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Time management is the process of taking control of your time through planning, organising and leveraging how you use your time between specific tasks and activities.  Good time management enables you to make progress on your goals and achieve bigger results in less time, even when you feel you have a scarcity of time.

Effective time management means getting more of your important work done each day.  Effective time management is beneficial because it helps you become more effective, rather than efficient, with your time.  If you feel like you don’t have enough time, better time management will help you take control of your time, energy and focus so you can be less busy and more productive.

In this article, you’ll learn the importance of time management, discover essential time management skills and get 8 time management tips to manage your time effectively.   Read also: 10 benefits of time management.

Time management definition

Time management is the process of organising your time, energy and focus to achieve bigger results in less time.  Good time management enables you to take control of your time, even when you feel there isn’t enough time in the day.  Effective time management enables you to work smarter, not harder so you can achieve your desired results in less time, and in the most effective and productive way possible.

By effectively planning and organising your time each day you will stay focused on your most important tasks, rather than being distracted, which ensures you use your time productively.

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What is the purpose of time management?

The purpose of time management is to enable people to get more done in less time by working smarter, not harder.  By using effective time management skills you can improve your ability to function, stay focused and be more productive.

The objectives of time management are to ensure you are clear on your biggest priorities and spend more time working on them.  The purpose of time management includes:

  • Greater productivity
  • Less stress
  • More free time
  • Accomplish more in less time
  • Increased focus
  • Prioritise tasks
  • Achieve your goals quicker
  • Reduce distractions
  • Better planning
  • Organise your time

Why is time management important? 

Good time management enables you to focus your time and energy on your most important activities, so you can achieve more in less time.  Time management is important because we only have a limited amount of time each day to achieve the results we want, so it’s essential to maximise the time we have.

Effective time management impacts every area of your life.  When you can effectively manage your time in one area it frees up more time in another area for you to spend time on your most crucial and important activities.  Read more about the importance of time management.

What are some good time management skills?

Some of the most important time management skills include:

Prioritisation

Understanding your biggest priorities helps you manage your time better and maintain a clear picture of what you need to complete and when.  Taking the time to lay out your priorities each day saves time and increases focus.  Good time management skills help you prioritise your time better, giving you better direction and focus each day.

Goal setting

Setting goals gives you clear direction and focus, enabling you to manage time better.  Goal setting gives you a clear plan and path to manage your time well as you know exactly what you wan to achieve by when.

Planning 

Planning your time effectively helps you manage your time well and create time leverage.  When you take the time to plan and organise your time effectively you become more focused and productive.

Delegation

Good time management starts with understanding you can’t do everything yourself.  Delegation helps you expand the time you spend on your most important activities and eliminates low value work, which frees up more time.

Organisation 

Start improving your time management skills by getting better organised.  Staying organised and being clear on how to manage your time can make you more focused and productive.

Stress management 

Good time management harnesses your energy and motivation, and reduces stress.  Spending more time doing work you love boosts energy, while doing work you hate increases stress and lowers energy.  Boost your energy by spending more time on activities that deliver the biggest results.

Time management tips to manage time effectively

Use these 8 time management tips to manage time effectively.

1. Take a time check 

When it comes to time management, the first step you need to take is to understand where your time is going right now.  You can’t manage your time better if you don’t know where your time is going.

Many of us have a sense of where we think our time goes, but the reality is often very different.  The key to better time management starts with tracking your time for one working week or two if you can in 30-minute or 15-minute intervals.

Once you have a clear picture of how you actually spend your time, the next step is to get clear on whether you’re happy with how you’re managing your time or not.

If you want to improve how you manage your time, look at the things you want to do more of and the things you’d like to do less of.  As a starting point, take a moment to celebrate the things you’re happy about with how you’re spending your time right now.

Then pick a goal for how you want to manage your time in the future.  Using a timeframe of 90 days is a good starting point but you may want to change things up quicker.

2. Set a time limit 

Start improving your time management skills by by organising your time and setting a time limit for each task.  Parkinson’s Law states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”.  It’s easy to let time run away with you and spend longer than you should on tasks and activities.  To manage your time better, set a time limit for the work you’re doing.

If you allocate two hours for a project, try to ensure you finish within that timeframe.  Oftentimes when we’re learning something new, we can go down rabbit holes or try to make things perfect, rather than just getting the work done.

Try setting a time limit for completing the task, and see what happens.  The amount of time you allocate to complete a task influences the amount of time the task takes to complete.  With your next task, set a shorter time limit and see if you can complete it within that timeframe,  You may be able to complete that task quicker than you anticipated.

