Time management is the most required skill for everyone to achieve success and happiness in life. This skill is required as most of us are not good at time management. This skill has to be acquired, practiced and implemented in life to make the best possible use of limited time.
In this article “Proven and Effective Time Management Techniques to Create More Time in a Day”, I have tried to put all the best ways and techniques of time management which if applied you can make your days more productive and constructive.
We often wonder why only a few people are successful in their life while rest others are living a mediocre life. They also get only 24 hours in a day, then how they are able to manage their tasks so effectively. Because they are excellent in time management skills.
You can name Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Amitabh Bachhan, Anil Ambani or Prime minister of any country all have only 24 hours in a day. They are able to create more time in a day with effective time management skills.
What is Time Management
Time management is the process of utilizing the available time in the most effective and efficient manner so that you are able to allocate the right time to the right activity.
Good time management enables you to work in a smart way and not the hard way. In this way, you can get done more tasks in less time even when you have high work pressure.
Time Management Quotes
“Time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can’t afford to lose”. – Thomas Edison
“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot”. – Michael Altshuler
“You will never find time for anything. If you want time you must make it” – Charles Buxton
“This is the key to time management – to see the value of every moment”. – Menachem Mendel Schneerson
“Time = life; therefore, waste your time and waste of your life, or master your time and master your life”. – Alan Lakein
Time Management Skills
Time management skills are very important because they help you plan your work in a way that allows you to accomplish your goals in the least possible time.
There are several skills which together contribute to the development of effective time management skills. Some most important time management skills include:
When you are organized and have things right in place, you will be able to finish the tasks easily on time. Good organization skills include proper desk management, calendar management, organized study table or workstation, etc.
This skill of prioritizing tasks help you assess which tasks are most important and how much time they need to accomplish them.
This will help you plan your time accordingly and you will be able to finish the urgent and important tasks first and later the less important one.
In order to develop time management skills, first, you need to be the best in goal-setting. Goal-setting requires you to decide on what are your short term and long term goals. Based on which you can manage your time to accomplish them which in turn lead you to success in your life.
When you have goals and decided the priority level, the next thing here is planning your day, weeks and months efficiently so that you can manage time well.
With good planning, you can plan your whole day schedule and stick to it for better productivity.
Delegation of responsibilities
Now since you have planned everything, it is not possible that you are able to do all the things alone on time. Definitely you need help or assistance of team members or subordinates.
Here come the proper delegation skills, which will let you assign the right tasks to the right people so that the tasks are accomplished on time and in the right way. This will, in turn, help you accomplish your short term and long term goals.
For practicing effective time management skills, you must be careful towards your mental and physical health.
There may be situations where you will be stressed and this cause distraction and lack of focus. But if you are able to manage the stress, keep yourself motivated and positive throughout the schedule, you will accomplish your goals.
If you are able to develop these skills, this will automatically help you upgrade your effective time management skills.
Benefits of Time Management
There are several benefits of time management which one can enjoy. One should be extremely disciplined to reap the benefits.
Let’s look at a few benefits below:
1. Reduced Stress
With effective time management, you can reduce your stress level. Since you are able to finish the tasks in the set deadline you automatically have less stress.
2. More Output
Being productive is the major goal of time management. With proper time management, you will be able to generate more output with fewer efforts.
3. Minimize Rework
When you are organized there are very fewer chances of forgetting details, instructions, missing deadlines etc which leads to rework.
4. Extra Free Time
You can not create more time but you can make better use of limited time by managing it well. You can create extra free time by saving some time out by getting things done in less time with proper time management.
5. Less Problems
Most of the time you yourself create problems by forgetting things, missing important deadlines or so. But with proper time management, you can reduce the frictions and move with less problems
6. No waste of time
Since you are managing every single minute so well there is the least possibility of wasting time.
7. More opportunities
You always have good opportunities to grab if you have some extra time. There are opportunities to learn some new skill, or pursue some hobby or create some passive source of income.
8. Enhance reputation
When you are known for finishing the work before time. You will be a reliable person in the office, home and in your circle. This will enhance your all over reputation.
9. Less Efforts
It is usually considered that time management needs extra effort. But it is exactly opposite, with time management you need to put less efforts.
10. Have reserve time when required
Time management allows you to spend some extra time on the tasks which need some extra time of yours.
Proven and Effective Time Management Techniques
Of course, we all know that time is limited. We all have 24 hours in a day. You can’t steal time, store time, borrow time and use it later. You can only manage it well and create more time in a day. This simply means you can save some time out of limited time with proven and effective time management techniques.
Time management techniques are a set of skills, rules, ways, and strategies which allows you to focus on the important things and create more out of the limited time.
This can be used as a rule book for your work. These are the common and effective techniques but you need to find the one or combination which gives you best results.
With practice and implementation, you can write your own time management rule book.
Gradually you will discover that you can create more hours in a day and have enough time for everything in life.
1. Find your productivity level
You must know that you are more productive during some hours of the day while dull and tired during other parts of the day. Find out those productive hours and schedule your most important work for that peak energy hours.
