3. Prioritize First, Act Second
We’re pretty good at getting things into our system, but we’re really bad at prioritizing what’s in the system. Although many prioritization schemes are out there, perhaps the most timeless is the urgency-importance framework. This leads to four possible scenarios.
- Not Urgent- Not Important. Don’t do it. It’s better to delete something off your task list and chip away at something important than to finish an unimportant task.
- Urgent– Not Important. Try not to do it. Delegate to others or push back against those that are trying to get you to do it. Keep in mind that although it might not be important to you it might be important to them, so tread lightly.
- Urgent-Important. Do it now. The key is to make sure that it is indeed important.
- Not Urgent-Important. Make time to do it. More often than not, these are deep-thinking tasks that we never can find the time to tackle. Interestingly, these are also the tasks that are probably in our long-term best interest. Schedule time to make it happen.
4. Be Strategic About Being A Manager Or A Maker
One way to ensure that you are using your time wisely is to pay attention to the differences between being a manager and a maker.
Manager. When you are in manager mode: (a) you are talking, problem-solving, and thinking quickly, (b) you are most productive when allocating time in units of 5 to 15 minutes, (c) your ideal state of consciousness is mindfulness (broad, present-moment attention), and (d) the cost of being in meetings is low.
Maker. When you are in maker mode: (a) you are alone, creating, and thinking slowly, (b) you are most productive when allocating time in units of 2 to 4 hours, (c) your ideal state of consciousness is flow (narrow, present-moment attention), and (d) the cost of being in meetings is high.
Unavailable. When carving out time to act as a maker, there are several mechanisms for making yourself unavailable. Out of office assistants, turning off text and Slack alerts, putting signs on closed doors, etc. Think strategically, experiment, and communicate with colleagues (or family) to explain why you don’t want to be distracted.
Be Careful With Online Scheduling Tools. When planning out time to be in manager mode, be strategic in how you set meetings. If time is money, scheduling meetings is a negotiation, and the goal is to win. Instead of giving out your schedule through Calendly, MixMax, or the like, tell other people when you want to meet. This will ensure that you manage your time and energy in ways that allow you to be more productive.
Keep in mind that trying out different systems is fine, but the key is to develop good habits that allow you to stay on top of things over the long term. Focus on filtering on the front end, staying inside one system, regularly reprioritizing, and being strategic with your manager and maker time.
Consider taking my free, validated, and theoretically grounded assessment, “How Well Do You Manage Your Time.” This 12-question assessment will automatically generate your scores and a comparison to your peers.
We hope you learn how to improve time management at home. So use your time wisely and hare this article with anyone who you may think will find it valuable and helpful.
If you want to know more about how to improve time management, here’s a video to help you out:
1. Claessens, B. J., Van Eerde, W., Rutte, C. G., & Roe, R. A. (2007). A review of the time management literature. Personnel Review.
2. Gaskin, J. E., & Skousen, T. (2016). Time-chunking and hyper-refocusing in a digitally-enabled workplace: six forms of knowledge workers. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 1627.
3. Macan, T. H. (1994). Time management: Test of a process model. Journal of Applied Psychology, 79(3), 381.
Written by: Scott Dust, Ph.D
Originally appeared on: Psychology Today
Republished with permission
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How to improve time management?
To improve time management and boost productivity the key is to develop good habits that allow you to stay on top of things over the long term.
What are 5 time management strategies?
To improve time management there are 5 important strategies like keeping a to-do-list, prioritizing, scheduling, delegating and resting.
Why time management is important?
Time management strategies are important because it makes it easier for you to manage your tasks and guarantees that you have adequate time to finish each project.
How can student improve time management skills?
Students can improve time management by avoiding procrastination and distractions. They can set clear goals between their study sessions.
How can I improve my time management skills?
Start your duties by establishing deadlines to enhance your time management skills. Give yourselves breaks while prioritizing important tasks. Lastly, organize your work environment.