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4 ways to develop better time management skills.
Techniques for Better Time Management
We tend to blame procrastination for all of our unfinished work, but sometimes that’s not our only issue. Procrastination and time management tend to go hand in hand. You don’t want to start something because you feel like you have enough time, but then the deadline approaches, which gives you anxiety, which makes you procrastinate more. One way to break this annoying cycle is to practice time management.
Developing good time management skills can help you be more productive and ease stress. If you’re interested in working on your time management, here are some tips.
Methods to Improve Time Management
Time management really comes down to good planning first and foremost. It’s about knowing how to separate your tasks, and then devote your time accordingly. Here are some tips to help you make and stick to your plans.
Break It Down
With any task, it helps to break it down into smaller pieces. This gives you a better understanding of how long something will take, which helps you plan it accordingly. If you can estimate how long each individual task will take you, you’ll be more likely to give yourself enough time to get everything done.
The same is true if you have a lot of unrelated tasks. Separate them into ones that you know you can finish quickly, and ones that will take more time. With that out of the way, you can start to prioritize and schedule your tasks.
That said, don’t plan your schedule based off an idealized version of yourself, and definitely don’t plan based off of someone else’s opinion. You know your shortcomings. Some tasks are going to take you longer than others. There may even be things coming up that you know you hate, and that will decrease your motivation. Being honest about these issues will help you plan more effectively.
As you go, make sure you’re looking back over your progress. (Ideally, you would have a tracker of some sort, but if not, just try to remember what you’ve done.) Reflecting on what does and does not help you, as well as your overall performance, is going to help you sort tasks and plan out your schedule more effectively in the future. This will also help you determine your peak working hours, which you can then devote to your most difficult tasks.
Give Yourself Some Extra Motivation
Of course, it’s fine to have a plan and know what you want to do; it’s another thing to actually follow through with it. If you start to slip into procrastination mode, give yourself a little extra motivation.
In order to keep myself working and on track, I often employ extrinsic motivation. I’ll have something set up for the end of the day, or for the completion of a particular task or goal, as a reward for getting things done.
I try to choose things that I know will be relaxing for me, like watching a show or reading a book. Knowing that I’ve set aside time to relax keeps me working hard throughout the day.
Tips on Time Management Skills
As with a lot of things in life, the more you practice time management, the more successful you’ll be in the future. Don’t expect yourself to be perfect from the start.
It helps to make sure you’re planning well. Divide up your tasks according to your strengths and weaknesses, and schedule more time for things that you know are difficult for you. You can also save those tasks for specific times when you feel like you’re more likely to complete them, like in the morning, or right at the start of a project.
From there, make sure you’re reflecting on how you’re progressing. Maybe there are some things that took you longer than you expected, or maybe you’ve realized your schedule doesn’t leave room for those times when life gets in the way. Be willing to adjust your plans as needed. You can even throw in some rewards for yourself to keep you motivated.
Overall, time management can help you be productive and less stressed. It may take you some practice before you really develop the right skills, but at the end of the day, it’s worth the effort.