Schedule the low-value work like responding to emails, social media, followups during the low-value period.
Some people feel more energetic in the morning while others prefer to work late in the night. Weekdays also affect your productivity level to some extent like Monday your energy level is up as compared to the weekends.
Observe the productivity pattern, note it down and schedule your tasks accordingly.
2. Plan your day the night before
This is a very effective technique to keep your to-do-list for the next day ready the night before. Spare 10 minutes before going to bed to prepare your to-do-list, which will keep you ready for the next day’s challenges and plan ahead for any arrangements. As a result, you will reduce any last-minute friction and work faster and smoother than before.
There will be no worry and hurry in the morning and you can start your day peacefully.
3. Start with the critical task first
The golden time management technique is to start with the most critical task first. Look at your to-do-list and find out the most critical task and accomplish it. This will give you a sense of accomplishment and fill you with motivation to do more.
Always resist the temptation of picking up the easy and less important task first.
4. Prioritize tasks
You must master this technique of prioritizing tasks. However big or small the project is, you need to prioritize tasks.
When you are clear about priorities you can take actions accordingly and this will let you finish tasks on time.
5.Outsource or Delegate tasks
With the long list of things-to-do, it is not necessary that you have to perform all the tasks yourself. Outsourcing or delegating some tasks is a great way to multiply your efforts and get more done.
If you are working in a company or you have a team you can delegate some tasks to colleagues who are best suited for particular tasks.
If you work on your own, you can easily get freelancers to delegate a few tasks.
Outsource or delegate tasks is a good technique to accomplish more tasks and keep your focus more on the most crucial and confidential work.
6. Automation of repetitive tasks
We are really fortunate to have to live in a technologically advanced world where we have lots of tools, apps, and gadgets to automate things and processes.
You can save hours per week by automating repetitive tasks. Which you can utilize for more deep and productive work. You can put some of your daily tasks on autopilot mode.
Here are a few examples where automation can help:
- Use Google calendar to set reminders so that you never forget anything.
- Use Grammarly to proofread your blogs or writing work.
- Social Pilot for scheduling social media posts.
- Automated email systems like Aweber and Convertkit.
7. Set time limits
If you allocate a specific amount of time to complete a specific task you become more productive. But one trick is that if you reduce the time limits to complete a task, you force your brain to focus more and finish it.
For example, if you normally need 20 minutes time to complete a report. Allocate 10 minutes time for that, set a countdown timer and your brain will be more focused and work even harder to do it in 10 minutes.
The time creates are a sense of urgency and force you to become more efficient and managed.
Time limits and deadlines work as a booster. Even if you don’t have deadline, set one for tasks. If you know that you have just one hour to do a task you are not going to waste time on social media or other nonproductive work.
8. Eradicate distractions
You become more productive when you work with focus but distractions hurt productivity. When you get distracted it takes double time to again back to work.
Eradicate distractions from your work to avoid switching. It is observed that the work is more productive if done with a focus for half an hour that 2 hours switching between tasks.
You can follow a few mentioned tips to eradicate distractions from your life:
- Keep your phone away from you when you are doing something important.
- Keep mute all the notifications on your phone and computer.
- If you find something interesting to read, save them to Pocket or Instapaper to read some other off time.
- Work with headphones (I use Mpow Adjustable Earmuffs and must say it is amazing). People won’t disturb you if you look plugged in and busy unless something urgent is there.
- Internet is a boon and curse at the same time as it creates a lot of distraction. Turn off Wi-fi when you don’t need the internet while working.
9. Make quick and fast decisions
You need to take hundreds of decisions on a daily basis out of which some are big while others are small.
It has been proved that only 10% of decisions are responsible for success. That means that 90 % of the decisions we make don’t matter much on our productivity and success.
There are various small decisions which impact you for a day like where to eat, what to buy, whom to ask etc. Medium impact your life for a year, such as rent a house, select a college, etc. But there are very few decisions which matter in the long run.
Although these are big decisions like what skills to be improved for a better career, how to choose the right career etc. These big decisions are worth serious investigation, investment, deliberation and decision making.
Here the technique is to invest your time and focus on important and big decisions and make a quick and fast move on small and medium decisions.
10. Track your time
Most of us usually estimate the time to accomplish a task but hardly stick to it. Here comes the use of a time tracking app which will help you track the exact data on your productivity.
It will be of great help if you have some tracking system which can track your time spent on the computer. Here RescueTime will do the best for you. This app has an amazing feature which will provide you a report at the end of the week by breaking your productivity. This will work automatically once you set it, even if you forget.
You can analyze the time spent on unnecessary things or extra time is being wasted on the least important tasks. In this way, you can reset your time spending patterns and optimize it to the maximum and create extra hours in a day.
11. Avoid Procrastination
Procrastination is the main barrier to effective time management. One of the most effective technique to manage time is to avoid procrastination.
This can be done by following the rigid discipline and sheer determination to achieve the goals without any excuses.
