Time is an interesting concept, there are so many blog posts, articles and books on how to manage your time. Did you know that there are two types of time, quantitative and qualitative; according to the researchers Becker and Mustric (2008).
Quantitative time is represented by seconds, minutes, days, weeks, months, and years. On the other hand, qualitative time is linked to the meaning of an activity the time is spent on.
Whether you’re a student, an employee with a side-hustle, or a full-time pro, time management is quite important, in order to keep on top of tasks. Again, there are so many theories and strategies on how to manage your time. Time management can be useful when setting and meeting goals, but according to a few researchers ‘time’ itself cannot be managed but events can be managed in relation to time.
“Time management is not about creating more time but rather about making the best use of the time we have”.
How many of you find yourself trying to squeeze or buy more time? Especially when you’re under incredible stress to meet a deadline? How many of you can relate to procrastination and binge-watching episodes on Netflix?
I know you can relate, yes you, sitting there in the corner silently, I see you. It’s okay, I procrastinate too, in fact, I’m often afraid to make mistakes or if a work isn’t up to standard in my eyes, I’ll rubbish it. This somehow makes me a procrastinator… Procrastination and perfectionism, and the fear of failure can affect the way we manage our time.
We have 24 hours in a day, and whilst we can’t do E V E R Y SINGLE THING, we can make allowances, and schedules to ease off the stress that accompanies time management. Every single person has an internal clockwork, some people like to get things done quickly, and others the opposite.
However, if you struggle with your time management, and feel that you’re always running around in a frenzy, then try out these 6 strategies.
These strategies are also a bonus if you find yourself procrastinating like I do. It will also help you to reduce stress, frustration, and that last minute panic when you have deadlines to meet.
Track where your time goes
What do you do with your time? Honestly? Take a moment to think “what do I do with my time”, I often find myself playing a lot of console games, either on my PS3 or my mobile. I once spent 5+ hours just playing Sims Free Play and then complaining to myself that I hadn’t done anything. Social Media can take up a lot of my time, in fact, the majority of my time is spent looking at the life of others on Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook or Twitter, promoting other people’s work, or promoting my own work. Overuse of social media can actually be anxiety provoking and lead to negative thoughts. It can also fuel your procrastination, and contribute to black-and-white thinking.
In order to keep track of your time, you can use automated tracker apps or use an excel sheet. ATracker Time Tracker on the apple store is a great tool and it’s free! Moment is another great time tracker that keeps an eye on how many hours you spend on your phone. My moment tracker once told me that I spent 12 Hours alone on my phone in one day… crazy right?
Know when you work best
I’m a ‘Night Owl’ meaning that I prefer to work in the evenings, therefore I make dedicated time to doing particular tasks during those hours. Occasionally I will work during the day, however, I’m prone to drowsiness during midday so I either do the hard tasks during the early morning or late at night. Down below is an Infographic by Syracuse University which helps you to structure your day accordingly.
Keep an organised space
Keeping an organised space can reduce your stress level, by having a structured filing system for your documents, you’ll keep your mind at ease. Invest in a filing storage if you can, and do the same on your laptop, tablet etc.
Try the Pomodoro Technique
When I’m studying I often use this technique, as it keeps me focused and it reminds me to take breaks. The technique uses a timer to break work into intervals, so typically you’d work for about 25 minutes and then have a 5-minute break. The technique aims to help you concentrate for short periods of time, and it’s a great technique if you get overwhelmed trying to study for hours upon hours.
Plan on a weekly basis
Recently I started planning on a weekly basis, as it reduces stress and anxiety. Although some people plan monthly, a month is a big time period, and things can slip away. If you have deadlines that are in a months time or more, use a weekly planning schedule to reach those deadlines.
“A week is short enough to control it, but long enough to be flexible if changes need to be made” – Juri Kaljundi, weekdone.com
I often plan my week on Sunday evenings and factor any tasks to do in my diary. I find weekly planning useful because it allows me to be flexible. Since I’m a temp worker (I work one-to-one with children in schools), planning weekly gives me room to make alternative changes if required.
Give yourself breaks
Forgive yourself if you don’t complete your to-do list for the day.
It’s also equally important that you give yourself breaks from your task to rejuvenate your mind and use your break wisely. Rather than jumping onto your phone during a break, have a glass of water, or take a walk, crack open a window, or do some yoga stretches.