One of the great keys to success is the ability to manage your time well. However, it’s a task that’s often easier said than done. In our increasingly busy lives, it’s easy to lose track of time or become distracted by something other than the task at hand. There are, though, a few simple tricks to help you learn to avoid these common missteps and manage your time more efficiently so you can get more done.
Why is time management important?
It’s pretty obvious that having more time to complete more tasks is a good thing, but these lesser-known benefits to managing your time as well.
Maintaining motivation. If you’re falling behind on a project or task, it’s easy to start feeling overwhelmed. When you start feeling like you’ll never be able to catch up, you probably also start to question if the end goal is even possible to reach. Once you question your abilities, doubt often takes over and kills your motivation. If you’re feeling like it’s hopeless, you’re less likely to see it through until the end. However, when you utilize your time wisely, you’ll notice the progress you’re making and feel more inspired to keep going, with the finish line in clear sight.
Stress reducer. Think about any time you’ve had to rush out the door, or throw something together with little to no notice. You probably felt panicked and stressed. Neither of these is good for our overall health, causing an increase in blood pressure and irritability. This negative effect on your mood can cause problems in your work and home relationships, too.
Higher quality work. When you’re rushed and starting to feel that panic and stress, it’s harder to think clearly. If you’re not thinking clearly, you’re less likely to put out quality work. It’s easier to miss small details and make mistakes that could otherwise be avoided.
We all only have 24 hours in a day, so the key is to realize that how you use that time is far more important than the actual number of hours you have.
Time management skills aren’t just important for making sure work gets done. They’re responsible for ensuring that work gets done well, too. You might be a procrastinator who gets everything completed just under the wire, but that doesn’t guarantee it is done properly. This leads to corrections or do-overs, costing more time and energy. Rushing through projects or chores also creates more stress, since there’s constant worry about getting everything done.
How to get better at time management
No matter who you are and where you are, there are only 24 hours in a day. This amount of time, though, matters far less than how you use it. Some people who manage their time well can get more done in two or three hours than someone else who doesn’t know how to use eight hours. So, how do you develop your time management skills?
Prioritize. Start by making a list of what you need to do. Then organize it according to level of importance and due dates. Put the most important things at the top, working your way down to what’s less important or doesn’t have a firm deadline. If you have absolutes, like drop off and pick up for school or a set work schedule, begin by building any additional tasks (like schoolwork) around those.
Organize. Make sure you keep your spaces, like study or work, organized. You won’t have to dig around to find missing papers, or items that you need. Though you may spend only a few minutes a day looking for something that has been misplaced, those minutes do add up. Disorganization can also lead to stress, getting you flustered and making it harder to concentrate.
Say no. If you’re asked to do something extra that doesn’t fit in with the time you’ve allotted, it’s ok to say no. Taking on too much can overwhelm you and throw you off schedule, forcing other things to take a back seat or become overlooked, so it’s important to know your limitations.
Ask for help. No matter how well we plan, sometimes things are just too much. That’s ok. It happens to everyone and when it does, don’t be afraid to seek help. Have a spouse, child, or roommate help out with chores around the house like making lunches, dusting, or laundry to help take a couple of things off your to-do list.
Leave time to relax. If you’re constantly burdened with chores or responsibilities, leaving no time to decompress isn’t healthy. It can lead to burn out, which is counterproductive to proper time management. Be sure to set a little bit of time each day or week for yourself to regroup and relax so you can start fresh.
Manage your time with Ashworth College
Trying to manage your time as a working parent and student can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. That’s why Ashworth College’s courses are all self-paced, so you can work them into whatever schedule works best for you and your other responsibilities. If you want to learn more about Ashworth's online programs, call an Admissions Advisor at .