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Tips and Tricks to Master the Art of Time Management (and why it matters)




Each day, if we are lucky, we get 1,440 minutes to do what we want. That's what one day is made up of, yet if we had an accurate snapshot of how we squander those minutes, we'd probably be surprised and disappointed. Most of us take those minutes for granted, and we end up using them on mindless things, neglecting what we really need to do. The good news is that there is an art of time management. It is a skill that is worth learning, one that can be developed, and ultimately leads to greater life satisfaction. 

 

“Time is our greatest currency and something we must tend to and treat well,” explains Katie Sandler, a personal development and career coach. "When we improve our time management skills, it spills over into every facet of our lives – no one ever regrets bettering their how they organize and use their time."

 

Some may wonder if it is even possible to manage time and whether or not it makes a difference. Researchers set out to answer these questions, too, and they shared their findings in a 2021 issue of the journal PLoS One. They conducted a meta-analysis to review the studies done on time management. They found that time management is moderately related to job performance, academic achievement, and wellbeing. They report that being skilled in time management can help people do better at work, get top grades in school, contribute to a life well lived, and nurture one's psychological wellbeing. All in all, organizing time effectively leads to a decrease in stress and an increase in productivity and life satisfaction. 

 

After making the case for why practicing the art of time management is worthwhile, the next step is to determine how one goes about it. Most people are not adequately taught time management skills during their youth, and they spend years in adulthood learning more about them as well. There are plenty of things that people can do, however, to master the art of time management.

 

By working on time management skills, we can start working smarter rather than harder. We can find more time in our days to spend with those we love or do what we love, and we can help reduce the stress in our lives. It will also help us live more intentionally and lose the guilt we carry around for not getting everything done.

 

Here are some tips and tricks for mastering the art of time management:

 

  • Create lists. It is essential to have a designated to-do list. Lists are a proven method of helping people achieve more, stay on task, and be more efficient. Make a list of what needs to be done each day.

  • Prioritize. Everyone has a lot on their plate, including jobs, families, chores, invitations, etc. We have to learn to prioritize and do the most important things first, let some things fall off the list, and say no to some things.

  • Calendar. Use a calendar system to help you stay on top of what needs to be done, what is coming up, and what plans are made. This will help prevent people from being stressed out when they realize they forgot about certain things that they are supposed to be doing. Using a calendar system helps people be more efficient. 

  • Do the hard things first. When we have a list of things to do, we should get the most challenging thing out of the way first. This way, we feel a sense of accomplishment and can move through the rest of the list more quickly.

  • Delegate. There are many things that can be delegated, but too often, we try to take it all on ourselves. Learn to delegate so the workload is spread around, and yet everything still gets done.

  • Practice the Pomodoro technique. This popular technique involves spending 25 minutes working on a task and then taking a 5-minute break. This method helps us stay focused on the work because we get a little break after the block of focused time. After four rounds of this, take a 20-25-minute break.

  • Use technology. Numerous technology tools can help people become more productive. People should find ones that fit their lifestyle and incorporate them into their lives.

  • Practice self-care. Making time for self-care will help reduce stress, improve happiness, and keep people feeling their best. Whether getting a massage, steadily working out, or taking some downtime to read, self-care is essential for our wellbeing.

  • Remember Parkinson’s law. This law says that we will take the time we set for something. For example, if 30 minutes are allotted for an activity, we will usually take all 30 minutes to do it. Yet we could take the same task and give ourselves 20 minutes, and we will still get it done in that time. Work tends to expand to fit the time that has been allotted for it, so focus on allotting less time for each task.

 

“The impact that effective time management has on our lives is so great that it cannot be understated or ignored,” added Sandler. “We have to make it a focus in our lives to gain the benefits that come with it. Our time is our greatest gift, let’s be more mindful about it and see where that gets us."

 

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