you to reap the following benefits.

1. A break from the pressures of daily life 

The first step toward effective time management is planning. You'll be able to handle anything when you establish and adhere to a schedule. Additionally, as you cross things off your "to-do" list, you'll notice a significant decrease in anxiety and stress levels. Using this approach allows you to track your progress and make adjustments as required, and also meet targets/deadlines.

2. More time for yourself and loved ones

The average US workweek is 40+ hour workweek or 8 hours per day. However, according to time management statistics, 94% of employees work more than eight hours per day and work a total of 50 hours per week. By all indications, work-life balance is still an issue for many working individuals. Better time management will allow you to get more done while still leaving time for hobbies and other personal pursuits.

3. Increased productivity 

You can accomplish more and be more productive if you have good time management skills. Reduce stress and prioritize your time with time management skills. It's important to know what you want out of life and prioritize your tasks accordingly. With more time on your hands, you'll be able to do things better and accomplish more.

4. Focused attention

Managing your time improves your focus and increases your output. You can seize greater opportunities when you are more laser-focused. Additionally, it allows you to devote more time to the things that truly matter. Effectively managing your time is critical for improving focus and prioritizing your tasks. As a result of better time management, you become more attentive and more in control of your workday.

How to manage time effectively: The dos and don'ts

The Workee team talked to some industry leaders and compiled a list of the 10 most effective time management recommendations that have paid off the most. 

Here’s a quick rundown of their time management principles:

The dos of time management

  • Boost your self-discipline and drive. 

  • Use the ABC principle to your advantage. 

  • Plan your schedule and stick to it.

  • Work on your organizational capabilities. 

  • Recognize the amount of time necessary to get work done.

  • Set boundaries for yourself. 

The don'ts of time management

  • Don’t be a ''yes man''.

  • Never start anything without a plan.

  • Don't add your backlog to your current workload. 

  • Don't be fooled by the myth of multitasking — take on one task at any time (if possible).

Top 6 dos of time management 

Let's start with the fundamental things to keep in mind to make effective use of time.

  • Boosting self-discipline and drive

To effectively manage your time, it is essential that you identify the source of your self-discipline and inspiration. Regarding self-discipline, people have either a strict or lax approach, depending on the situation. Time management is a skill that can only be learned with the help of an external schedule or time pressure. 

This could be a university assignment deadline, a predetermined 9-5 work schedule, or hiring a personal trainer to keep you in line with your health goals. Time management may necessitate relying on self-discipline and accountability for others. There are a variety of ways you can do this, such as becoming your own boss and setting your own schedule. When you identify your preferred method of discipline and make small changes in your life to accommodate it, time management becomes a lot more probable. 

You should also take into account the source of your motivation when learning time management. Psychiatry's WEIMS (Work Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivation Scale) posits that our motivation can come from either an external source (such as our parents or work colleagues) or an internal source (such as our desire to succeed) (self-validation, self-growth, progression in a career, money, power, experience, the genuine want to succeed). 

Self-determination can be derived from either motivational sources or a combination of the two (why we manage our time to achieve a goal). To avoid procrastination and appreciate the time required to accomplish a task, we must first establish a purpose for what we are doing. 

  • Using the ABC principle to your advantage 

Each goal and task should be assessed in terms of the return on your time, effort, and money investment. You should categorize them into 3 groups:

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The most important tasks are 15% of the total number of tasks. The contribution of such tasks to achieving the goal is about 65%, so it is better to deal with them yourself and immediately.

Important tasks — 20% of the total. Their significance for achieving the goal is about 20%. With these tasks, you need to decide whether to delegate them or not — it all depends on the importance of the final goal and the competence of colleagues.

  • Planning your schedule and sticking to it

When it comes to managing your time better, deadlines may be crucial. Recalling how deadlines can be associated with external or internal negotiators, this mentality can be applied to the latter. If you have established deadlines, you can easily prioritize what needs to be done and in what order. Due to time pressure, stress neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine are also released. Study after study, such as Amabile's in 1976, has shown that people who are given deadlines are more motivated to finish their work and do so in a timely fashion.  It is possible to have a year-long health goal set by your doctor, as well as project deadlines and assignment deadlines set by your university. When it comes to internal deadlines, they can be anything from finishing an assignment on time to losing two pounds by a certain date to finishing a semester's worth of schoolwork. 

