Every single human on this planet has the exact same amount of time in the day. No one gets an extra hour. Let that sink in for a second. You, and Elon Musk have the same amount of time every day. It is what we each decide to do with these 24 hours that decides who or what we become, and so we try to manage time. There’s a lot you may hear about Time Management, but here are Top 5 Amazing Time Management Tips.
Over the years, the mainstream perception of productivity, efficiency and work ethic has shifted. As a society, we’re slowly moving away from glamourizing excessive work. Now, everyone is trying to “work smarter, not harder” (Which is the premise of one of my favourite books, The Four Hour Work Week). The idea is that productivity is no longer measured in how much time you spend “working” or doing something, but instead in how efficiently things get done, spending only the time that is necessary. The idea is that balance can be achieved.
Time Management is technically the process of planning or controlling how much time one spends on a specific activity. But here’s the kicker, no matter how much you plan or schedule, an hour is only an hour. Time is going to pass, and that is something no one can control. Ergo time in itself cannot be “managed”, and time management is essentially “self-management”. Because it’s impossible to control the ticking hands of a clock, but it is possible to control what you do as those seconds tick by.
If you clicked on this article at all, you probably want what we all want; you want it all. You want to do productive and successful work, you want to have time for your relationships, you want to have time for your side-gig, time to have fun and relax, and time for the twelve other responsibilities that you have. Now, even though I’m not an expert on this, I do currently have my schedules arranged in the most efficient “balanced” way that is feasible. It’s taken a lot of trial and error to get to this stage, but it’s worth it.
You need to understand how to better manage your time, or better manage yourself, because
1. Procrastination is probably stealing all your time
2. You feel like you’re in a rut and not actually achieving anything
3. You’re just permanently stressed
Any person who sincerely understands personal growth understands that what works in one season does not work in every other season. If you want to make the most out of your time, start by completely comprehending and acknowledging this truth; you cannot do everything you want to do at once. Even if you’re full of great ideas, you can’t always implement them immediately. That isn’t to say you shouldn’t chase your dreams, but if in the pursuit of all your dreams at once you’re burnt out, then what’s the point?
Most problems in life can be resolved if we were just honest with ourselves and each other about what’s truly important. Here’s a tiny example; Yes I want balance of work, a social life and rest, but at this particular point in time, getting an A in Organic Chemistry is more important than going out. If I can accept this truth, then I’m not beating myself up over what I’m not doing with my time, and I’m not stretching myself thin trying to also do what could be a priority in a different season. The opposite is true. There are moments where going out with my friends is more important than showing up for a meeting that could easily have been an e-mail. Long story short? What is most important to you right now? And what can you let go of? Prioritise those, and when the circumstances or situations of your life change, ask yourself these same questions and see what changes.
This is one of the simplest things you can do to better manage yourself. Especially if you’re dreading an activity, set your timer on your phone for just twenty-five minutes. During the set time, shut off all distractions and don’t try to multi-task. Focus is imperative. The good thing about this habit is it works whether you don’t want to get started at all, or you tend to spend too much time on one activity. If you tend to get carried away with the time, exercise the discipline to shut off when it’s time. Though with certain activities, especially creative activities like writing or painting, it seems difficult to set time limits, this method works if these creative things have deadlines or are work-related. If you’re just painting for fun though, then of course, let the inspiration flow.
Here is another crucial tip I don’t hear being talked about enough. It’s insanity to assume that you have the exact same amount of energy the entire day. Because of your routines, environment, eating and sleeping habits, and so many other factors, your energy levels change throughout the day. It’s actually science, and pretty well explained in the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. You only have to be conscious and aware to figure out what times of the day you’re typically more alert and what times you’re not. If you want to get deeper into it, the process itself involves charting and graphing your energy levels for a couple of weeks, but I’ll leave that to the geeks like myself to read more about here.
For example, I know I’m a huge morning person. I cross off about 60% of my to-do list before noon, because I’m more alert. But I know by 1pm till 3pm, my energy just plummets, I’m tired and hangry (hungry and therefore angry). And yet again by 7pm till I fall asleep my mind wakes up again. I try to work my schedules and plans around the times I have more energy.
Besides these normal ebbs and flows of energy, it’s important to identify the specific activities that tire you out, or energize you. For instance, if you end a day with an intense gym session which wipes you out, don’t plan to do any high-focus work after that time. On Wednesdays, I end my day with a three hour Chemistry session, and for some weird reason, it energizes me. I love it. Because I know I’m going to be worked up and inspired after this, I plan my schedule and know I’ll probably get hours’ worth of work done every Wednesday evening.
Here’s a weird thing about us humans, when we procrastinate, we sometimes procrastinate bigger tasks. Like ten page reports, or doctor’s appointments. But most often we procrastinate the minutest tasks. The tasks you know will take literally just five minutes. I know I’m guilty of this, because I will do a billion other productive things before I throw out an empty jar of sugar. It’s clogging up space, and it will literally take less than a minute, but I tell myself I’ll do it tomorrow. Or, like how I know in practice responding to texts would only take at most twenty minutes of my day, but I’d rather not.
Here’s the part I introduce you to gap-habits. Basically, gap habits are tiny habits you add to your routine when you’d otherwise just be passing the time. I practice my French for seven minutes every morning while I eat. If I didn’t have this gap habit, I’d just be staring off into space. On my bus ride to class, I check my e-mails. Do the things that don’t really require a lot of your attention during the spaces in your day-to-day routine.
Yes, I confess, I have calendars that have calendars. And my to-do lists have to-do lists. (It’s crazy). But that works for me, and it doesn’t have to be that extreme for you. You just need to have at least one calendar. The absolute worst feeling is remembering too late you’re actually supposed to be somewhere else. My advice is to have a calendar that you regularly update in your view. Write it down, and don’t just expect to remember. You can have a classic physical calendar, custom design your own in a planner, update the calendar app on your phone, have it written on a marker/notice board (or be extra like me and do all the above). But seriously, just stick with one. You can’t manage what you have to do if you don’t even know what you have to do. And don’t forget to add dates to relax and treat yourself onto your calendar, you have to be intentional about self-care too.
There is so much more to be said about managing time and self, and the pursuit of balance in the different seasons we go through. But I hope this post helps you by giving you new, better habits, or at the very least by inviting you to discover what would work best for your lifestyle.
1. Atomic Habits by James Clear
2. The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
As always, I’m grateful for your continued support. If you learnt something new from this, consider sharing the link to this article on your socials, leaving a comment, or tagging me @dzifianu on Instagram in the screenshots of you reading this. Of course, join the email list to get updates. Till next time, stay thriving. I love you immensely,
I am Dzifianu, a seventeen year old who is constantly evolving, constantly chasing her dreams, and, constantly onthe go. When I am not blogging, I'm probably studying, reading a book, or, doing something absurd like dancing in the rain.
Thank you this is really valuable information
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Glad I could help
This was very helpful☺️
Kudos baby girl❤️
Definitely learnt a lot from this. thanks
Thank you for reading!
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