7 Tips for Optimum Time Management

1/31/2016 6:52:41 PM


The essence of life is time and choices

~ Author Unknown

Did you know that February is National Time Management Month? I know, it seems like a silly thing to dedicate an entire month to, but, clearly, time management has become one of our greatest challenges in this distraction-laden world. Whether it’s from our tendency to overcommit or succumb to the temptations of our technology, we’re devoting more of our time to lower value activities. Not surprisingly, it’s affecting our productivity and our ability to focus. We’re all susceptible, but especially our younger generation.

Here’s the thing with time: You either use it or you lose it. Let that sink in. Once a moment (or an hour, or a day) is gone, it’s gone for good. Because of this, time should be considered a prized possession to be used wisely. That means allocating our limited time according to our priorities and their value.

Being a wise manager of time can help you be a better student, a better employee, a better parent, and lead you toward a more organized and efficient way of living. With only 24 hours in every day (and no choice in the matter!), our level of success and impact will be directly proportional to how well we respect the value of our time.
How can you become a wise time manager? Here are seven tips to help you master your schedule and get the most out of each day:

  1. Keep your cell phone somewhere else when you need to be focused on a specific task at hand (especially if it has a deadline). Phones can be a major distraction and will cause you to waste precious moments.
  2. Organize a daily to-do list by urgency (deadline) and priority (importance). Take both into account when deciding on what to focus on that day and by all means focus on the most important and urgent tasks. You can even develop a 2 X 2 matrix and assign your tasks accordingly.
  3. Don’t hesitate to tell someone “no.” No one has the capacity to say “yes” to everything. Everyone needs margin.
  4. Find your best venue for focused work. Is it your home office? In a coffee shop? On your back patio? The library?
  5. At the end of each day, take a few moments to reflect on how you allocated your time. Did you spend most of it on higher value activities and achieve your daily goals? Are there lower value activities you can trim back?
  6. Take periodic breaks. Studies show that we are less productive when we work over an hour straight without a five-minute break thrown in to clear our mind. Breaks help us recharge!
  7. Learn to multi-task when it comes to responsibilities or activities that are lower on the priority list. For example, I rarely watch TV without doing something else, like catching up on e-mails or going over my calendar for the rest of the week. (For college students, this could look like going over your study schedule while simultaneously watching Netflix with your roomies.)

There you have it. This February, focus on becoming wise and masterful managers of your time. Remember, you can’t recover time that’s been wasted!
Photo credit: winnond by freedigitalphotos.net