What is Time Management?

See also: Minimising Distractions and Time Wasters

In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, mastering the art of time management is the key to success. However, what exactly is time management, and how can honing communication skills enhance this critical aspect of our lives.

Time management is not just about ticking off tasks on a to-do list; it's a holistic approach to life. It involves juggling various responsibilities while maintaining a healthy work-life balance. To excel in time management, one must cultivate essential time management skills, and at the core of these skills lies effective communication with oneself and others.

How to manage time?

If you've ever struggled with time management skills or felt like you are always running out of time, you, my friend, have landed in the right place. In this article, I will share with you some secrets about time management skills and how to stay committed to them. Mastering time management skills involves two steps.

Step 1: Inner Communication

There's a famous quote about inner communication that goes like 'The Roots create the Fruits.' In this quote, the roots represent your inner communication, and the fruits symbolize your Time Management Skills. Time management is the key to success, and no matter how well-crafted your timetable is, if you are not committed to it— or, in other words, if you are not reminding yourself repeatedly that you must stick to that timetable—it won't work. This point is crucial, so read it again. Having good communication skills also helps you understand tasks better by asking the right questions, providing clarity about the task.

Step 2 : Time management skills that will help you stay accountable.

Once you've grasped the concept of step 1, any timetable can be effective. There are multiple tools and tricks to manage your time, and I'll mention a few in the following lines.

  1. Hourglass: The hourglass is an amazing way to dive into deep work. It not only helps you focus but also assists in staying accountable and effectively managing your time, eliminating the procrastination attacks that often disrupt effective time management skills.

  2. Pomodoro Timer: The Pomodoro Technique, developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s, is a valuable time management skill. The technique involves breaking down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. These intervals, known as "Pomodoros," take inspiration from the Italian word for tomato, as Cirillo used a tomato-shaped kitchen timer during its development.

How to manage time for students

As a student, you only need to learn one skill: understanding how long it really takes for you to do something. Our brains are pretty bad at estimating this, so pay attention to how long it truly takes. For example, 'going out with friends' not only includes the time spent together but also getting ready, coming back home, and taking a shower. Similarly, 'lunchtime' involves getting lunch and doing the dishes.

The advantage of time management is that when we time ourselves, we realize that we have more time than we thought, time that may have otherwise been wasted scrolling on social media – the arch-enemy of time management skills. Another advantage of time management is that we become very accountable for where our time is going. As our accountability enhances and our time management skills sharpen, this very skill becomes the key to our success.

After becoming accountable for our time, the next things we need are a calendar and a notebook. You can also use your phone; you don't need any fancy apps. Once you master the analog system of time management, you can mold it according to your advantages.

Now, there are three steps to time management skills based on Cal Newport's book 'How to Become a Straight-A Student.'

So, the three steps are:

  • Step 1: Whenever a new task shows up, capture it as soon as possible in your notebook (don't procrastinate this part).

  • Step 2: This step takes place the next day in the morning. In this step, you decide what needs to be done first and which tasks can wait.

  • Step 3: The third and final step is to move less important tasks to future dates.

Now, there are four rules to take full advantage of this time management skill.

Rule Number 1: It must demonstrate flexibility.

The reason for this is simple; as students, we're not family people with jobs or businesses. Our friends might hit us up for sudden plans, and it's important to accommodate those too. Keep your timetable flexible because if you make it too rigid, it will break too soon, and you might end up giving up on it. So, make sure it's flexible.

Rule Number 2: It needs to be easy to restart after a period of neglect.

The idea also comes from Cal Newport, where he explains that as humans, we're not perfect, and we're going to miss days, and that's totally fine.

Rule Number 3: It must reduce stress.

We do this by offloading all the things we need to remember onto our paper. Having obligations and deadlines floating around in your head is exhausting and makes it impossible for us to relax. This is another advantage of time management skills; it helps us relax so we can work better. As David Allen said, 'Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.' This is why we immediately want to record tasks or deadlines we get and offload them from our brains.

**Rule Number 4: It has to prioritize our tasks.

It's impossible to do everything. We cannot go to every party, join every society, and complete all assignments. Therefore, we have to pick and choose what's important to us.

The Skills You Need Guide to Personal Development

Further Reading from Skills You Need

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