There was a time when I thought that people were either born organized, or they weren’t. That good time management was an innate talent. Some people had it, some didn’t.
I went through life using whatever limited skills I thought I was born with, sometimes doing ok, sometimes not so much.
But then, I started a bridal business, where being organized is vital to survival. You can’t mess up a bride’s order, or your reputation is finished. I was fortunate enough to work with people who had excellent time management skills. I did workshops, I tried out a bunch of tools, and I started to learn. I realized that you could develop the ability to manage yourself better.
And that was the key – it wasn’t about managing time, it was about managing myself.
I didn’t realize at that point that I would end up teaching people how to get better at time management. But in a quest to simplify things for myself as much as possible so I could realistically do these things on a day-to-day basis (if you over-complicate anything for me, I’m done with it), I came up with some pretty foolproof strategies. I realized, if I can do it, anyone can, and that helping people do what I had done was incredibly rewarding for me.
But the main thing I learned, was that the perceived ‘hard work’ of learning time management skills, is far outweighed by the many benefits. Here are 10 benefits to get you started.
#1 You get more done. Well, duh. That’s the point, right? This might seem completely obvious, but yes, if you manage yourself well, you will achieve more. This is good for your career as well as your home life, AND for your sense of achievement.
#2 You have less stress. If you could remove all the stress you cause yourself every time you ride too close to a deadline, or forget an appointment, or are running late, or you feel overwhelmed, that would be pretty awesome, wouldn’t it? A few simple changes will impact your stress levels very positively.
#3 You use less effort. So if you’re thinking that all this means a bunch of hard work and effort forever, and it’s easier to stay where you are, think again. Granted, a degree of discipline is needed to develop some new good habits, but good time management tools actually take less effort than you use when you’re disorganized and spinning in circles.
#4 You will have more time. OK, technically you have the same amount of time you had before. There are only 24 hours in a day. But learn to use those 24 hours more efficiently, and you will free up time you’re currently wasting.
#5 You improve your reputation. Having a reputation for being reliable is worth more than gold. You can have all the talent in the world, but if you are unreliable, if you miss deadlines, forget things you have committed to, or don’t show up for appointments, your reputation ends up in tatters, professionally and personally. Good time management will preserve and protect your reputation.
#6 You will reach your goals. Many people with great time management skills will also have a greater likelihood of reaching their goals. Why? They have figured out how to set deadlines they can hit, and they know how to make consistent progress towards them, instead of waiting till they ‘have time’ to work on it.
#7 You become a better leader. Learning to delegate effectively is a huge part of good time management. When you delegate, not only do you free up your own time, but also you help motivate your people – being given responsibility is a huge motivator.
#8 You will be less tired. Good time management means packing yourself. Rushing at the last minute is exhausting, whether you are always running late for things, or are struggling to hit a deadline. But if you are pacing yourself, you are working sustainably. You will have more energy, more of the time.
#9 You’ll feel in control. When you are in control of your time, you’re really in control of yourself. If your time management skills are underdeveloped, you are being controlled by your environment, by other people, or by whichever dog is barking the loudest. Feeling out of control is exhausting, stressful, and leaves you feeling like you are being pulled in too many directions. Take control again with a few simple changes!
#10 You have a sense of your priorities. People who manage themselves and their time poorly often get caught up in the urgent, and never get to the really important tasks that would move them forwards in work or life. Those who have developed their time management skills are more likely to have a sense of what’s important all the time. More significantly, they’ll be working on the important and non-urgent tasks alongside the more urgent things they have to deal with.
Arguably, investing in learning time management has served me better in life and in my career than learning anything else. Being good at whatever the main part of your job is will only take you so far. If you want to advance as far as possible, whether you work for yourself or for someone else, you need to develop good time management skills.
Otherwise, the biggest obstacle in your way could be yourself.
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And do this free training: The Fastest Way to Beat Overwhelm to pick up a simple and powerful time management tip to get back on top of your workload.