Whether we assign a dollar value to it or not, time is valuable to us. Think about it: How much of your typical work week do you spend stressed about not having enough time to complete a task or reach a goal?
There are lots of different ways to tackle the issue of time management — you can download apps, adjust your sleep time, create lists, etc. But if you don’t fully understand why it’s important for you to better manage your time, those apps and lists aren’t going to help you. If you don’t have the motivation to use them, you won’t.
You have to first look at the big picture. Get a handle on why managing your time effectively is important, and what you stand to gain from it. You can get started by reviewing these 8 reasons time management is crucial:
- Time is limited. No matter how you slice it, there are only 24 hours in a day. That applies to you, and to your coworker who only seems able to do half the amount of work you do. But it also applies to the former coworker who consistently accomplishes more than you, and was promoted as a result. If you want to rise through the ranks, you have to acknowledge the importance of finding a way to manage this limited resource.
- You can accomplish more with less effort. When you learn to take control of your time, you improve your ability to focus. And with increased focus comes enhanced efficiency, because you don’t lose momentum. You’ll start to breeze through tasks more quickly (the workday will also seem to fly by).
- Improved decision-making ability. Whether you rely on a time-chunking technique or discover the power of list-making, you’ll soon find that a nice side benefit of good time management skills is the ability to make better decisions. When you feel pressed for time and have to make a decision, you’re more likely to jump to conclusions without fully considering every option. That leads to poor decision making.Through effective time management, you can eliminate the pressure that comes from feeling like you don’t have enough time. You’ll start to feel more calm and in control. When the time comes to examine options and make a decision, instead of rushing through the process, you can take time to carefully consider each option. And when you’re able to do that, you diminish your chances of making a bad decision.
- Become more successful in your career. Time management is the key to success. It allows you to take control of your life rather than following the flow of others. As you accomplish more each day, make more sound decisions, and feel more in control, people notice. Leaders in your business will come to you when they need to get things done. And that increased exposure helps put you in line for advancement opportunities.
- Learning opportunities are everywhere. Obviously, the more you learn, the more valuable you are to your employer. And great learning opportunities are around you, if you’ve got time to stop and take advantage them.When you work more efficiently, you have that time. You can help out with that new product launch your development team’s been working on. Volunteer to help host your company’s open house. Even just enjoying a nice lunch with teammates in other departments can prove eye-opening.The more you learn about your company and your industry, the better your chances of making a positive impression on the C-suite.
- Reduce stress. When you don’t have control of your time, it’s easy to end up feeling rushed and overwhelmed. And when that happens, it can be hard to figure out how long it’s going to take to complete a task. (Think of a time when you were about to miss a deadline and were frantically trying to finish the project. If someone dumped a surprise on your desk at that moment and asked you how long it would take to finish the surprise task, how could you even begin to answer their question?)Once you learn how to manage your time, you no longer subject yourself to that level of stress. Besides it being better for your health, you have a clearer picture of the demands on your time. You’re better able to estimate how long a given task will take you to complete, and you know you can meet the deadline.
- Free time is necessary. Everyone needs time to relax and unwind. Unfortunately, though, many of us don’t get enough of it. Between jobs, family responsibilities, errands, and upkeep on the house and the yard, most of us are hard-pressed to find even 10 minutes to sit and do nothing.Having good time management skills helps you find that time. When you’re busy, you’re getting more done. You accumulate extra time throughout your day that you can use later to relax, unwind, and prepare for a good night’s sleep.
- Self-discipline is valuable. When you practice good time management, you leave no room for procrastination. The better you get at it, the more self-discipline you learn. This is a valuable skill that will begin to impact other areas of your life where a lack of discipline has kept you from achieving a goal.
The positive cycle of good time management
Looking through the list above, it’s easy to see the multiplicative effect of time management. Good time management allows you to accomplish more in a shorter period of time, which leads to more free time, which lets you take advantage of learning opportunities, lowers your stress, and helps you focus, which leads to more career success. Each benefit of time management improves another aspect of your life. All you have to do is get the cycle started.