We all go through moments in our lives when we pause, look back and wonder “where did the days go”? Hours after hours and days after days, we are losing a valuable asset that is time. In this era of technology and social media, most people spend hours aimlessly scrolling through feeds of either those who are seemingly living the best life or of those who preach life lessons and write books on self-help. The question is – what are we learning? What has happened to our time management skills?
While there is indeed a lot to learn from social media and technology, addiction has made people depressed and anxious. At the same time, it has been wasting important and precious time of ours. There are now apps to check on our social media usage. Some people become prisoners of social media and the illusion of it. They look at the life of others, compare it with their own and keep wondering why they don’t have the same life.
The fact is, we absolutely don’t know if people show their reality on social media. So, then, why are we wasting our time instead of being systematic and proactive in our own life?
Besides social media, most people in general also don’t know how to manage their time effectively and efficiently. If we don’t learn to manage the most important asset that we possess then how will we make the most of this life that has been given to us? If we don’t manage time well, how will we be productive? Productivity is directly proportional to time management skills.
Time managing is one kind of skill but it is made of many others. One can see it as a cumulation of many other pertinent skills.
How to Learn Time Management Skills?
1. Mindfulness and Self Awareness
Always keep track of your thoughts and your energy.
In general, mindfulness is one of the most important skills to acquire. To be one with your inner self, and to be aware of your thoughts as well as your actions is crucial in building good time management skills. Take this as a first step in this journey of time management. A person is self-aware when they know where their thoughts are going and thus the energy is flowing. In addition, a person must also know what he wants from his life, what makes him happy and what values he wants to adhere to?
2. Planning and Organizing
Always plan and organize using external tools that are available to all of us.
When a person is self-aware and is mindful of his thoughts, he can pen down what he wants. Further, he can plan his hours then days and then years systematically. Planning also means laying out a plan for the future, thus it requires a futuristic approach. If the person is organized, he will also organize calendars, plans, journals or any other important papers. Keeping your surroundings clean, neat and organized is an underrated talent. Everyone should practice it and see the result. Decluttering your surroundings also declutter your inner self and your mind.
3. Prioritizing and Goal Setting
If you don’t know what destination you are heading to, you will never reach the right one. Set goals and make a priority list.
There may be thousands of things that you want in life. Understandably, you can’t run behind all of them at once. It is extremely vital to prioritize your wishes, your tasks, and your goals. Goals can be of two types. One is a long term goal and the other is a short term goal. It is always better to pick short term goals leading towards the bigger goal. When you pen down your plans, make sure you also rank tasks as per their priority. This also makes your planning more organized. Your notebook should contain all the details of your goals.
Using the aforementioned skills, you can learn to manage your time. The key is to first adapt to all the necessary skills. Time management is a commitment and a choice that you make towards a more healthy and productive life. Time management and productivity go hand-in-hand.
How to Improve Time Management Skills
1. Know What You Don’t Want
In our daily lives, we come across people, work and situations that we absolutely don’t like to encounter. You must know your nos, you must know what doesn’t align with your life goals or your values.
A lot of people spend hours arguing with someone who will never listen or spend time with someone who is toxic to them. You must learn to say no to many things and further, you should remember your nos. It is believed that many times in life, what drives us are the things that we absolutely don’t want. Thus, keep only the important task at hand. Connect only with people who make you happy and help you grow.
2. Don’t Get Distracted
We live in an era where distractions are at every step. Success is for those who have willpower and also the power to say no to frivolous things. You can consume social media but know your limits. Do not get addicted. Keep a certain amount of time for social media, meet-ups with old friends and Netflix.
Netflix can be tempting but the fruits that time management gives in the longer run, are sweeter. Prioritizing comes in the picture here again. You must prioritize what you want to do in your break or fun time. The choice is all yours but you must make sure you devote job interviews for that.
3. Chase Small Goals
Once you prioritize things and set goals, you should make sure you only take one task at hand. Multitasking is a myth! Yes, a lot of people do this and a lot of people also do this efficiently but in most cases, multitasking creates unnecessary pressure and stress levels. It also gives less effective output.
If what you are doing allows one more task to run parallelly, you must save time in those cases. You must keep a calendar and write tasks for each day. Every morning you should check the list and divide hours for each task. By the end of the day, you must evaluate your progress.
4. Don’t Let the Stress Build Up
In the end, it is extremely important to take care of your physical and mental health. You must not overwork and put yourself in stress. Too much stress is unhealthy in the long run and, it reduces productivity and concentration. If there is a possibility of delegating work, you must delegate tasks. In a day, finish urgent tasks first and then move to other tasks.
Depression, anxiety, addiction, etc are real emotional and mental issues. If you feel bouts of them, make sure you consult a psychiatrist or counselor for consultation. Don’t ignore the symptoms.
By following all these points, you can start managing your time. Slowly, it will become a habit to manage it and not waste it on things that are not important to you. You will also start to have self-control and the power to say no. Unnecessary stress will start to vanish away from your life and you will be able to take your life towards a more healthy living.
Ankita calls herself a road-child because of her love for road trips and landscapes. A journalist turned digital nomad, she is either telling stories or looking outside the car window aimlessly. She has traveled most of India by road, and encourage other women to take such life-changing journeys. Ankita is also a mental health advocate and a survivor herself. She likes to tell her story through writing and photography, with the aim to change at least some lives.