Time the last frontier, well not exactly, how we use our time management skills can be the last frontier if not done constructively.
Lastest study reveals that we spend most of our time, well you guessed it, on our smartphones. People now spend an average of 2 hours and 23 minutes on social media per day.
So, social media is one of your time consumers, with all this abundance of information in the digital world is very easy to lose track of time.
If we multiply 2 hours X 7 days this equals 14 hours per week on social media alone. In a year this equals 728 hours on our smartphones. This a full month 24/7 on a smartphone.
Ok, don’t want to sound dramatic, just want to show how easily we lose track of time, every second that passes on as no return.
Social media is only one example of how we can let the outside world run our clocks. With so much digital information available to all of us for free, no surprise that we think that we having a great time, but are we?
Are we making the most of the information available to us? Are we controlling the information being transmitted to our minds, or are we being influenced to another destination outside our control?
This only an answer that every individual can answer, however, we can get control our time if we just learn and improve on a few time management skills.
I want to share with you 7 time management skills, that will help you have better control of how you spend your time.
Also on the end of this article, is a few links to some of my favourite books on management of time.
7 Time Management Skills
- Planning -Simple as that, the first skill is planing. Plan what you gonna do in a week, I usually plan my week every Sunday for the next 7 days. Things that need to be done, things that I want to do, kids appointments all planed.
Having a weekly planner will only help you go through the days with a purpose and also organized. Your time matters, use it as such, if by the end of the week you did not accomplish all the tasks that you wanted, review it and start again the week after.
By the fourth week, you should have a neat weekly planner making it much more productive and having more control of your time.
2. Goals – Set Big Goals, having something to aim for will only make the use of your time more valuable. Example, having a goal like travel, go and see the 7 Wonder of the world in the next 5 years.
To achieve a goal like these you may need to work more, save more, study more, go to the gym, try to be promoted to earn more to pay for trips. Can you see the connection, now you start having something workable to invest your time on.
Not that I said invest your time, not your money. Investing your time in the right manner will only bring you the highest return.
3. Prioritize – Having a prioritization system will help you manage your time more effectively. Just right down all the tasks that you have to do in a day. In front of every task put one of this letters A-Important, B-Not, important D-Delegate, E-Eliminate.
Now you should have a clear idea in what to invest your time on. Using this simple system will help you have a better understanding of what tasks have more value in your life.
4. Focus – Having the right focus will help you direct your time to tasks that are of more value to you. So in what should you focus on? I will share a little exercise that can help you with that.
I want you to draw in a piece of paper two circles on smaller and one bigger. On the bigger one put the title – No Influence, and on the small one put influence. Now right in each circle the things that you do that do daily, things that you have influence or no influence.
This will give a clear picture of what you should be spending your time on, and more importantly eliminate the things that are not having any impact on your life.
5. Organization – Being organized, will save you tons of time. Having a tidy and decluttered home and workplace will not only make you feel more inspired but it will also make highly effective and productive.
So if you place is full of stuff you don’t use it for the last 6 months, sell it or give to charity. organize your place to match your daily needs. Make it spacious and easy to manoeuvre, The more stuff you have that you don’t need the more time you will spend tidying up, cleaning it, paying for it (time for money).
If you start by having an organized home to meet your demands, within time this discipline will be very helpful, especially in the workplace.
6. Proactivity – Acting instead of reacting, being a proactive person will only make more efficient. We all deal with challenges daily some more important than others, but they are all challenges. Having this management time skill takes a lot of practice, we as humans tend by nature to react first to the situation.
So what can you do the more proactive person? Well, first you need to learn to evaluate the problem. Is it important, Is it urgent, can I live with it, can it be sorted in another time? Having this reflection will give you some clarity on the issue. Next, you decide what actions you gonna take to sort the problem.
You can do something that I usually do that is, in a piece of paper write down the problem, and then come up with at least ten solutions. Then narrow that ten solutions down to three, then pick up the one you think, is more appropriated.
When looking for solutions don’t be afraid to ask people advice, this can save you a huge amount of time.
By doing this consistently within time, it will become part of your conscious mind, and you will start taking action without basically thinking following the same pattern as the writing down exercise.
7. Delegating – Learning to delegate efficiently will make you a master of time. Either your manager and delegate the right tasks to your team so that you can concentrate on the things that have more value on your job role.
Or in your private life, the way you sort out your problems are they being done in a way that for not wasting time in unnecessary things.
I will give you an example, once I had a problem with my car and me in mechanics complete zero. So, first, I google the issue, then read for 2 hours, then went to youtube another 2 hours, then spend another 3 hours playing around the car doing nothing.
The problem still not fixed. Decide to take to the professionals, went to one of your local mechanics, he sorted the problem in 30 mins and I paid a small fee.
So, basically I wasted 7 hours of my life and for a small fee got sorted. This is when I now suggest using the money to buy time. Instead of focusing on doing everything from cleaning, gardening, car wash etc, you should delegate these tasks to the professionals if you can afford. But see it as an investment in yourself. They will do much quicker, and you can spend that time improving your skills for your career or any other dream you want to follow.
In a nutshell
This is simple skills that with practice will become part of your daily life, and doing so you should see a massive improvement in your productivity.
But discipline takes time and effort to achieve. If you want to master this time management skills, take it slowly, start with small actions daily, do some of the exercises you learned in this article and practice, good luck.
Books Recommendations on Time Management
- The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey – Ken Blanchard,
- Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity – David Allen
- 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey