In this day and age, it’s very hard for people to get everything done on time. Just ask yourself or many others around you. Time management issues are common, but there's still hope for the better! Read through these nine free time management skills that are able to help you get things done.
What is Time Management?
The first thing you might be interested in knowing is the definition of time management. In order to incorporate something into your life it is best to understand the whole concept. Time management can be defined as the ability for one to budget his or her time in order to be the most productive. More often than not, we have not one, but multiple tasks that lay ahead of us. In order to get everything done, we must make sacrifices and find ways to increase productivity by being organized. There are thousands of books, classes, and seminars on how to manage one’s time nowadays. However, before turning to such measures, you should attempt to understand this concept on your own first.
What are these free time management skills?
1. Don’t wait for the “right mood.” This is possibly one of the biggest mistakes when it comes to effectively using your time. If you wait for the best possible mood that will help you get work done, that mood may never come. It’s better to start the task right away and to force yourself into such a mood.
2. Know Deadlines and Plan Accordingly. Make sure you are planning to accomplish certain tasks at times when you don’t have other activities that might interfere with the things you need to get done. For example, if you are attending a concert the night before something needs to be done, do not wait until that night to start your task. More likely than not, it will ruin your chance at enjoying whatever else you have planned (ie. in this case a concert).
3. Organize your environment. I truly cannot stress this enough. Organizing the area that you are going to be working in could have a dramatic impact on how much you are able to get done or even your sense of motivation. For me, having a clean workspace gives me that extra push in the right direction. Don't underestimate this one, as it definitely pulls its weight in my gathered list of free time management skills.
4. Discover Your Best Time. This is another truly important factor in being better at time management. For many of us, we have certain ‘time-frames’ that we might be more apt to be productive in than others. In my case, I am much more productive at night when I no longer need to be anywhere at a given time. I just grab a cup of coffee, or even hit up the local Starbucks, and my gears start grinding away. Other people might work best in the mornings when they first wake up. Either way, find your best time to get work done and try to stick with it. (Realize this tip may or may not work for everyone; often times people may have other things like work or school planned during a specific part of the day, forcing them to do work at inconvenient times).
5. Exercise! Perhaps many people think that this does not relate to getting stuff done, however it may have a dramatic effect! Being able to workout on a routine basis requires motivation. It also gets the blood rushing and endorphins might even be released in the process. This, in turn, allows you to think clearer or to feel more motivated in doing a required assignment.
6. Pinpoint distractions and ditch them. Are you aware that you can’t accomplish anything with the T.V. on? Find the clicker and switch it off. Can’t work well with other people around? Go work in the library. Music doesn’t work for you? Turn it off! This tip is based more on people’s preferences and opinions than anything else. I know many people who work quite well with music playing. (Tip: Classical music has been shown to increase concentration).
7. Have an accountability partner. This is something people have done for a long time; look at all the friends who are accountability partners for each other when it comes to exercising or eating healthy. Often times when we’re accountable to someone we feel more motivated to do our work. We feel guilty if we don’t do what we say we are going to accomplish.
8. Detailed To-Do Lists. Now when I say keep a detailed to-do list, I mean very detailed. As in, nothing is too small to be placed on this list. This is by far one of the most effective, free time management skills out there. Without knowing what your tasks are, you will have no reason to manage your time. I often find that writing out a list of what I need to do and being able to manually check or cross off each item as I finish them is extremely rewarding. Not only this, but often I forget the things that I need to do, simply because I forget to write them down somewhere. As soon as I hear myself saying, “I’ll remember this later” I pull out my cell-phone and plug whatever it is into my to-do list. Your best bet is to write it down, even if you believe you’ll remember it.
9. The Pomodoro Technique. I actually was referred to this technique by one of my friends back in the day. Most of us have an issue with procrastination. This strategy, although I don’t claim to be an expert on it, involves using a timer while you do the things you need to get done. You set the clock for twenty-five-minute interval work periods. When you finish an interval, take a five minute break. The idea is that during those twenty-five minutes you focus every last bit of your energy and attention on the task at hand; no backtracking or distractions. This technique is extremely helpful for those who are willing to follow through with it and not cheat. However, if you aren’t able to do this, it may not be the right tactic for you. For more information about the Pomodoro Technique visit the official website for the method.
To Sum it all up..
There you go! A list of nine free time management skills. Let me know how, or if, these skills were helpful to you; please also feel free to share some techniques that you practice when it comes to effective time management.
Here are a few books that I recommend reading for further help with time management.
Getting Things Done by David Allen
Time Warrior by Steve Chandler