Time management is a very valuable skill in today’s society. But what is it, really? Most of us are constantly trying to cope with an increasing number of requirements, commitments, and interests. How should this be handled? Is time management the answer?
While skills in time management definitely are important in “handling it all without losing it”, such skills solely don’t comprise a silver bullet. There are other things that have to be in place too.
In this article, we will focus on a short but elegant time management definition… the way we define it here at Time Management Solutions.
Let’s start with a picture, which is always nice and polite. Take a look at the illustration below:
The relationship between life management, personal productivity, and time management. This is the starting point of our time management definition.
Before we start grinding more deeply on time management, let’s take a quick look at the two layers below it.
From Life Management to Personal Productivity to Time Management
The following picture gives an overview of our basic stance:
Question: How does time management relate to life management? Answer: This way.
All people manage their life in one way or another. We have split life management into five areas: personal productivity, physical training, social relationships, financial management, and eating habits.
The split above reflects our view, that we have a head (A), a body (B), and in addition to that, an environment (C) where we live in, and in which we influence.
As we all know, we have to take care of our body. At its core, this is done by some kind of physical exercise, and by striving for balanced eating habits. If there isn’t enough physical exercise, our body may suffer. If we eat wrongly for a prolonged period of time, our body may suffer. If we don’t focus on these areas at least somewhat, we seldom do them right. Sooner or later our doctor will also verify this, as we develop our modern western lifestyle diseases.
Then we have our environment. We interact with our surroundings via social interactions. This might mean meeting with friends, living everyday life with our partner, using Facebook, or chatting with our local store clerk while looking for the right credit card. Workplaces are also an important place to mingle with people.
People who are too much alone often become unhappy. It is important to plan enough time with your friends. Sports often combine both physical exercise and socializing.
As our society is built today, money is important. This is why we need financial skills too. There exists a plethora of advisories and methods for that. Some are rip-offs, others could benefit you. Only the people in the know survive in the long run.
Last but not least we have personal productivity, which is key to doing and achieving.
To put it shortly, we define personal productivity as a set of skills. These skills are time management, learning, personal organization, mental control, creativity, and decision making.
Time Management Definition
So, whereas personal productivity is an important component of life management, time management is THE part of personal productivity. The six skills of time management, according to our time management definition, are as follows:
- Managing goals is important because if we don’t know what we strive at, we are lost like elks in thick fog. Yes, we may still be doing all kind of things with our sleeves wrapped and sweat pears on our forehead, but if it is the wrong thing we are doing, we are not getting towards our true goals. In that case, we might as well lie on the couch chilling. Instantly when we define a goal, we know our direction. The doing then automatically starts to focus in the right direction.
- Managing tasks is also needed, as we always end up with many goals and too many things to do. That is why we need a system for storing these tasks, and as a place to jot down our “AHAA! This is what I should do” moments. If we don’t manage our tasks, we forget important things and miss deadlines.
- Prioritizing complements task management because time is limited. Prioritizing means putting things in an order of importance, and taking this importance into consideration when making decisions. Many times your prioritizing is simple as you only need to look at deadlines. Other times you might need to ask for your bosses opinion (if you have one) or rely on your gut feeling. The bottom line is that prioritizing skills help in situations where we have several things we should start doing. It answers the questions: what is most important to me, and what should I do next?
- Calendar utilization. As a platform for managing appointments, we all need a calendar. It may be in a classic paper form, your mobile phone, or your Outlook calendar (ideally the two latter are synchronized). The best solution for you is one you feel confident using. But don’t think you can manage without one. You cannot. Trust me.
- Managing procrastination. We all know the situations when we just can’t bring ourselves to start something. This is called procrastination, and it is a complicated, yet very important subject. The reasons for procrastination are often rooted deeply in our souls, and some people have a stronger tendency toward it than others. That is why you actually know who these people are at your work. It is the ones that activate themselves just before important deadlines.
The good news is, that there exist methods for managing procrastination. The tips for beating procrastination are basic time management skills. Any good time manager should have these skills in their skill set, and use them when needed (I know I have to, sometimes).
- Follow-up systems.Finally, we need some kind of follow-up systems for ensuring that things get finished. Many times, especially in work life, projects are started, and in the beginning, they are also closely monitored. A little later, new projects are started. The old projects are forgotten. Most often, they are left undone, for good. With proper follow-up systems, this can be avoided. At least the old projects should be closed, or be put on hold consciously.
So, above we have the areas we feel are key for a proper time management definition. Now, let’s look at some other views, and ways to exercise time management.
Time Management Techniques and Systems
There exist many ways to exercise time management. The most classical way is to take a piece of paper, and to write down a list of things to accomplish “today”.
Some others are found in the table below:
|Technique / System||Description|
|Simple ad-hoc to-do list||The most basic time management technique everyone uses sometimes.|
|Getting things done – GTD||David Allen’s method for time management, glorified by many. Based on multiple open lists. Process-based.|
|Closed list time management||In opposed to open to-do lists (a list into which you constantly add and add new items) there exists a school of thought, which supports closed to-do lists (= finish this list before starting anything new). Main advocate: Mark Forster.|
|Software-based time management||Comprises a group of IT-based systems and techniques. Main advocates: M. Linenberger and S. McGhee.|
The important thing to remember when talking about time management techniques is that everyone develops their own favourites. There is no right or wrong system for managing time, and no single, one and only time management definition. One has to use what works for them.
Time Management Definition – Summary
By using proper time management skills for different purposes, you should be able to maximize your free time. It is almost contradictory how it is O.K. to be motivated to learn time management, with the purpose of avoiding too long work days (at least for longer periods).
Life is a whole experience. We must not focus only on only one area of it, which often ends up being education or work. By using time management tools and techniques, we can get more time for doing all the other things we love, too. For example, you can buy college papers for sale and read a book that is really interesting for you at this time.
Luckily, skills in personal productivity and time management really help. Personally, I could not live without these skills anymore.
Want more? Here is a link to Wikipedia’s time management definition.
Author bio: Carol James, writer and editor EssayLab
I’m an academic writer at EssayLab is a great service that provides write proficient school essay help for people of all school star. Our objective is to simpleness your high school studies and gives everyone a possibility to flourishing without having excess strain.