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  • November 01, 2021 4 min read

    Do you wish you had more than just twenty four hours a day to get the majority, if not all, of the tasks in your to-do list ticked off? If so, then this article is timely.  

    We all want to know how we can do more in spite of the limited hours we have on a daily basis, and while there are many best practices we can enforce to ensure we’re as productive as we can possibly be, the steps we take to help us finish our most important tasks are only as effective as our time management skills. 

    Studies prove that there’s a positive impact associated with effectively managing our time. It not only lowers levels of stress and anxiety. When we know how to prioritize the time we have, it results in more free time to do the things that we enjoy which, according to Harvard Business Review, can also make us happier. 

    This is what we want to talk about in today’s article: we want to show you the positive effects of time management to our productivity and the quality of our lives, thus answering the question: why is it the best skill you will ever learn? 

     

    1. You’re able to finish tasks based on importance, not just urgency. 

    Here’s an undeniable truth: more often than not, when faced with a mountain of to-do’s, a lot of people choose to complete what’s urgent vs what’s important. This is called the “mere urgency” effect: in a 2018 study, participants opted to complete urgent tasks that paid less, as opposed to doing important tasks that paid a lot more, showing our tendency to “pay more attention to time when we feel like we have less of it.”

    Thankfully, there are many effective ways to sort out priorities, especially since important tasks are important for a reason: they’re personal, like updating a resume, and are detrimental to our happiness because it’s something that matters to us. They can also provide  a long-term benefit, like taking an online course to learn a new skill, which may be helpful in advancing our career, or can simply be a means to satisfy our innate desire to learn new things. 

    Case in point: a study was conducted with 46 full-time employees where they were divided into two groups: one worked as usual with no changes in their routine, while the other group was instructed to allot 2 hours each day, called “pro-time” for important, non-urgent tasks. Unsurprisingly, after six weeks, the “pro-time” group reported that they were 14% more effective with their time, were 9% less overwhelmed by work, and were 12% more likely to meet deadlines and get important tasks done much faster. They also felt happier in general, especially about work. 

    Learning how to prioritize what’s important is one effective way we can manage our time, because then we’re able to put what matters most first, which gives us satisfaction, makes us happy, and in turn, allows us to become more motivated and productive. Still looking for ways to find motivation and stay motivated? Here are three things to help you out! 

     

    2. You discover workarounds to “eliminate” distractions.

    There are many distractions in this age of connectivity, and the only way to “eliminate” them is by learning how to manage them enough that they remain in the background while we study and work. In a previous article on distractions, we discussed five ways to stay focused; knowing what our own personal distractions are can not only help us determine how to minimize its impact on our productivity—it can also aid in better time management. 

    For example: one way to get rid of distractions is by combining the many benefits of creating a routine and keeping a to-do list. However, instead of simply taking note of the tasks that need to be completed for the day, all sorted out by importance, urgency, and priority, one way to manage how we use our time is to include distractions as part of our schedule.

    Often, these are things we actually want to do: check social media or our personal emails, watch a Youtube video, etc. Instead of forcing ourselves not to do them, which is unrealistic, allotting break times so we can incorporate these activities in between tasks can help us from giving in to the temptation of doing them while we’re working. 

    By structuring our days in a manner that still allows us to do things that we enjoy, we can avoid burnout and keep interruptions to our productivity to a minimum, which means we can accomplish more and even have free time to do what we love. 

     

    3. You’ll learn how to work with the time you have without feeling overwhelmed.

    When it comes to time management, it’s not about dedicating long hours to accomplish work; instead, it’s maximizing the hours we already have so that we’re still productive, even without overtime. Sounds like a pipedream? It’s not! No matter how many things there are in your to-do list, if you manage your time correctly, then there’s no reason to feel like we don’t have enough time, which may overwhelm us into inaction as a result. 

    In one of our articles on how to keep calm and carry on, especially when feeling overwhelmed by everything we have to do, we highlight the importance of priorities, focus, and taking breaks. These are some factors that greatly impact time management and reduce stress induced by the crippling belief that the twenty four hours we have a day isn’t enough: knowing what’s important and being able to do them gives us a sense of purpose and accomplishment, while focusing on tasks when we need to helps us become more efficient. 

    Lastly, allotting break times can help us rest, relax, and breathe so that we can maintain the focus we need to continue being productive.

     

    Conclusion

    Time management is more than just time; it’s also about mindfulness. When we know what matters and are aware of what keeps us from being productive and efficient, it will be easier for us to figure out how to allot our precious time towards an activity or task.

    How well do you manage your own time? What steps did you take that worked out wonderfully for you? Let us know in the comments—we’d love to hear what you think! 

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