Due to the nature of our fast-paced world that idolizes the hustle, it’s easy to feel depleted when
we feel like we don’t have time to accomplish enough. We are expected to work, maintain a
social life, exercise, and somehow get eight hours of sleep. It all sounds doable until you take
into account the effect of social media and technology, procrastination, commuting, interruptions,
and mental health. Frustration and anxiety could be a factor that leads to poor time management,
then poor time management leads to frustration and anxiety, and the vicious cycle continues.
As they say, time is the one thing we can’t get back. Learning time management skills is essential
to not only be productive, but also to live a balanced and healthy life.
Poor time management sometimes looks like:
● Missing out on family commitments due to an inability to make time for them
● Missing deadlines at work, which reflects poorly on a person’s professionalism
● Restlessness from the idea of having things to do but not doing them
● Opting for habits that save time but are unhealthy, like junk food, out of an inability to
pack home cooked meals
● Showing up late to events, appointments, and gatherings
● Low quality of sleep because of Revenge Bedtime Procrastination, which is the decision
to put off sleep at night – even when extremely exhausted and sleepy – just to get a sense
of having extra free time that wasn’t acquired during the day.
● Completely neglecting physical health, and often saying statements like “I don’t have
time to work out.”
All of these factors can be present at certain stages in our lives, but if prolonged they can heavily
impact our relationships, jobs, and overall mental health.
TIPS TO MANAGE TIME
- Take Social Media Breaks
Spending too much time on social media is the easiest way to waste your time. Using it
excessively can offer temporary relief because it distracts us, but sometimes we spend
more time on it than we’ve intended. To avoid that, allocate a specific amount of time for
social media during the day. Renowned smartphone brands have added a “screen-limit”
feature to help users focus on their lives outside their screens. Think about the application
that you spend most time on, and create a time-frame that limits your use of it. Even if the
screen-limit feature is missing, make sure to put your phone in a place that is out of reach
to be able to focus on the tasks at hand. If it’s challenging, you can ask someone else to
hold you accountable.
Things to do other than spend time on social media:
● Sit in the sun
● Finish a task you’ve been meaning to work on
● Pack home-cooked meals
● Catch up with friends and family
● Squeeze in a quick workout
● Listen to a podcast
● Read a book
- Write a To-Do List / Use a Planner
Writing a to-do list makes you aware of the things that you need to get done. It’s essential
to make a list of the things you need to get done with the order of urgency or importance,
and to do that you need to be able to get your priorities straight. Ask yourself, what needs
to be urgently done? Who deserves my greatest asset, my time and attention? The
answers to these questions will determine what will be on the top of the list. In addition to
this, dividing the priorities list in two sections: things I need to do, and things I want to
do will also give you more clarity.
- Map Out Your Week – SMART Goals
It’s important to have SMART goals. Goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable,
Relevant, and Time-Based. In order to know where to start, your goals must be clearly
defined and outlined. Knowing what it is exactly you are trying to achieve, how you will
measure its success, whether it’s realistic or not, whether it’s related to your priorities, and
when it needs to be completed, is essential to achieve your goals.
- Pomodoro Technique
Pomodoro Technique is a technique that was developed by Francesco Cirillio in the
1980’s. It’s a time management method that divides work into intervals with breaks.
Cirillio claimed that the best way to be efficient is to work for 25 minutes on a specific
task, followed by a 5-10 minute break, and then work for another 25 minutes. Each
segment is called a pomodoro, and with every 4 pomodoros, you can take a longer 15-30
minute break. This makes you focus on the task at hand consistently for a period of time
without distractions, followed by a short break that offers rest without losing your focus.
- Break Big Tasks Into Smaller Ones
As the author of Anyone Can Get An A+: How To Beat Procrastination, Reduce Stress
and Improve Your Grades. Geetanjali Mukherjee once said, “Start anywhere, with
whatever is in front of you. The key is to begin – and to trust that as long as you’re
putting one foot in front of the other, eventually you’ll get to where you need to, or at the
very least, much farther than you had initially imagined.” Sometimes what makes us
avoid starting a task is how big it seems, when all we have to do is just start. Breaking a
big task into smaller ones makes us feel less overwhelmed and gives us more motivation
Following these tips will require self-discipline and effort. If we remain passive, we risk missing
out on what truly matters. Making time for something is the biggest sign that you care about it
enough to invest your time in it, and making time for someone is the most genuine way to show
them that you love them. On the other side of the coin, sometimes the person that you need to
invest your time in is you. Make sure to be intentional on finding the right balance that makes
time for your personal relationships and work obligations, but simultaneously preserves your
emotional and physical needs.
1- What are my priorities?
2- Which areas in my life am I not giving enough time to?
3- What are new healthy habits that I want to make time for?
4- Time is our greatest asset. In what ways have you been reckless with it?