Time Management

By Audrey Marlene

Time Management

Have you ever noticed how busy your day seems, getting your daily workload at the office done, trying to fit in some personal errands, handling the kids and exhausted at the end of it? Then at the end of the week as you look back, it just doesn't seem like you are making the kind of progress you hoped for. Feelings of frustration and overwhelm take over and you feel discouraged. This scenario occurs most days as you watch the weeks turn in months and into years and you seldom seem to get ahead as you had expected.

The key to achieving any kind of success in life is learning time management. Even though you have the intelligence, ambition, financial backing and all the goals set in place, ineffective time management will sabotage you each time. Personal time management is an essential component to reaching any goal. By managing your time effectively, you will automatically improve your level of efficiency and increase your productivity.

When you learn to manage your time effectively, you gain more control over your life on many levels. You can have full control of most of the events surrounding it. Then you will discover more time for family, friends, making a contribution to society, or taking care of your health.

The good news is that you can learn this skill of time management. Learning this skill can go a long way in helping you accomplish any task you dream of undertaking. It can also relieve you of stress and anxiety and brings more peace of mind, and not to mention the accomplishments of your goals. It's a win win!

Planning Ahead

The key to effective time management is planning ahead. Each evening before you end your day, you must plan out your schedule for the following day. List in pencil all the things you plan to tackle for the following day(s). Know what your long-term goals are and how to prepare short-term to accomplish them accordingly.

First you must take into account the time of day when you are most alert and full of energy so your can plan your heaviest tasks around those hours. However, keep in mind that the morning hours are the most productive. You know your biorhythms better than anyone else so plan accordingly.

Know your strengths and your weaknesses. Don't overload yourself when you know you become overwhelmed easily and shut down. It is better to schedule 1 important task and accomplish it than to attempt 5 tasks and not complete any. Don't feel afraid to ask for help. Delegating is one effective way of getting things done. if you find that you still have trouble with planning your time effectively, life coaching is one source where you can find the assistance you need.

If your objective is to achieve a particular goal you must first learn to prioritize. This is an important step in time management. You must organize your list based on its importance. Realize you will have daily tasks to attend to as well as tasks that bring you closer to accomplishing your goals. There will also be emergencies that pop up occasionally, which you must attend to. However, after you have taken care of the emergency, immediately return to your objectives.

Next, realistically determine how much time you feel it would take to complete each task. Schedule appointments whenever and wherever you can. Give yourself enough time to complete each task. This time management tip prevents procrastination. Allow one day, or one week, or one month depending on the task. Make it fun by challenging yourself to get your task completed by a specific time. Most of all, remember that with each plan and with each execution of your plan, you are one step closer to achieving your ultimate goal. No task is too small when it comes to planning ahead.

Don't forget your planner behind!

Saying NO

For effective time management to take place it is essential to be selective of the tasks you undertake. Learning to say NO can move you light years ahead in managing your time. Let's face it, saying YES to someone's request feels good. It gets us liked and we feel as if we are indeed helping. We believe that by saying yes, others will perceive us in a positive light. There are those who say yes out of guilt or just out of habit. The important thing to remember is:

  • saying no is not minimizing someone else's request.
  • saying no is not being selfish.
  • saying no means saying YES to you.
  • saying no means giving some thought to what was requested of you. Here you can take the time to explore the request to see if you can realistically commit to it.
  • saying no means putting a request on hold until you know you can complete the task efficiently.
  • saying no means relieving yourself of unnecessary stress
  • However, you must learn the right way to say NO. If it is abrupt you will be perceived negatively. The best way to handle a request is to ask for some time to think about the requested task. Assure the person you will get back to them. This gives you the opportunity to examine the task and your schedule to see if you can fit it in. Then you contact that person and humble decline. Let that person know that you are honored to be considered for the task, however, you would like to be considered for future tasks because at this time it you will not be able to do a thorough job.

    Once you have made some progress with your schedule and you feel you can donate some something extra time, let it be known. In the meantime, be careful not to overload your life. This can cause enormous stress, anxiety and slow down your efforts.

    Learning to say NO is a great step forward in time management.

    Time Hijackers

    If you do not get into the habit of planning your time in advance there are many other factors that can hijack your time as well. Let's take a look at some of them.

    Lack of focus

    Not having a goal or an objective can seriously hijack your time and interfere with your time management ability. You will float through life and not accomplish anything. This is the first step towards achieving any goal. One you have identified your goal decide how you plan to achieve it. Determine how much time and effort it would take to accomplish it in terms of days, months, and years. Then begin prioritizing and planning your time each day. If you don't know where to begin contact a life coach. Sometimes we all need some coaching in playing the game of life.


    So you've identified your objectives and goals and feel enthusiastic about embarking on your journey. You have everything written down and you feel confident to begin. However, you begin to find over ways to avoid getting your list of things done. This is a sure time hijacker and you will NEVER reach your objective this way.

    One reason why many people procrastinate is because of their inability to plan ahead. When they identify a task, they are unable to predict how much time is needed for such task and begin too late. What eventually happens is you begin to scramble to the finish line, forgetting important pieces of information along the way while the task is shabbily finished. It is not your best work and you end up settling for a credibility of mediocrity. Effectively planning your time can prevent this from happening.

    The Telephone

    This is a huge hijacker in time management. Some of us forget the control we have over the telephone. Instead we allow the telephone to control us and it ends up hijacking our time. The moment is rings we feel we must immediately attend to it. there is not rule that you have to attend to the phone each time it rings. Today with caller ID available you can identify your callers. When you are focused on your task at hand and the time you have to accomplish it, you must learn to better control the telephone. Unless it's an emergency, let the phone ring when you need to preserve your time. If there is a problem, the caller will leave a message. You can check your messages and decide how to attend to the issue or how much importance you want to give it at the time. This can save you many hours throughout your day.

    Time Management Tips

    Here are some tips to think about when thinking about planning your time.

    Personal organization

    This is an area that must be addressed from the start. Personal disorganization will get you nowhere fast. I have noticed this is an area that is difficult to admit to. Unable to personally organize is not a sign of lack of intelligence or incapability. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and this may be one of your weaknesses. If it is an area you need help in, solicit the help of a life coach. Once you have some personal, organizational infrastructures in place, your time will be spent more wisely and you can make quicker progress towards achieving your goals. In order to plan ahead, you must have your personal life and personal space organized. Social time

    We all love to visit with our friends and enjoy some fun, social moments together. However, these times must be planned otherwise they can interfere with your time management. When you friends call for a spontaneous get together, if you have planned ahead and accomplished you tasks for that day, then you will have the time available for some fun and laughter. If you haven't planned properly and was unable to complete your planned tasks for that day, when you get together with your friends you cannot feel completely relaxed knowing that you still have 3 very important things you didn't attend to. You don't have to accept every invitation you receive for socializing. Remember you are ultimately in control of how much time to spend socializing. This can consume your life without even realizing it. Learn to say NO sometimes. Planning ahead makes room in your life for completing your daily tasks and allows more relaxed time with friends.

    Damage Control

    If you do not plan your time well, most of your day will be spent putting out fires or running around doing damage control. By planning ahead, you are taking care of high priority issues in your life so when emergencies arise, you are better prepared to handle them and they do not set you back. You deal with them and get right back to your planned schedule.

    Most importantly, always be aware of your objective. Your goals must be clearly defined and written in a place where you can see them every day. You must have a plan for achieving your goal. Your ability to manage your time is the key to executing your plan. Paying more attention to time management can pay higher dividends when accomplishing your dreams and with much less frustration.

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