How to manage your time effectively

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Managing your time effectively determines how far you’ll go in life and the accomplishments you’ll make. It was Mike Murdock who said that “the secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine”. This implies that the further you’ll go in life is determined by how well you manage your time and this is true. As a student, a worker, a mother, a father, or a career person, how well you can manage your time determines how balanced your life will become. There are so many aspects of life that are time-dependent. Your finances, your physical and mental well-being, the friends you make, your grades in school and the list goes on. Improper time management can be a disaster because, at the end of the day, you’ll discover that there’s no notable achievement to your name. 

Benefits of proper time management

Some of the benefits of proper time management include:

  • Achievement of your goals will in turn serve as a form of motivation to set higher goals and to see that they are achieved. 
  • Proper time management also allows you to lead the much-desired work-life balance and improves the overall quality of your life.
  • In addition, proper time management will help you become more effective and efficient in your workplace and other engagements as you’ll meet up with deadlines and deliver exceptional results. 
  • Another quality of someone who practices proper time management is having an organized life. You’ll have things carefully planned out and emergencies will not throw you off balance because you have put necessary measures in place. 
  • Finally, you’ll also learn to procrastinate less and to identify and harness opportunities as they come when you have mastered the art of managing your time properly.

Consequently, improper time management can lead to an unfulfilled life because the way you manage your time will reflect on the quality of life you live. Stress, breakdown, burnout, and underperformance are some of the disadvantages of improper time management. 

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We’d explore ways you can master proper time management in this article. Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more important updates. 

Read also: How To Stay Organized While Studying Abroad

Mastering Effective Time Management

If you’re struggling with living a balanced life and staying organized, it might just be a call to focus on your schedule and time management. On your journey to mastering balance, below are some useful tips to help aid your journey to mastery:

1. Prioritization Techniques- Learn to Master the Art of Importance

One important thing you need to learn to maximize the most out of your day is learning how to prioritize your tasks in order of importance. Every day, we are faced with different tasks and activities and the achievement of these tasks determines the satisfaction we’ll get at the end of the day. However, these tasks are not the only tasks that lead to our overall growth. In addition to your routine as a student or a career person, you’ll have other things to attend to like family needs, personal daily needs, and so on. Sometimes people also reach out to you to help them with one thing or the other. If you end up getting engrossed with other people’s activities without learning prioritization, you’ll discover you’ve not cleared anything off your schedule at the end of the day. 

Learning how to prioritize your tasks

These tips below can help you learn how to prioritize your daily tasks properly.

  • Goal setting is key to effectiveness and proper time management. It is important to have yearly goals broken down into quarterly goals further broken down into monthly goals and then weekly objectives and daily tasks. 
  • Take note of your yearly goals and break them into chunks that can be achieved quarterly. From there, break the quarterly goals into activities you can carry out monthly. Afterward, break them down into even smaller tasks that can be carried out daily. 
  • Have a schedule of the activities you plan to carry out each day, with the overall yearly goal in view. Perhaps you’re on a weightless journey as a student. Your schedule will include daily exercises, food preparation, a reading plan, and other activities to fit into other areas of your life. 
  • Ensure that very important tasks come first. 
  • For bonus points, tasks that deal with cognitive thinking should be done first, after which physical activities can now be done. 

Read also: How To Create A Study Schedule

2. Adopting The Time Blocking For Maximum Productivity

Additionally, learning the time-blocking technique will help guarantee maximum productivity every day. The time-blocking technique simply means dividing the day into blocks of time and assigning a task to each block. For example, as a student, you can decide that your study period will be from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm daily. Doing this gives you a sense of responsibility. You can assign a time frame for each task on your daily schedule to ensure discipline and maximum productivity.  

3. Eliminating Time Wasters

Furthermore, another important time management tip is learning how to identify time wasters and eliminate them from your daily activities. Remember we talked about prioritizing important tasks and carrying them out first right? As you go on with your schedule, identify the list of important tasks with no advantage and ensure they do not even come up on the list at all. 

You can also save time daily by learning to delegate or outsource. As a student, you can outsource something like your laundry to help save time. As a professional, you can delegate certain tasks in your office to your subordinate to help save time and increase your effectiveness.

