Learning Time Management: An Easy Guide

We’ve all heard the quote Time is Money, Time is Valuable but most of us rather spend our time thinking about what we would do and what will happen after we do it rather than doing it. Been there? Done that? I was no different. But this article would surely help you overcome that weakness and Manage your Time Effectively. 

First things First, Can Time-Management be Learned? With proper Reasoning, Goals, and Prioritization time-management can be learned as it is something that you develop and build. Through consistency, this skill can be learned and mastered to achieve greater results in life.

While most of the time we do basic things like writing it down, setting a time limit, and organizing your day. Those things are surely important and would provide some results but they don’t motivate you to stay consistent. What motivates you to consistent is the reasoning. But first, let us identify whether or not you need to learn time management.

Here’s How You Know You Need to Learn Time-Management

You might be wondering that we all need to learn time management. Why is this necessary? Yes, we all need it but this step provides us with why we need it. There is a couple of reason I have mentioned below that made me learn Time-Management.

  • You need to get more done – 

We all have finite time and this point is obvious if you are an overachiever or someone who has more responsibilities to take care of. You need to learn time-management. There are hundreds of things you wish you could do in your personal or professional life but your typical day looks like a mess where things never go the way you want to.

This as a result causes some major issues like missing critical opportunities in a career or business. Sometimes it even affects your personal life. 

I wish I had the time or I don’t have the time to do this. We’re all mostly living in this zone and what happens is the life slips away slowly and steadily. Therefore if you have a lot of points to prove someone in your life or office. You need to learn time-management.

  • Lack of Planning – 

We all miss out to deliver values to other people at some point in our lives and our greatest regret would be traced back to proper time-management. See, we live in uncertain times because of high competition. Be it your personal life or your professional life you need to plan things out to go in a certain direction to provide necessary values or service.

Lack of Planning applies to two categories of people, first group might have more things to do and fail to plan because of the tight schedule. The second group does not have a packed schedule but still wants to make the most of their time. In either case, you need to learn time-management. 

If you are someone who is struggling to plan your life or career. Then Time-management is a critical skill you need to learn. This would help you plan your long-term goals and short-term goals. 

  • Lack of Conscious Decisions

I back the point that says make mistakes and learn but that always comes with a disclaimer because whenever required we must be able to make conscious decisions. But if you are someone who has a history of poor decision making then time-management is the skill you must learn and master. 

What is the relationship between Time-management and decision-making? When we allocate our time poorly, we make poor decisions and as a result, it creates a loop.

A study was conducted by Core.ac.uk that gave a practical perspective that Time-Management with other factors positively affected the decision-making process. So if you’re struggling to make effective decisions. Time-management is crucial for you.

  • Low Productivity

We all have days where we just crawl through the day and wait to turn off that laptop. This is completely ok but if we are experiencing these blues frequently because of lack of productivity, we need to trace the issue. 

More often we can always trace the issue back to poor time management and lack of knowledge. Since we are talking about Time-management we would stick to it. 

Let me ask you this, what is productivity? It’s a way to measure how much work are we getting done within a certain time frame. It is considered that the more work we do within a certain time limit the more productive we are. 

Since productivity and time-management both work simultaneously it makes complete sense that to be more productive we need to learn time management.

4 Techniques that would improve your time-management drastically.

I would be talking about the steps to effective time-management but first I would like you to familiarize yourself with 4 techniques that I have personally used in some way or other related to tome-management. 

These are just the lists that I have used and got good results in terms of getting more done. However, there are more than 50 Time-Management techniques that you can explore. Let’s begin with the first one – 

  • Pomodoro Technique –

Popularized by Italian Entrepreneur Francesco Cirillo “The Pomodoro Technique” was developed in the early ’90s as a method to increase productivity. This technique was developed while he was still a student. This strategy is simple and easy to understand. 

I use to follow this technique when I was a college student because of its application that I will come to in a moment. However, Fast forward five years later I still use this technique in some areas of my professional life like making a report or creating presentation slides.

So, what is this technique? To explain in a simplistic way this technique consists of – 

  • Set a time for 25 minutes of distraction-free work with 5 minutes of ‘Pomodoro’ means the interval
  • This is divided into two segments of 25 minutes of work. 
  • During these 25 minutes, there should be no distraction of any sort like Notifications on your cell phone or Responding to anything that is not critical.
  • After 4 hours (100 Minutes) in total, there should be a longer break of 15-20 minutes as recommended by Francesco Cirillo. This would help you relax and gather the necessary energy back.

This in a nutshell is the entire Pomodoro technique. To keep a track of those 25 minutes You can get their trademark tomato timer. I use this YouTube video for this technique. This video plays for 25 minutes and has an alarm sound to remind you of the quick break.

What are the benefits of this technique? 

  • Improves your Focus
  • Learn to manage your expectation
  • Simple and Effective

What are the Drawbacks?

  • Not a great option for tasks that requires more time
  • Pareto Analysis

A frequently used tool that provides quality improvement to someone was developed by Vilfredo Pareto. This analysis came after his observations that 80% of the wealth of the people comes from 20% of the people. 

The other name that this analysis got was the 80/20 rule and the vital few, trivial many. I used this technique to identify where I spent most of the time. 

Here is a snapshot from my excel. 

