Time management is an activity built around the age-old practice of planning for maximum results and personal efficiency in everyday life. Generally speaking, everybody has their own basic system of time management running in the back of their minds at all times.
Managing time effectively, however, is something that a great many people struggle to get right, or worse, give up on completely, deciding to leave everything to their mental autopilot and ‘just wing it’.
The good news is that personal time management doesn’t have to be difficult, or even a chore. Here are three quick tips on how to manage your time more effectively in five minutes or less.
Concentrate on doing, instead of planning
Two of the most common issues that crop up when it comes to time management are poor planning techniques and procrastination, which means you either spend too much time ‘doing’ time management, or just thinking about it and not actually doing anything practical to make your life less chaotic.
And most of the time, you’re not even aware that these sneaky forms of laziness are taking place, which naturally makes the situation worse. A regular example of this in personal time management is that oftentimes you will be updating your daily, weekly, or long-term goals, and at the end of the process, you discover you’ve spent a lot more time planning than you really had to.
In the beginning, this isn’t too much of a problem. But after a while – and especially with longer, more complex projects – it inevitably adds up to a massively unnecessary time drain.
So what’s the solution?
Firstly, and most importantly, you need to make a conscious decision to stress less about what needs to be planned, and focus more on what needs to be done.
It’s a subtle shift in thinking about time management, but a powerful one. What this means is that you have to stop thinking that you need to map out each and every step of your activities in painstaking detail, and keep things as simple and streamlined as possible, in order to actually get more planning – and therefore, things – done.
Secondly, you should start using a system that encourages you to focus attention on what is important, and which tells you when it is important. There are many time management systems you can use, ranging from a simple to-do list to more sophisticated productivity software based on the “Get Things Done” philosophy popularized by David Allen.
Use your time on the tasks, not on managing them
By using a proven task management system or productivity app, you are freed from a good deal of the usual time-consuming elements in the time management process, which allows you to spend your task-planning, and hence your time, much more efficiently.
For instance, most productivity apps are based on the principles of traditional project management strategies, and provide an easy way to control the order, priorities, and organization of your to-do lists, translating into a bigger picture view of what needs to be done, according to what degree of urgency or importance.
This bigger picture view, afforded by the ability to set tasks within projects in a nested, easily changeable format, is one of the best ways to manage your time as it is not only intuitive and effortless to use, but lets you plan your life smarter, further into the future, and faster.
Don’t wait for tomorrow
If you are serious about committing yourself to more effective time management, the first step is to get yourself set up with a task management system that takes the pain out of planning, prevents procrastination, and gives you the time to focus more on what you want to do, more often.
“Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.”
… Truer words were never spoken.
It took millions of years for man to invent something as simple as the wheel, so don’t waste any of yours trying to invent your own time machine. Set yourself up with a solid productivity app today and stress less tomorrow.
For more effective personal time management, you should let Todoist take care of your task management needs today.
Want to know more about time management skills for personal development? Check out this useful article on personal time management skills.
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