Everybody gets the same 24 hours per day to achieve whatever they put their mind to. Once it’s lost, time can no longer be used. It is critical for you to manage your time; as we get older, time moves faster and there never seems to be enough time to finish all of the things you set out to complete. For many, managing time can be more challenging than managing money and this is because there are no reserves or banks for people to store unused time, and once that resource is depleted, we are often left dumbfounded how we were so careless with our finite hours. In order to grapple with our time management habits, we need to break down the causes that prevent us from managing our time efficiently. Here are three reasons why so many people find it difficult to manage their own time.
1) You’re unsure what’s important to you
You have a lot of things on your plate, all of which require your time, patience and concentration. Whether it be a hobby or a prior commitment, you may be devoting time to side projects and hobbies that are preventing you from using your time productively. Everyone has a different goal; some want to find out how they can save more time at work to complete their scheduled assignments, while others want to know what they can cut out of their daily routine so they can spend more time on their hobbies. Time management isn’t simply knowing how much time an event/action takes up but gauging whether or not it’s constructive and helps you get closer to achieving whatever tasks you need to be completed.
2) You’re too giving with your time
As mentioned previously, our time is finite: there are no refunds or exchanges for the time that we dedicate to a project, hobby or passing interest. We must be mindful when sharing our time with others- it may be in your DNA to be helpful and generous with your time, but putting yourself and your goals first are paramount in mastering time management. For example, take a look at your upcoming work schedule: how many meetings are you scheduled for that other people have initiated? Although you may not realize it, you are not the only one capable of spending your own time, it’s important to consider how much of your time others are spending. This can be seen in many facets of your everyday life including feeling obligated to appear at a social gathering with friends or family, even though you’d prefer to spend that time in a different way.
3) You’re distracted with technology
Technology has made it easier to do our jobs and to access the Internet for an unlimited supply of resources and information. What technology has failed to do, however, is limit our distractions and wastefulness of time. Instead, technology has made it easier than ever for us to take our minds off of important matters and onto things that are less important. Unfortunately, we don’t always spend the most amount of time on things that we personally deem important. In fact, it is much easier to spend more time on things that require less brain power. Constant attention to our social media pages, mobile games and applications (i.e. iMessage, Whatsapp) have reduced our ability to focus solely on one task. To relate this to our previous point, the ability for our co-workers/managers, friends and family to communicate with us ubiquitously can be troublesome to an individual struggling with time management because they may feel inclined to respond to messages, appear in-person for a meeting, or disregard their commitments for a night of leisure.
What needs to be done
Your time is as valuable as your money which is why identifying the roots of your distractions and roadblocks need to be prioritized. You need to identify what your objectives are and how you plan on meeting them. One thing you can do is monitor a week's worth of daily events and interactions and keep a record of how much time you spend on these sorts of things. Extended lunches or excessive breaks are perfect examples of cumulative time-wasters. Although these actions may only consume 10 minutes of your day, over the course of a week, you’ll be wasting nearly an hour’s worth of time that could have been spent on completing objectives that are important to you.
Learning to say ‘no’ when the situation warrants it is critical in helping you take back control of your time. Saying ‘no’ does not mean you have to come across as mean or insensitive. Instead, remind your family, friends or coworkers that you have important responsibilities that need to be attended to and that you’d be glad to talk once you feel comfortable with the progress you’ve made.
Finally, it’s important to limit your use of technology, specifically your social media accounts, mobile and online gaming, as well as your text messaging apps. It can be difficult to ignore your phone when you see a notification buzz on your screen, or when you feel frustrated or confused in your work, but persevere through the tough times and ignore your urges to kill time on your mobile devices. It’s a rabbit hole not worth venturing down.
How time tracking software can help
Time tracking software is designed to keep you on track and on target with your pre-set goals. Accountability can be incredibly tough. Being able to monitor your working hours, including distractions, will allow you to schedule your day and give yourself checkpoints to ensure you’re on the right track. Time tracking software also will remind you of the importance of individual projects to assure that you’re focusing your time and energy on tasks that are of high priority.
If you feel your company would benefit from time tracking software, check out Tempo today for more information!