There are several ways to avoid procrastination for which you can refer to our blog post Procrastination: A Practical Guide on How to Stop Procrastinating
12. Learn to say “No” than “Yes”
Time is a limited resource and you have a hell lot of things to finish. You need to find out what are your major goals and what steps contribute towards the accomplishment of goals.
Your focus must be on doing great quality work rather than doing it all.
You must learn to say “No” more often if the scope of work is not contributing towards major goals.
Saying “Yes” will prove futile and will kill your valuable time.
13. Utilize the gap time
You might have not observed that you have enough of gap time during the commuting, waiting in lines, breaks, meetings, traveling, etc.
If you could add all this time up, you have around 1-3 hours of “gap time” every single day. This is a time where you can do work like learning a new skill online, listen to audiobooks, podcasts, organize your laptop or mobile, plan your week, etc.
This short ‘gap time’ can surely not be used for some deep work, but so many tasks as mentioned can be performed.
Use this ‘gap time’ effectively to enhance your personal and professional growth.
14. Automate Decisions
We often waste much time is planning and deciding on tasks like what to wear for the day, what to cook for a meal, where to buy the groceries, searching for shoes or socks in the morning, finding car key while just moving out, etc.
These tasks kill most of the time and we often don’t give much attention to save at that time. This can be done by automating these alike tasks with below tips or you can find your own ways as well:
- Keep outfits for the whole week ready on Sunday and hang them in the wardrobe in order.
- Plan in advance the menu for the whole week, it will save time in cooking.
- Make a list and try to buy the groceries online once in a month, this will save the time wasted in frequent buying and going out for same.
- Prepare your gym bag or college bag or office bag in the night before and keep all the accessories ready to save the eleventh-hour rush.
- Use Zapier or IFTTT to automate many other tasks to establish a connection among different apps.
- Put the monthly payment of DTH, electricity bills, regular medicines, etc. on automatic mode to save your time.
15. Focus on one work at a time
Our brain is designed to focus on a single task at a time. Switching between tasks may damage your productivity at work.
Try to focus on one work at a time. Put all the distractions like phone etc. away while performing deep work. This will take less time to finish the work and then you can move to the next task.
You can use the auto-timer to keep track of your work.
16. Break down a big task into sub-tasks
To avoid procrastination, break the big task into sub-tasks with an achievable deadline. This will help you prepare a blueprint of all the sub-tasks that need to do to accomplish the main task with a timeline to do them.
Here all the small tasks should be finished in almost one hour.
17. Plan and Schedule your calendar
Having a to-do-list is a good way to manage time but it is even better if you plan and schedule your calendar in advance to avoid distractions and have full control of time.
In the to-do list, you have all the activities which you need to do. But the calendar lets you identify when you are going to do and how much time is needed to finish them.
18. Keep meetings limited in number and time
Keep meetings limited in number since it kills your time. If a meeting is to make a decision or any other instructions then communicate over email.
Meetings must be effective and productive which you can do by:
- Keeping the number of participants small.
- Send all the attendees on the agenda before with the main key points.
- Don’t keep long meetings, keep them short. Usually, a 20-minute slot is considered as good.
- Keep the discussion on track by not being distracted from the topic.
With this technique, you can save a lot of time which would otherwise waste in conducting and attending useless meetings.
19. Don’t try to be perfect
When you try to be perfect either you end up taking much more time than needed or you will resort to procrastination for not doing the task because of fear and apprehension.
On the other hand, you keep on improving the things on a regular basis instead of waiting to achieve perfection and start.
Aiming for perfection either will delay or non-completion of the project. So leave perfectionism if you want to manage time.
20. Have a To-Don’t list
Like your to-do list which is a powerful time management technique, you must have your to-don’t list. In this list, you have the list of all the habits you want to quit and the activities you wish to eradicate from life.
You can find some examples below:
- Don’t connect to social media in the morning.
- Don’t consume more tea and coffee.
- No morning meetings.
- No meetings to be attended without a clear agenda.
- Don’t accept any task which you are not sure to deliver on time.
21. Takeout some time to recharge
In order to be more productive and active, your body and mind need some rest.
You can’t work all the time and expect to create extraordinary results. To function properly you need to take out some time to rest. Take some breaks in between your hectic routine.
This will help you keep you sustain focus, motivation, productivity, and passion. Schedule breaks during the day and regular vacations keep you recharged and will get you breakthrough results.
With this “Proven and Effective Time Management Techniques to Create More Time in a Day” you might have understood how important is to manage time.
Time management is equally important for students, youth, professionals or anyone who has some goals in life. Every goal needs sincere dedication and efforts to get accomplished. This one can do only with proper time management. Time is limited so use it very carefully.
Every single moment is worth spending on productive and meaningful activity.
What is your opinion? Please comment below.
I would be happy if you share your valuable feedback and view on this.
Recommended Books on Time Management
To do List Formula: How to win laziness, overcome procrastination, increase your productivity and improve time management on a daily basis