Time Management as Life Management

In front of you a hot steaming cup of coffee.

But every time you come near it, something happen: the phone rings, the door bell rings, your pc says you’ve got urgent mail…

When you finally find time to drink your coffee, it’s cold.

Organizing time in life is a very essential skill, a learnable one – no matter how disorganized one seems to be.

But, in order to understand it, we must first ask ourselves:

What is Time Management?

Time management is a complex of many different skills and procedures that leads to increase productivity, efficiency and/or effectiveness with the same amount of time used.

That is to say: with time management skills, the same amount of work can be done in less time, or within the same time frame more work can be done.

Even so important is to ask, "what is time"?

With many ways of viewing it, time is a period in which the things happen. Put simply, in order to manage time, you have to manage how things happen. Without this simple concept, every technique you can learn to increase your time management skills is rendered useless.

Is it really important do find time throughout the day?

Time is a finite resource. We only have some of it to spend every day. When we use time management skills we are able to do the things we have to do and still have left time to do things we would like to do.

Since time is comprised of the “things that happen”, while managing time, you are actually managing the order in which you think, talk, and do stuff.

That is to say that you can control your time (stuff that happen to you), and with this thought, when you gain control of time you ultimately gain control over your life.

Being what it is, time management techniques can be applied to almost any aspect of life - such as personal projects, study time, gym attendance, and all you can think of.

The time to apply time management skills

We defined time as stuff that happens, so it is intuitive to think that the best time to do time management is right now. That is to say, every second of every minute in your life you can put to good use this kind of skill.

Also, it is important to say that it is an ever-learning, ever-evolving skill - after applying what you will learn it is always a good idea to think about how can you improve the process.

It is not just picking up a list and feel you're forever good to go.

It's about picking up that list and do stuff, and later have time to think about the stuff you've done and how can you improve what you put in the list and what you shouldn't have put in it.

Finally: a small set of powerful techniques to manage time

Among the numerous techniques there are to manage time, I've chosen a few that have helped me big time. I hope you can find true value here:

Prioritize. Prioritize. Prioritize.

It's fundamental to have a clear view of the time you have available. In order to make the most out of it it's important to get to know what we have been doing.

Proceed like this: reserve a little time right now and make a list of the things you have done today. Everything. Since the moment you have woken.

Be realistic. It's not what you SHOULD have done. It's what you actually HAVE done.

All right, now think about what you should have done. It's hard, I know. But do it anyway.

There you have it: you are starting to prioritize your tasks.

This is the most important single skill to have when dealing with time management; to know what are your priorities and to perform accordingly. And then, later to revise and improve upon your chosen things to perform.

That is key: we have only a small number of hours everyday to do all the things we WANT to do - and all the things we HAVE to do.

When we know our priorities we make sure we do what needs to be done with our time - making us more efficient.

Don't wait for stuff, prepare for it.

Take time every day to plan the next day (or, in the morning of your starting day, take time to prepare for the rest of the day). Always plan ahead.

Think carefully, and prioritize the tasks you must perform. Examine the needs and the ways to better perform the tasks.

Now you make a schedule, a list, a calendar (whatever works best for you), and divide the time in appointments. Just have a way of knowing what you should do, every single minute of the day.

After you have your list (to me it is what works best - a list), observe all the tasks you have assigned.

Now assign a letter to each task (A for the most important and urgent tasks of the day, B for the tasks with importance but not urgent, and C for the tasks with no importance – urgent or not).

Now go on and do the A tasks. Only do B tasks after that. And only do C tasks when you have time. This alone will help you save great amounts of time every day.

Make time to yourself

In order to perform at your best in every task, you should set time to sleep well and eat well.

Every adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep at night to feel really rested and ready for the next day. So prepare for that. Sleep early if you must, but sleep adequately. Be ready for when things happen when they happen.

Also, eat well. Choose the best foods for maintaining energy and disposition throughout the day. And consume tremendous amounts of water. Eat less sugar and more fibers. Only consume pasta once or twice a week. Your body will feel great - and you too if you can maintain this regimen.

Exercise every day. Take time to move your body. Ever since we were cave man, our body was made to spend energy and to move. In order to make the most out of our body, we need to walk, dance, swim, ride a bike - anything that makes us sweat. 30 minutes 3 times a week is probably enough for most of us - but once you start I'm sure you'll do more.

What about that cup of coffee?

In conclusion, time management is a learnable skill with profound implications in our lives, and that makes us better and more active when and where things happen in our lives.

In order to make the changes we need to make and to improve our lives to live the fullest life we can, we must embrace a life style that involves careful planning, and care with our bodies. By doing these simple things, you’re never going to drink that coffee cold again.


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