In addition, cutting down on your screen time will help you lead a productive life. According to statistics, 1 in 5 phone smartphone users spend an average of 4.5 daily hours on an average on their smartphone. Channeling that many numbers or hours to writing reading or practicing a new knowledge will be more productive than scrolling through social media pages. 

Read also: The Benefits Of Combining Study And Work Abroad

4. Embracing The  Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro technique was created by Francesco Cirillo and it has proven to be an effective time management strategy. It involves working intensely for 25 minutes which is called a Pomodoro and then taking a 5-minute break afterwards. After 4 Pomodoro, you can reward yourself with a 15 to 30-minute break. 

Adopting the Pomodoro technique is a good way to remain productive with laser-like focus and precision without getting tired or experiencing burnout. The breaks ensure balance so as a creative person you do not run out of ideas. If you’re struggling with concentrating for long hours, this technique can help with that. At the end of the day, you’ll achieve all that’s in your schedule without feeling like you’ve worked. The reward system is also there as a form of motivation to ensure that you finish the task. 

5. Mastering Decision-Making- Adopting  The Eisenhower Matrix

Additionally, the Eisenhower Matrix is also called the Eisenhower Box, or the urgent-important matrix. It’s a tool that helps with your decision-making process. It helps you schedule your tasks into four categories to include:

  • The most important/ urgent tasks you should do first.
  • The tasks you’ll schedule for later
  • The tasks to delegate
  • The tasks to delete.

Adopting this method will help you arrange your tasks in the order of priority giving you an avenue to measure your progress. 

6 Technological tools to help with Time Management 

Again, technology has made so many things easier, including the creation of tools to help with effective time management. There are applications available that help you stay on track and keep you organized so that you have a productive day. Some of these applications include:

  • Calendar apps: They help with scheduling meetings and tasks. Examples include Google Calendar, Outlook, Apple Calendar, and so on. 
  • Time trackers: they help you keep tabs on the duration of time you spend completing a task. Examples include Toggl, Harvest, Clockify, and so on. 
  • Task managers: they are applications that help you organize, track, and complete your tasks daily. Examples include Trello, and Todolist, among others.
  • Pomodoro timers: they help you apply the Pomodoro technique to ensure your effectiveness and productivity as you work. Examples include Focus Keeper, Tomato Timer, and PomoDome among others. 
  • Distraction blockers: as the name implies, they minimize the source of distractions and help you stay focused on your productivity journey. You can use them to mute calls, silence notifications, etc while you work. Examples include Freedom, ColdTurkey, Forest, and so on. 

Read also: How To Adjust To Living And Working In A Foreign Country

7. Learning to Set Boundaries 

Finally, embracing productivity and prioritizing your goals means you’ll have to learn how to say “no”. Now and then, tasks, activities, and requests from different people will come your way and some of them might shift the balance of the schedule you’ve created and are running. You’ll have to learn to say no to activities you do not deem important. However, to maintain cordial relationships with the parties involved, you should be polite but firm in your refusal. 

In conclusion, mastering time management for maximum productivity requires intentionality and productivity. As a goal-oriented person, ensuring you run a daily schedule will give you the awareness of the pending tasks you have and fuel you with the drive to carry them out. However, as much as it’s important to complete your schedule, remember to not overburden yourself with too many tasks as it can take a toll on your general well-being and render you unproductive while you take time to recover.

Additionally, there is always time for improvement. When you adopt these tips, you most probably would be excellent with them and might not check all of the boxes on your schedule list. But as time goes on, you’ll be able to identify your strengths and weaknesses and you’ll get better at prioritizing your needs and ensuring your daily tasks are in line with your life goals. mastering time management will take a while, so give yourself time to learn. Being accountable to a close friend will also help you on this journey. Moreover, when you’ve mastered managing your time well, you’ll have mastered the art of productivity making you efficient in every sphere. 

Read also: How To Find A Job Abroad

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  • Mercy Awofiranye is a creative writer with over five years of experience. Currently, she specializes in creating helpful content for students in the education space. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, and learning new things.