Pareto Analysis Excel Sample (2)

If you check the image above, you would notice that I spent most of my time (80%) checking my phone (that was a lot) and on social media. I had installed two different apps for different purposes. One app to track my phone activity and the other to track how many times I opened social media (Specifically Instagram)

Therefore checking my phone and social media was the habit I wanted to avoid on priority as it would provide me with on average 3 hours of extra time even after cutting the usage in half. That is a lot. Imagine investing 3 hours into something that would provide you with more knowledge and expertise. 

The rest 20% can be taken up on priority later on but the first is to solve the 80% of the issue that would help me get more time. Where do you start? First, simply start by analyzing where you spent most of your time. To keep track of your activity simply look at your past behavior and improvise. For eg if you have a habit to gossip on the phone, simply check your call logs and identify how much time did you spend in the last week gossiping. 

After you’ve done it it is time to get on excel and create your Pareto Chart. You can create your chart within minutes using this Tutorial. Once your chart is made. Check the percentage axis and create a horizontal line that starts from 80% and connect it with the curve and draw the line down. The results on the left side of the line are 80% and the right side is 20%

What are its Benefits?

  • To understand where you spend most of your time
  • To take actions towards your drawbacks
  • RPM Method

RPM stands for Results, Purpose, and Massive Action Plans. If you are looking for a results-focused technique then the RPM method developed by Tony Robbins is the way to go. Tony Robbins like to call it a system of thinking rather than a Time Management system although it works great as a time management system. Whatever terminology you want to give the pain point of this technique is to find out the What and the Why behind what you’re doing. 

The two primary questions tony asks us to manage our life is What do I want? And why do I want it? There is a pretty insightful workbook that dives deeper into the technique. I use this technique daily. This method fuels me to do the task and do it with complete focus.

How do you use this?

The first step is to find what you’re after (results) – In this step, you would primarily define the results you wish to see. If you set your sight on the result you would likely be more focused as compared to not knowing what you want.

The second step is to figure out the why (purpose) – This step is crucial to provide you with emotional strength to carry out the task. On a difficult day when you just crawl your way to the end this step would bring more life to the process or task.

Finally, (Take actions) – Here you would jot down all the things that are crucial for you to get the desired results. This list may be bigger or smaller depending upon your tasks.

If you read the manual you would find that Tony talks about creating an RPM block. I rather like to use Evernote. This is more easy and fast. Simply sign up to Evernote and create a note that looks like this

RPM Snapshot Evernote (1)

What are the benefits of this technique?

  • Provides Emotional Strength to carry out a task
  • Keeps your focus intact
  • Provides the plan of actions that you can take to achieve your goal
  • Do it Now

Procrastination is the killer of time. You tend to waste more time on procrastination than any other thing. If not taken care of, Procrastination becomes a deadly habit that causes more damage than good. So why and when do you use this technique? We all think millions of times about doing a task rather than acting on it. The Do it Now technique as mentioned in Lifehack allows us to use the 2-Minute rule. 

The 2-Minute rule allows us to get started on the things that we should do. We all have the required skills and talents but we hesitate to start acting on them for some reason or the other. This technique usually works as a quick booster that pushes you to take action. 

Steps to Learn Time Management

The main reason behind covering the techniques first was to combine these famous techniques and create an ultimate step that can be taken to learn Time-Management. These are the exact steps I have been using and consciously or subconsciously followed by the successful people –

1. Identify your drawbacks

We all make ample choices and decisions throughout the day. The goal for this step is to identify where do we lack time management. What do we fail to manage? If we add up the things and check how much time we have waster the numbers would be pretty shocking. To identify what is the main source of your distraction you can use Pareto’s technique.

If you read my Pareto’s analysis you saw that I spent 6 hours a day doing something that was not necessary. You can use Pareto’s analysis to find out where you spend 80% of your time. 

2. Understand the results you’re after

As seen in tony robbins’ RPM method. We must set our eyes completely on the results that we’re after. Jumping from one deadline to another and project to project would just tire our minds and drain our energy. Setting our sights on the returns provides us with a better focus and motivation to keep going.

I have used Evernote to keep a track of things that provide us with great results.

3. Why do you want to do it?

To create a sense of meaning in what you do it is critical to have a well-defined purpose. The reasoning that you attach to your results would work as a motivating force that pushes you to accomplish the task that you set. 

To understand the why behind your results you must recall the moments when you felt truly connected with your task. Analyze what was different in that task that is missing and create a similar purpose.

4. Set Priorities

This next step is based on Tony Robbins RPM technique and Pareto’s Analysis. Prioritization is critical to Time-Management. Usually, people prioritize in two cases. The first case is either they want to get the most difficult task done first or either they want to first do the task that would get them closer to their results. 

This is subjective to what would work best for you. Most of us fail to identify the difference between urgency and importance. Whenever you are stuck in such a situation simply ask yourself whether urgent is important. After you have set your priorities it is time to move towards actions.

5. Take Critical Actions – 

In this step, we would be combining the RPM technique and the Do it now technique. How? When you jot down your results, purpose and have the list of actions to work on. It is only a matter of time when you start working on it. Most of us have the required skills and talent and still fail to start acting on our goals. So in such cases, we would be using the Do it now method as posted on Lifehack.

When you feel like you should be taking action but are still stuck with something then the 2-minute rule would prove as a savior. 

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Hey, y'all I'm Faisal!!👋

I’m SO excited you’re here!  I’m super passionate about improving ourselves and the daily challenges we Millennials go through, gives me hope to change our lives for good!

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