Better Time Management

What are the benefits of better time management skills?

Time management is a skill I've always coveted. One of the key planks of my own personal development is productivity. How can I motivate myself to get more done with the time available to me? I've written about personal development planning and the importance of setting goals in recent posts, but without efficient and effective use of time, achieving your goals becomes that much more difficult.

There are many paths which may lead to better use of your time. Today I'm going to focus on a couple of bad habits which you can address to free up some time and start getting things done.

Stop Wasting Time.

This sounds simple but it can be a very effective strategy to harness more of your energy and direct it towards more productive pursuits. Or if you prefer a more positive spin, let me re-phrase it for you. Are you spending the bulk your time on activities which assist you in achieving your personal goals?

Consider your typical day. Are there periods during the day when you're not as productive as you could be? We all need "down time", but even then there are ways to use this time more efficiently. For example, for the last few years my lunch break at work has become an hour spent on my personal health and wellbeing. I use my lunch break to exercise and stay fit. This might be a session in the pool or the gym. Or even if I'm not geographically close to such facilities, I can still get out for a run. Running is great because you don't need much equipment and most buildings I've worked in over recent years have had showers available to staff.

Another way of using my time efficiently is cycling to work. Whenever practical, I'll jump on my bike for the commute to the office. In most traffic conditions, it doesn't take much longer than driving or taking public transport and I have the added bonus of getting to work and feeling great both mentally and physically.

This next bad habit is an extension of time wasting...

Stop Procrastinating.

I'm ashamed to say that procrastination is something I've indulged in a little to often. Why do today what you can put of until tomorrow? At times, that's been my motto. But as the demands on my time have increased and my life has become busier, I've found myself becoming more productive. I'm more proactive in the way I approach problems. I'm less likely to put things off until another day. Yet I still lapse into my old ways from time to time.

Have you conquered procrastination yet? I'm going to lay down a challenge for any and all comers. Stop procrastinating now. Not tomorrow. Not later today, but now. What do you have on your to do list which you've been putting off. I want you to go out and complete one of your tasks today. It could be something at work or something around the home. It might be starting that new exercise program you've been talking about or telling a loved one how much they mean to you. Whatever it is, do it today.

And I'm taking up this challenge as well. I had an experience the other day which caused me to take a closer look at myself and my habits. One of my children started school not long ago. The weekend just gone, my son came to me on Sunday night and told me about a class project which was due the following day. He then went on to tell me that he hadn't started it yet. So we worked on it together and completed it in time for him to take it to school the next day. I didn't make a big deal of it at the time - I find a positive attitude and plenty of encouragement works best with my children.

But later I found myself contemplating the situation and how it reflected on myself as a role model and my time management skills or lack thereof. And being brutally honest with myself, I had to admit that the habit of leaving things until the last minute was not only something I indulged in as a child, but a habit which I still slipped into occasionally. As other parents are no doubt aware, children will frequently mimic behavior they see at home (unfortunately the bad, not just the good). So as parents, we need to make sure we set a good example.

So from now on, no more procrastination. For the good of my personal growth and development and that of my family I will stop putting things of. In an effort to get more done I'll be starting the hard jobs sooner. Just by making this commitment, I feel more motivated.

Ironically I've run out of time, so I'll have to wrap up here. I have more to say on this topic, but it will have to wait for another day. This no doubt illustrates the importance of better time management skills.


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Petunia Evans said...

I know that for the longest time, I set unrealistic goals. They were good things to work towards, but they just weren't something that I could ever cross off a list! I've never heard of scheduling "catch up days". But I really like that idea, and I think that I'll use that tip as well! Thanks for this advice!

Sara Loren said...

This is a great post; it was very edifying. I look ahead in reading more of your work.

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Tristan Towns said...

I really like the fresh perspective you did on the issue. I will be back soon to check up on new posts! Thank you!

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