I get it. You too are insanely, up-to-your-eyeballs busy. Even at this moment, you have five things you should be doing — three of which you probably are doing simultaneously. The last thing you have time to do is engage in something as silly sounding as time management . . . right?
The less time you have, the more you need time management.
Winston Churchill — who ironically saved time by tweaking a quote from Benjamin Franklin — famously stated, “He who fails to plan is planning to fail.” Often, we hear of time management from our employers’ HR departments. (Naturally, your company wants you to get more done in less time for the same amount of money!) However, time management is an incredible and indispensable approach to making your personal life the best it can be. Here’s why:
We’ve all tried, but there’s still only so much time in the day. We each get 24 hours, and that’s it. (This weekend, you’re getting slapped with a 23-hour day!) You can see how far you can go on minimal sleep or multitask until you’re blue in the face, but there’s no sustainable way to do everything right now.
Why waste the precious hours that you have? Why fritter away that time on the annoying tasks of life? If you could accomplish what you need to do in 45 minutes instead of 60, wouldn’t it be glorious to have those extra 15 minutes? Think of the possibilities!
Time management makes the way you function more efficient. Would you rather do the exact same three tasks the hard, time-consuming way or the easy way? It’s a no-brainer. By optimizing the way you function, you can get more done more quickly. You become increasingly productive while making room in your schedule that you didn’t know you had.
Have you ever tried to do a big shopping trip without a list? You probably spent the entire time muttering reminders to yourself as you wandered aimlessly through the store — only to forget milk, bread, and your firstborn. Attempting to keep everything in your head is a recipe for disaster. Making a plan takes the onus off of your over-taxed brain and gives you the solace of knowing that nothing is forgotten.
All tasks are not created equal. Some are more important than others — spending time with your family, bringing in an income, getting a physical. Some are more urgent — shoveling the driveway, getting your kids to the bus stop on time, picking up the milk you forgot during your recent shopping trip. Time management gives you the ability to see everything you need to do and prioritize it all.
Maybe your brain is raring to go first thing in the morning but sputters out by mid-afternoon. Maybe you need a big cup of coffee before you’re capable of basic communication and higher thought processes. Time management keys in on the best time to do certain activities so that you don’t waste minutes or hours when your brain and body simply aren’t up to the task.
In moments of stress — like when your to-do list is longer than your arm or three different people are whining your name — things can start to fall apart. You lose track of what needs to be done, and you find yourself running back and forth and back and forth in a completely inefficient fashion. If you have a plan during stressful times, you won’t be ruled by the screaming voice in your head (or the screaming little voices attached to your leg).
“Free time” or “spare time” is a myth. When was the last time you sat down and said, “I have nothing to do”? If you ever want to get them done, you simply can’t wait for “free time” to relax with a book, get a haircut, have a date with your spouse, exercise, or sleep. If you manage your time, you can create downtime for yourself — giving yourself more energy for the rest of the time and feeling more balanced on a day-to-day basis.
Life is not steering you off a cliff while you scream in the passenger seat. You are driving. Sure, there are plenty of unexpected twists and turns that come our way, but a great time management plan allows you to tackle what you see coming while being flexible enough to accommodate the surprises. You get to pick your destinations, the routes you’ll take, and the timetable for the journeys. Time management can help you reach the goals and dreams you have for your life and bring you true personal fulfillment.
Ready to get started with seizing control of your time? Check out this post on setting goals for success and this series on getting started with time management.
This post was republished by The Huffington Post on June 21, 2016.