3. Prioritise your time  

Prioritising your most important activities is key to successful time management.  Prioritisation gives you clarity on what it important to help you achieve your goals, and what is not.  It is important to identify and focus on your priorities to achieve bigger results in less time.

If you have a long to-do list, it’s difficult to take control of your time.  Good time management is about simplifying your to-do list, which frees up more time.  You simplify by prioritising your most important work.

Once you know how to prioritise your tasks and your time, you’ll be able to manage your time effectively.  Prioritising your time ensures that you allocate sufficient time to complete your most important work.  Good time management enables you to identify your biggest priorities and helps you plan and organise your time effectively between those priorities.

4. Focus time on results 

One of the biggest challenges people face with managing their time is being busy without being productive.  When you struggle to manage your time effectively you can feel busy, yet unaccomplished.

Good time management stops you getting to end of the day asking yourself “Did I accomplish anything today?”

Managing your time enables you to focus your time on achieving results, rather than worrying about the time you’re spending.   When you focus on results, you’re always looking for the quickest and easiest way to achieve that result, which frees up time.

Don’t get to the end of the day with lots of unfinished tasks.  Identify  focusing on the results you want to achieve and look at ways you can leverage time to achieve them.

5. Focus on one task at a time 

Good time management can stop you feeling stressed and overwhelmed.  Overwhelm often happens when you have too much to do and too many things to think about.

The first step to managing your time better is to reduce your to-do list.  Do this by cutting back your to-do list to only three to five priorities each day.  Then once you have a reduced to-do list focus on one task at a time until completed.

6. Set better goals to free up time

Better time management starts with having better goals.  Setting goals clarifies your direction and destination, which enables you to prioritise better and improve how you manage your time.

It’s difficult to take focused action, and manage your time, if you aren’t clear on your goals and what the best use of your time is.

When you are clear on your specific goals the importance of managing your time effectively becomes much simpler.

Worrying about where you should spend your time and on what projects and people can be time-consuming.

Once you have the clarity and confidence around your goals, you’re ready to take more focused action, which naturally means you’re more in control of your time and more productive.

Instead of staring blankly at your to-do list wondering what to tackle, you will have a clear plan and path ahead of you.

This keeps you focused and energised and ensures you don’t waste time questioning what you should do next.

7. Spend more time using your strengths 

Good time management starts with spending more time on doing activities that utilise your biggest strengths and less time on activities that don’t.  It’s easy to waste hours, days or even weeks of time doing activities that you may not be good at, and would be better being done by someone else.

When you know your biggest strengths it allows you to delegate, which lets you focus on completing your most important and relevant work, that helps you achieve your goals.

When you can manage your time well, by focusing on your strengths, you are more productive, more creative, more effective and achieve results quicker.  Managing time well requires an important shift in focus from activities to results.  The quickest way to achieve results is to focus more time on your strengths.

8. Protect your time 

Good time management means protecting your time so it can be focused on a small number of things that produce bigger and better results.  You can’t manage your time effectively if you feel constantly feeling tired, stressed, frustrated and fatigued.

To stay productive and control your time, taking time out to rejuvenate and energise ensures you are always at peak productivity and creativity levels.

Working longer and longer hours doesn’t make you more productive.  Good time management helps you protect your time by prioritising your goals and most important work.

Setting better boundaries around your time enables you to focus your time on your most important activities, which helps you achieve more in less time by being clearer, more energised and more focused.

Conclusion 

Failing to manage time means a lot of time wasted which you can never get it back.  Good time management skills opens a world of possibilities to produce much bigger results at work and have more time for the people that matter at home.

By managing your time better, you can expect to be more confident and effective at the things that matter most.  By learning how to manage time effectively you’ll feel more energised and productive, which translates into living fully and trying exciting things in the freed up time you’ve found in your day.

Now I’d love to hear form you.

How do you manage your time effectively to get more done?

Let me know in the comments.

Time management articles 

5 ways to leverage time to increase productivity 

Manage time with these time management tips 

5 time management techniques for busy business owners 

The productivity guide: my best productivity tips 

The 7 most important productivity tips you need to know 

How to increase productivity and achieve more in less time 

About the Author

Mark Pettit is the Founder of Lucemi Consulting and a small business coach to business owners who want to simplify their time, energy and focus so they can multiply their freedom, impact and results.

Get more articles, tips and tools to help you improve your time management skills so you can simplify your time to multiply your results on the blog.

Sign up to my Time For What Matters newsletter to get even more tips on how to manage time effectively.


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