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Unlocking Success: Strategies for Time Management Optimization to Achieve your Goals



In this post we will explore various time management strategies. Not all strategies are one size fits all, so you must determine which strategies will work best for you. The goal is to introduce you to several popular strategies that have proven to help individuals. It is up to you to analyze each strategy and determine which will enable you to successfully meet your goals and utilize your time most efficiently.


What is Time Management? 


Time management is a skill that must be learned and can take a lifetime to master. Time management allows you to prioritize your tasks and allocate your time accordingly based on your goals. Every minute of every day can be managed, it is up to you to determine how best to make use of those minutes.


Why is Time Management Important?


Time management is crucial in all aspects of life. It doesn't just apply to work, it also applies to your personal life. Managing your time accordingly can improve your productivity, which in turn can improve your work-life balance thus decreasing stress and anxiety. Without time management, you are setting yourself up for the inevitable: breaking deadlines, procrastination, stress, and anxiety.


Time Management Strategies


Completing a time audit: 

From there you will be able to see where you spend your time and then plan your week out ahead of time. When creating a time audit you are going to want to keep track of how much time you spend doing what during a normal day. After assessment, you are able to see where to increase/decrease your time and properly adjust allocated time to each individual activity.


Prioritizing:

This is something that will need to be learned and will be a process of trial and error. It is up to you to prioritize appropriately in order to meet your deadlines. In order to help with this there are four categories that can help you prioritize appropriately. 

  • Important and urgent: Start working these tasks right away.

  • Important but not urgent: Determine when to start/accomplish these tasks.

  • Urgent but not important: Delegate these tasks to somebody else if possible.

  • Not urgent and not important: Get rid of these tasks, say no, or set aside these tasks for a later time.


Delegate:

If you’re able to, delegation of tasks can be extremely helpful when trying to manage your time. This can be tied in with prioritizing. If there is something that needs to be done, but there is someone else who is capable of completing the task or just as/more qualified, then if possible, the task should be handed off. However, be sure to give clear instructions and expectations on what you expect. Be available for questions, be a resource to that individual, and check their progress periodically. This allows you to have a more balanced workload and it be more tailored to your priorities and skillset whilst giving someone else the opportunity to learn and grow.


Avoid multitasking: 

Multitasking has been proven to be less effective than focusing on one task at a time. Instead of spreading yourself thin on several different tasks, you are solely focusing on one before moving on to the next. This way you are able to give 100% effort on each task and avoid losing focus on your current task to focus on another. Subtle, yet effective measures you can take to avoid multitasking is making sure your desk/work area is clean. If your focus is solely on what you’re working on and can’t be pulled to other tasks you may have ,whether it be tabs open on your computer or papers laying on your desk, you have less of a chance of switching your focus to an opposing task.


SMART goal setting. 

  • S - Specific

  • M - Measurable

  • A - Achievable

  • R - Relevant

  • T - Time-bound

You want to be very clear with yourself, and associated parties when setting your goals. You need to be able to track your progress, and use data to determine whether or not you are meeting the checkpoints of your goal and if the goal has been achieved. Ensuring the goal is achievable can be the make or break when creating a goal. You must be able to prove that your goal is capable of being accomplished regardless of foreseeable constraints. Relevancy is key, the goal being set needs to align with your aspirations, those of your company, or your team. Lastly, timing is everything. All goals need deadlines, that way you can prioritize them and create time-lines to allow yourself the ability of making sure you are meeting the mark and completing your goals in a timely manner.


Minimizing distractions and interruptions:

Whether it be friends, family, colleagues, or technology, interruptions can and will distract you from your goal. Whether it be seconds, minutes, or more, these distractions add up and inhibit your productivity. You want to ensure that you are creating a productive environment for yourself. This can be done in several ways such as silencing your phone, putting “do not disturb” on applications that allow notifications, and carving out time within your schedule for social needs. This will allow you to optimize your productivity during the time you have set aside for a specific goal, but still allow yourself and others time to contact you without interrupting/distracting you during your allotted time for other tasks.


Short, planned breaks:

Allowing yourself to take periodic breaks throughout your busy day is essential. Whether you work remotely, working on high concentration based tasks, or have yourself fully booked with tasks all day, you need to take, at minimum, a lunch break. Fueling your body is essential to your daily success. Without fueling your body you are depriving yourself of much needed energy that is necessary to accomplishing your tasks and goals. In addition to a lunch break, you should allow yourself a minimum of 10 minute breaks scattered throughout the day. This allows you to take a pause and allow your mind and body to decompress for a few minutes, regather your focus, and continue the tasks ahead.


Keep in mind, not all time-management strategies are listed, nor will all of these apply to you. Arguably the hardest aspect of time management is learning which strategies work best for you and your life, and implementing them into your daily routine. Just like most things in life, it is just going to take time and practice when learning how to properly manage your time. The benefits are immense and if implemented properly, you will be able to see results almost immediately. Such benefits include, but are not limited to less stress, less procrastination, less anxiety, increased productivity, increased goal achievement, and better work-life balance. 


For those of you that prefer to watch video explanations, here are some wonderful videos that discuss each of the time management strategies mentioned above:




TIME AUDIT


PRIORITIZING


DELEGATING


AVOID MULTITASKING


SMART GOAL SETTING


MINIMIZE DISTRACTIONS AND INTERRUPTIONS


SHORT PLANNED BREAKS





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