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Control your time or otherwise, it will.

Updated: Nov 18, 2020

Proper time management can help you accomplish your weekly or monthly goals and avoid possible depression from mismanagement of your time. You need to learn certain skills to control your time and adapt to productive behavior. Several research studies looked into effective skills and techniques to manage time.

Prerequisite skills for time management skills

There are tons of books or blogs to improve time management skills and put into practice with so many apps. However, it is very common when people can't start or half-way gives up the guidelines. According to the Harvard Business Review, when starting to implement time management skills, people ought to have foundational skills that help them persevere. Three base skills can help you create a productive environment and persist with controlling your time.

  • Awareness: thinking realistically about your time by understanding it is a limited resource.

  • Arrangement: designing and organizing your goals, plans, schedules, and tasks to effectively use time.

  • Adaptation: monitoring your use of time while performing activities, including adjusting to interruptions or changing priorities.

Mostly, people underestimate the importance of adaptation and try to focus on arrangement skills. Moreover, it may seem less significant to think about one's capabilities before setting goals and it is the lack of awareness skills. It will all cause the failure of effectively managing time.

How to develop these three skills?

Awareness skills

  • Know your priorities before crafting your aims from effective time management. Then, start with evaluating the borders of your abilities and reflect on them before moving on to the next skill.

  • Find out the time of the day you can be the most productive

  • Keep track of hours spent on each task and consider future returns from accomplishing them

  • Try to avoid spending too much time on a single task/project and assess its significance.

Arrangement skills

  • Use certain apps to keep track of your progress and through them prioritize your tasks. Suggestions: Google Calendar, Pomodoro, Focus To-Do.

  • Have an appointment with yourself to set goals

  • Have a talk with your friend who can tell you if your goals are realistic.

  • Be easy on yourself when the task is too impractical and lower your expectations.

Adaptation skills

  • Develop habits to reflect on your progress and use them on specific time slots like dinner or lunchtime.

  • Use or experiment with different time tracking apps unless you don't gain more than you devote.

  • Treat the reminders from apps seriously and avoid missing them.

  • Discourage yourself to use any device while you are completing a task. Avoid distractions.

Each skill is crucial to implement your time management skills. If you are a high school or college first-year student, you are most likely to look for arrangement and adaptation skills. Most students lack practical skills and perseverance when it comes to time management.

Awareness develops gradually as you start experimenting with various time management techniques and apps. Don't be overwhelmed by the number of techniques and keep searching for the best suitable one for you.

Three techniques that you can use to develop all of your three skills

Eisenhower matrix

As you set goals for a specific time like daily, weekly, and monthly, you need a technique to prioritize your tasks. Eisenhower matrix helps you craft them and create a corresponding calendar. While you fill the matrix, you can reflect on your capacity and then think about habits that can help you stick to your calendar.

Urgent and important tasks are your priority while not urgent and not important are the last things you need to complete. Important and not urgent things or vice versa depends on your potential and considering them you set deadlines. By this, you are developing your awareness skills. If you assign a time slot where you can practice your tracking habits, your adaptation skills evolve.

Eat that Frog

Although the technique sounds less exciting, the consequences of implementing it can be surprising. This method is pretty simple. Imagine you have three frogs and you have to eat them. Eat the ugliest one first then the second ugliest and then the least ugly one. The idea is to handle the biggest task first and then move to other tasks. With this technique, you can evaluate your tasks and complete them by their level of difficulty and how urgent it is. You will realize your progress

Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro technique is also straightforward since it focuses on a single task. Simple idea is that you have 25 minutes of task performance and a 5-minute break. According to researchers, participants perform better when Pomodoro is implemented rather than working without breaks. It also helps you stay away from distractions and completely concentrate on your task.

Now you know how you can persist on following your calendar and effectively managing your time. You know what kind of foundational skills needed for time management and how to develop them. You can now put your knowledge into practice and achieve your goals.

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