Time Management Skills for Life

Learn the number one life skill that schools DON'T teach us!



What is time management and why does it matter?


Time management is the ability to use one’s time effectively or productively. This is typically done by being proactive, organizing and planning the amount of time spent on a particular project or task.

This might seem counter-intuitive to some people. Why waste your time learning about time management and planning when you could use that same time to get your work done?


To which I respond: when was the last time that you were able to get up, complete everything in your day on time without planning ahead, without forgetting anything and without getting stressed in the process?


Probably never. So you should care.


Effective time management skills comes with some major benefits:

  • Less stress

  • Increased productivity and efficiency

  • Greater sense of accomplishment

  • Increased levels of goal achievement

  • Increased opportunities in personal and professional life

Just being less stressed can drastically alter your day to day.


The ability to manage time efficiently is a highly underrated and underappreciated skill to have - especially in our crazy stupid busy modern day lives.


And this isn’t a skill that we are taught in school. Some of us are lucky to get introduced to this in university or college but even during school I found myself trying to balance too many plates which left me constantly scrambling to finish papers before deadlines and cramming for exams.


We’ve all been there a time or two.


But what about in the work place? Surely, people must have some sort of system in place to ensure they are productive between 9 and 5, right? Maybe sometimes, but even this is unlikely.


The truth is that the majority of people aimlessly grind their way through the chaos of each day merely hoping they complete their to-do list, often getting burnt out in the process.


And burnout can be difficult to recover from.


But before getting into the tips and techniques to help you properly manage your time, I’d like to demystify a few common misconceptions.


“I’m too busy”


Being “too busy” is a glorified concept. There is a very distinct difference between being busy and being effective.


For example, if you are paid by the hour then you will be paid the same amount of money for your time in the office, regardless of the work that you accomplish throughout the day. You might look busy, you might even believe you’re busy, but where are the results to back it up?


People are focused on being busy rather than the results they are producing.


If you truly are too busy then it is more likely that you have too many projects on the go and aren’t managing your time well OR you simply don’t care enough about the task to add it to your list.


“There aren’t enough hours in the day”


We all have the same 24 hours in a day. So why is it that some people are able to accomplish more than others in the same amount of time?


The answer is simple.


High achievers know the difference between being busy and being efficient.


Highly effective people know how to manage their time correctly. They are proactive, they plan and keep an organized list of the tasks they want to accomplish within a given timeframe.


If you have a long list of things to do but no plan of action to accomplish them, you will likely be left feeling like a chicken with your head cut off.


Work smarter, not harder.


How to Get Started


The best way to get started is to track your time for a week. It is imperative that you are honest with yourself when you do this or else it won’t work. You would only be fooling yourself and (ironically) would be wasting more time.


There are 168 hours in a week. We spend approximately one third of that time sleeping. People tend to average between 6 and 8 hours of sleep per night, which leaves you with somewhere between 112-126 hours in your week.


That is a significant amount of time to complete tasks - if you manage your time wisely.


Pay close attention - annoyingly close attention - to where, what, and how long you give your time and energy to. Here are some questions to consider when you track time.

  • How much time do you spend getting ready in the morning?

  • How often are you late?

  • How much time do you spend on your phone?

  • Is that time spent productive or is it spent mindlessly scrolling social media?

  • What time do you go to bed?

  • How many hours of sleep do you get per night?

  • Is it enough or too much sleep?

It is important to ask ourselves these questions because they all consume our time and energy. So if you find you are constantly late for work in the mornings, maybe this means you need to get up earlier or try to shorten your morning routine.


Once you have completed a week of tracking time you will be able to see where your time is spent being productive and where it is being wasted.


*As I go through my tips and techniques for effective time management, I will leave you with some helpful links to kick-start your journey to a more productive life*


Time Management Tips




Schedule your week


Planning your week is key to becoming productive and efficient in your day to day.


I typically plan my weeks every Sunday. I start by brain dumping everything that I know will need to be done during the week on a piece of paper. Then I schedule in the tasks that have specified days and times in my calendar. This way I can see where my free time is outside of work and training.


Once this is done, I schedule the rest of the tasks I need to complete in the free time slots that are left.

Check out this helpful yearly planner - it is already completely set up to help you schedule your days and weeks down to the hour!


PLUS a bonus goal project section!!


This is something I was lucky to learn when I was in university. My schedule was all over the place with classes spread throughout the day and practices and games on top of it. This made it much easier to schedule time to study for whatever subject was most pressing at the time.


Which leads me to my next tip.


Prioritize


You have GOT to be able to prioritize.


Some weeks will be busier than others. And if we aren’t able to prioritize during the busier weeks, all hell will break loose.


You have to be able to identify which tasks are the most important. Typically I do this by considering deadlines first. For example, if you have two important projects and one is due Tuesday and the other Wednesday, you should prioritize the first task.