What is time management?
Time management is the vital life skill of using your time effectively, efficiently and productively towards your goals - and luckily it is a skill that can be learnt.
“My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.” - Steve Jobs
It's hard to spend money well, let alone our time! Being our most important resource it is super important that we learn how to manage time.
Time management is especially valued and important in the workplace and for students because of the time-conscious nature of this work and the importance of being productive. Unfortunately outside of these environments we often make the mistake of forgetting about time management! Managing your time is equally important to think about in your spare time so you can be successful with your personal goals too.
Learn the true value of your time
Just 5 minutes
Let’s say you have a goal like reading, learning to code or working on a side project. What if you were to dedicate a tiny sliver of your day to your goal? If you were to spend 5 minutes per day for a year...
5 (minutes) x 365 (days in a year)
= 1825 minutes
What is so significant about 1825 minutes?
Well 1+2 = 8-5 (Whoa)
Just kidding. What's truly interesting is just how high your daily 5 minutes add up.
We have a roughly 4 hour upper limit on how much our brains can handle per day (and most people are using only about half of that).
So if we’re assuming we actually only focus for 2 hours per day our tiny daily habit is giving us the value of...
1825 (minutes from before) / 2 (average hours focused) / 60 (minutes in an hour)
= 15.2 full days of focus towards your goal
Isn't it remarkable how such a minuscule daily commitment can add up?
Consistency and persistence. That's the secret to time management. Thank you maths!
7 Strategies for optimizing your time
1. Make your priorities clear
Before you can start to think about fancy time optimization strategies you need to figure out what you actually want to spend your time on. This one is simple but so many people forget. Examples include unhappy workaholics and long-time wantrapreneurs.
🔥 Tip: Write down your 3 top goals and revisit them every month.
2. Minimize distractions
Distractions can be huge time-saps and they can come from anywhere! We also happen to live in a very distracting, hyper-stimulating digital world. Being aware of distractions and creating ways to avoid them is becoming an essential skill to function efficiently and effectively.
🔥 Tip: Reduce notifications on your phone and laptop + learn to use Do Not Disturb.
Our brains are terrible at multitasking and switching contexts quickly. To use your time efficiently you need to focus fully on the task at hand. Timeboxing is a well-known technique where you simply allow a set block of time when you will only focus on one thing. Some people even plan out their entire day with timeboxes for everything, including distracting activities.
🔥 Tip: Create 1 timebox in your calendar for the most important activity of your day.
4. Track your time
While not always feasible or a good idea, tracking how you precisely spend all of your time for a week is a fun and eye-opening exercise. You will be surprised how much time seemingly evaporates into thin air.
🔥 Tip: Accurately track what you spend your time on a normal day.
5. Review how effectively your time was spent
We need feedback loops so we can tell what we're doing well and not so well, when improving on any skill. Unfortunately most people only really look back and reflect on how they spent their time once per year, during the New Years celebrations.
🔥 Tip: Once a week, journal your progress towards your goals and how happy you are with you have spent your time.
6. Learn to say 'no' when you need to
Often we are the ones at fault for saying 'yes' to distractions which are not worth our time. It can be difficult to say no. I try to only say yes to propositions if I'm motivated by them so I can be fully present. If it's something you don't want to really be doing saying 'yes' isn't good for anyone.
🔥 Tip: Keep your goals displayed somewhere prominent so you factor them into more of your decisions.
7. Build habits
The best way to start and successfully keep up a habit is by making the behaviour you want to do easier. By setting the bar really low you can reliably tick it off the to-do list and feel more intrinsically motivated. This drastically increases your chance of your success.
🔥 Tip: Start with a tiny habit that takes just 1 minute per day.