  • Organizing yourself 

Having a plan in place may be the most important factor in your success. As well as saving you a lot of time, it'll also improve your overall health. First and foremost, you need to know how to get around your workplace. Avoid wasting time on things you need for your jobs, such as a pen, a piece of paper, your notes, or anything else. 

It's the same with your work computer. A few seconds spent organizing your computer's files can save you hours of time and frustration in the long run. Make your workplace a space where you can relax and recharge your batteries with memories of your loved ones, such as family photos. 

Why health? A well-organized person does not have to worry about being late or overburdened with tasks because they are always aware of what is going on. You'll also feel more at ease in a clean and organized environment. You can expect a whole post dedicated to the topic of being organized and keeping one's workspace in order in the near future! 

  • Setting boundaries 

The best way to be creative is not to think outside the box but rather to carefully define the boundaries of your thinking. The very nature of limitations serves to spur inventiveness. 

The reason you're having a hard time getting started or getting nowhere is probably that your limits aren't clearly defined. With a limited amount of time, for example, one can better focus their efforts than with an unlimited amount of time. During the early stages of high-resistance tasks, use short, limited time bursts to overcome procrastination. 

  • Understanding the amount of time needed 

You have a duty to respond even if the project owner has imposed a deadline on you. Understanding the project's time constraints is critical for project leaders. Before committing to a project, figure out how much time it will take from the beginning to the end. 

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Top 4 don’ts of time management 

In order to help you better manage your time, here is a list of things you should avoid doing. 

  • Don’t always say yes

Practice saying "no" to tasks that you feel pressured to complete unless something truly important comes your way. Instead, focus on the things that are important to you and that you enjoy doing rather than wasting your time and energy on things that are not. 

If you're a "yes" person, you may end up taking on too much work and becoming overworked. This serves no one's interests. You'll be under a lot of pressure, and your manager will probably be annoyed that you haven't finished the work on time or in a satisfactory manner. Be confident in your ability to say "no" when you're feeling overwhelmed by a project.

  • Never begin without a plan 

According to a science direct study on time management, 88 percent of people who don't set academic goals fail to improve their grades. However, only two out of every ten people who set goals saw an increase. This fact also applies to every sphere.

One of the most important time management principles is planning. "Failure to plan is planning to fail," Benjamin Franklin famously said. There is a good chance that if you don't have a plan in place for the day, you'll waste a lot of time wondering what you should be doing. You'll also lose a lot of your productivity as a result.

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to work and planning. Making plans is the starting point for the planning process. There are numerous planning apps available on the internet, such as Todoist, Trello, and Google Calendar. All you have to do is find the best one for you, and once you start planning, it will be much easier to start, finish, and move on to the next tasks.

  • Don’t add your backlog to your current workload

People need to integrate a system that works for new things to work right. If you've got a lot of work on your plate, prioritizing is key. Think about what you need to do in a day, categorize your tasks based on their importance or difficulty, and tackle these first. It will continue to shrink until it is completely gone. Another way is to delegate or outsource your tasks. If you get these steps right, you can start getting rid of the backlog before it overwhelms you.

  • Don’t be fooled by the myth of multitasking — focus instead

It's time to give up the false bravado of the multitasker. 

Everyone thinks that they can juggle things. There are times when you can, but only for a short period. In the long run, it won't work. Did you know that if you get distracted, it takes you an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to work? It is always better to give your full attention to one task at a time to achieve the best results.

Conclusion 

Even though time management can be a complicated process, it is critical for any business that wants to maintain consistent growth and increased productivity. To ensure a successful workforce, follow the time management principles outlined above. They are essential for completing projects and can be used as a continuous improvement tool to ensure future success.

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