How To Finally Master Time Management
Recently, I was hosting a workshop series for a client and they asked that I talk about time-management at one of them. I still find it interesting how folks always seem to ask me about this topic from time to time. Nevertheless, I want to break down how I believe are the best ways and tools to finally master time-management.
First, we need to grasp the hard truth behind time management. My friend’s, time management is just a myth. You cannot physically manage time! Even when you are really organized and have a badass system, you still cannot always control time. However, the light to this tunnel is that you can control what you do with your time. Ah, this my friends is a mantra that you will need to repeat often.
“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” -Michael Altshuler
Yay! Now, that you know the myth behind time management and how getting better at managing how you spend your time is the solution. Here are a few reasons why that solution is harder to put to practice:
- No established routines or no consistency with your routines
- No planning or really poor planning
- No “why” behind practicing time management
- Lack of organization and lack of systems
- No investigating where you are wasting time
Actual tools that you can use to help you with managing your time better:
- Create Goals & Establish your “Why”
- Conduct a Time Audit- Be an investigator and become curious how you spend your time! Do not judge!
- Time Blocking
- A calendar or planner (digital or paper) to organize your life!
- Project Management Software
- Use Timers & Apps to help limit distractions
- Have fun wherever you can during this process!
Four Ways to Master Time Management:
1.) Become a fearless gatekeeper!
Remember a no to someone else is a yes for yourself (or to things you want to do). This is a hard concept to practice no matter if a working professional or a business owner. It has been normalized for use to be “accessible” to everyone and everything. Well, if you are accessible to everyone and everything, then how will you make time for you and the things you really want to do?
2.) Prioritize ruthlessly.
I know this sounds a little much or dramatic, but I am absolutely serious. I listened to a podcast a few months ago about being ruthless with your time. At first, it felt uncomfortable to hear that. I was taken aback when I heard this woman say you have to be ruthless with your time. But then, I listened closely and came to the realization that we (as a society) have been conditioned (notably as a woman, and especially as a woman of color) to put others before ourselves. To accommodate others’ schedules, needs, etc, before our own schedule, needs, wants. Once I became aware of this realization, I realized that I needed to do some inner work around this concept and also remember that this new task of being ruthless with my time will only become natural with much practice. See, this is a practice folks! Experiment! Try new ways of not only prioritizing your time ruthlessly, but time management in general.
3.) Do not, I repeat do not get lost in the tech. Avoid shiny object syndrome!
Trust me, I get it there are a lot of new and trendy softwares that do the coolest stuff. That is all fine and great, but what matters is will it work for you. Do your research, read reviews. Then, figure out which tools you need to stay consistent and accountable when managing your time. Pick the best method that works with you and your brain (visual, kinesthetic, aural etc.). Don’t forget to make time to set up your systems and software to be able to work for you in a streamlined fashion.
4.) Keep it simple!
Remember, you can always add on later. In the beginning when you are first working through creating routines, figuring out a schedule, and applying time management time tools, it will be overwhelming. It will be easier if you create a very easy system when you are practicing the methods mentioned thus far. For example, you can start with taking a week or 30 days to audit how you spend your time. Then, after 1 week you can start planning the day beforehand with only a few items (pick 3 or 4) that you want to do or put in all of the meetings/appointments you have coming up in your calendar. Start small! And as a good friend always says, “baby step it out!”
We covered a whole lot on the topic time management. I know in my heart if you only take one thing with you, take this:
“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.” –Harvey Mackay
I hope you enjoyed this topic as much as I did writing it. There will be more tips to come on this subject, as I am learning to master time management each day forward. Please take what resonates with you and leave what doesn’t. I would love to know your thoughts on this topic and what techniques do you use that you have enjoyed on your own time management mastery journey. Share them in the comments!
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