What Is Time Management (And Why Do You Need It)?

When I think of time management I think of companies with big shot managers, whose job is to make sure that all projects finish on time. I guess that is really what time management is about, but it does not only apply to companies and managers. Time management is also a good skill that can be used by everyone: it can be beneficial to students, stay at home parents, work from home parents, parents with out of the home jobs or even people who aren’t parents. But what is time management exactly?

What is time management?

Time management is all about how to work more efficiently and be more productive. The idea is to systematically plan and organize tasks in order to get more done in less time. This can be true at work, but also at home and for studying.

Who needs time management?

Everyone can benefit from good time management, but I think it’s especially important for people who have lots of responsibility or people who feel overwhelmed by all the things they need to get done. At work, you need to finish your report on time while dealing with all kinds of distractions that also needs to be dealt with. At home you need to remember what day to take out the trash, to sign the permission slips of your kids and schedule time to run to the grocery store because you’re running low on milk.

For me, it became clear that I need to manage my time better when I didn’t have time to spend with my family and when I did spend time with them all I could think about were all the things that I still need to do. I would also notice that I would forget stuff: like running out to the store at night because I totally forgot to get diapers. And worse of all I would take my work home because I didn’t finish it during the day.

A calendar is an important tool in time management
A calendar is an important tool in time management

What are the benefits of good time management?

There are several benefits that come with good time management. Here are a few that I’ve personally experienced:

  • Less stress
    When I finish my tasks on time I feel fulfilled and satisfied. I feel more in control of my life and prepared for that is coming. I also know that I’ve done what needs to be done, for now, so I don’t lay in bed at night thinking of all the things that I still need to do because I haven’t come around to doing it. There were also lots of times when I would have the feeling that I have forgotten something, but I can’t remember what it was. With good time management, this happens a lot less and when it does happen, it’s because I didn’t stick to my time management system.
  • More time
    If you have a good time management system in place then you’ll be able to finish your tasks on time and have more time for other things. More time for the family or for hobbies.
More free time!
More free time!
  • More opportunities
    Maybe you’ve noticed it at work that the person who gets the most opportunities is the one that has the most to do. I’ve noticed that the person who is the busiest gets the newest opportunities and new projects at work. That’s because they are the ones who get things done. It makes sense since if you are a boss you delegate the job to the one who gets it done.
  • Realize your goals
    Good time management makes it possible for you to realize your goals because you have a more structured approach to realizing your goals and a good system to keep track of those goals.
  • Fewer mistakes
    Once a good time management system is set up you’ll be able to finish a task without making mistakes or having to redo your work. It happens a lot that mistakes are made because some details are overlooked. With good time management also comes good organization and that prevents mistakes. The prevention of mistakes reduces time spending on redoing work and frees up more time.
  • These are just a handful of benefits that comes with good time management. You should check out the site of Time Management Ninjas for more benefits.

What are the conditions for good time management?

You can imagine that in order to be productive there are some conditions that have to be met. It is very hard to for example to be productive if every minute there is a new notification popping up on your screen from Facebook. That leads to distractions, you’ll spend a long time working on a task that shouldn’t take that long and in the worst case scenario, making lots of mistakes. Besides the obvious elimination of destruction there are more conditions that need to be in place. Here are just a handful:

Organized work space
Nicely organized work space

Organization
Having a good organization in place is key. I’ve noticed that I can find myself losing a lot of time just looking for the one email where I’ve corresponded with my boss about what needs to be done. Sometimes I end up not finding it and having to be embarrassed by sending a mail asking what it was that I had to do.
Besides mails files needs to be well organized so they can be found whenever it is necessary.

Say no
You can’t do it all and you shouldn’t have to. Saying no once in a while helps you protect your time and your sanity. In my experience saying yes all the time ended in me not having time to finish all my tasks or making mistakes in trying to finish it all.

Prioritization
Not all tasks are created equal. They all need to be done, but some are more urgent than others. Make sure you’re working on the most urgent tasks. It doesn’t make sense to be working on something that needs to be done next month while ignoring the tasks that needs to be done this week.

Prioritization of tasks
Prioritization of tasks

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For more conditions and for more in-depth information I suggest you have a look at this post. You should also check out this post where time management skills are explained and where you can download a free ebook with 62 productivity tips.

Time management for working mother

How does all this apply to a working mother? These points apply to the workplace but also when running a household. Managing your time well, can free up some time to spend with your family and also some time to relax. Having an organization in place without clutter in the home will make life so much easier. There is a place for everything and it should be clear to the whole household, so cleaning up will be more efficient.
When it comes to applying the conditions for effective time management in the home you can think for example of meal planning and organization. I’ve compiled a list of resources of amazing posts that has all the information you need to know about meal planning, organizing, and routines.

Make ahead meals
Make ahead meals are a great way to get more out of your time

The kitchn – They have a beginners guide to meal planning which is ideal for the beginner mealplanner.
Life as mom – This page is about freezer cooking. It has lots of information from recipes, to explanation about what can be frozen and how to store your food.
Savor and savvy – Here you can find 20 freezer-friendly breakfast that you can make ahead and have ready to go every morning. I love the simplicity of these recipes.
The pinning mamma – Did you know that you can even freeze peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? I didn’t. Here’s an awesome post explaining how to do it.
Taming twins – Sarah has some delicious ideas of make-ahead lunch that you can make to take to work.
What moms love – This post has all the organization tips you need to get out the door in the morning. I especially love the tip to make a picture of everything that goes in the kid’s activity bag so they can pack it themselves!
Because I Said So…baby – Toy rotation is a good way to save your sanity. It is a life saver when it comes to clutter. Here is a guide explaining how to set it up.
Little lifelong learners – Casey has answered the most frequent questions about toy rotation.
Happily ever mom – A command center is a good way to stay organized and to get everything planned. In this post, Katie explains how you can set up a command center that works for you.

I hope this post has given you some ideas on the benefits of time management and has given you some idea on how you can start implementing this in your daily life.

Xoxo,

Vivian

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