What is Time Management?
At its most basic, time management is about planning and organizing your time so you can get more done in less time. The ultimate goal of time management is to be productive and efficient.
But is productivity really the sole end goal of why we should be discerning with our time?
Time is a finite resource
The average human life expectancy as of 2019 is 72.6 years, roughly 26,499 days or approximately 3,786 weeks. We spend about 1,369 or a third of that sleeping. That leaves the majority of our joys and sorrows, boredom and excitement, career, love, and marriage — the whole spectrum of human experience crammed into an average finite set of 2,417 weeks.
If we re-think life as a kind of limited stay, then how we define “productivity” might also change.
What time management really means
Thinking of time management as managing a limited resource requires us to also rethink our priorities. It’s just like being given a limited amount of money to spend on something. Only instead of paying with paper, we pay for things with our time.
Once you view life through that lens, you will also be forced to reconsider what you think is important and the need to make choices.
Time management is setting a clear direction for where you want to be in life
How do you want to spend your time each day?
What you choose to spend your time doing each day can have a significant impact on how you feel about yourself, others, and the world around you. At times you may be focused on yourself, such as when landing a new job, or studying. Other times your focus will be on others, like looking after family, working with a team, etc.
Most of the time we find it difficult to achieve balance in our focus. Have you been able to live each day in a way that nourishes each aspect of your life – health, wealth, relationships, spirituality, education. And have you been able to do it while also experiencing some fun and gratitude during the day?
Time management is taking responsibility for your life
Are you willing to roll with the punches?
Life has a funny way of keeping us on our toes. Not everything always goes the way you planned, and some choices won’t lead you to where you expect to be. It can feel frustrating and demoralizing, but there's usually always an alternative – you just have to look for it.
Approaching life with intention means you get to own your victories and not attribute it all to luck.
The best of all is you get to benefit from the confidence and self-respect that comes from your hard work.
Time management is self-discipline
Are you willing to stick to your commitments?
It’s easy to break a promise to yourself, but that it can also be difficult to deal with. You may feel you've let yourself down and risk losing self-respect from which confidence and inner well-being flows.
“Respect yourself and others will follow.” - Dostoyevsky
Time management means being loyal to your own commitments even on days when morale is low. It’s okay to fail sometimes. True discipline is practiced when you get up for the third time after you have fallen down twice.
Time management means saying NO all the time
What is important to you?
Saying Yes to one thing is saying No to another. When you decide to own your time, you place limits on what you put your focus and attention to.
Energy, like time, is limited and you can only do so much in a day. So in effect, you have to be selective about the tasks that you choose to do.
Time management means living a good life
What is your definition of a life well-lived?
Time management is about knowing what’s important to you and actively enjoying it in the present.
A common mistake among people who are always reaching out to the future is that they cultivate a habit of not being quite in the moment.
Their attention always belongs somewhere else and as a result, they are never truly happy, because to them, happiness is always beyond reach.
Time management requires the opposite. While it encourages you to plan for the future, it also asks you to live your life with the knowledge that every minute counts.
The benefits of time management
Once you are mindful of your choices on how you spend your time, you'll soon feel the difference in your day and reap the benefits.
Time management reduces stress from uncertainty
So much of our anxiety comes from not knowing what to do or what to focus on with our lives. But when you manage your time and have clear goals about what you want to achieve on a daily basis, you also eliminate the stress that often stems from worrying about what the future holds.
Time management boosts your self-confidence
When people are unsure of what they are doing or what they want, it shows in their demeanor and manner of speaking. In a similar way, when they are purposeful, it also shows in how they conduct themselves – they are self-empowered and act with determination. Confidence comes from within.
Time management gives you the opportunity to achieve more
Having a clear sense of how you want to spend your time every day makes it possible to see just how much free time you can actually dedicate to cultivating relationships and personal development.
You don’t have to populate all your free time (make sure you leave some time for fun and relaxation!), but when you do, you know that it’s for something important.
Time management helps you identify what is urgent and important
A key aspect of time management is prioritizing and scheduling tasks in your calendar. When you focus on the urgent and important items first you are sure to never miss anything critical.
Time management is a powerful tool for living the life you want. But implementing an effective time management system requires a solid understanding of “why” you should do it in the first place.
Time management is life management. Know your why and the how will follow.
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