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How to achieve your time management goals

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The one thing about time is that we all get the same amount; no matter how rich and successful you are, you can never buy extra time in your day.

The key is to feel like you have more time and the only way to do this is to manage your time more effectively.

Effective time management is so often the thing that can help you achieve your goals in and outside of work. However, for many of us picking a time management system that works for us is hard, especially when we are prone to procrastination, unable to prioritise, or have a tendency towards laziness.

So, how can you easily achieve your time management goals?

  • Understand how you currently spend your time: before you can become more effective with your time, you first need to understand where you currently spend, or waste your time.

    It does take some initial effort; start by tracking your time for one week at work and consider how you spend your time. What are you doing? Where is the majority of your time being spent? What did you accomplish? Was any of this time wasted? Was it well spent?

    At the end of the week, tally up all the numbers and observe where you spent your time. This way, you will have a baseline for your endeavours moving forward

  • Know your goals: evidence shows that how you set your goals is key. Ineffective goal setting will often leave you missing the mark you desire.

    All goals should be SMART goals, a system that allows you to focus and there are numerous templates you can use on the internet:

    S - specific, significant, stretching

    M - measurable, meaningful, motivational

    A - agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented

    R - realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented

    T - time-based, time-bound, timely, tangible, trackable

  • Prioritise: We all have to start somewhere and although it can seem totally overwhelming, start with the most important and daunting task first. 

  • Plan ahead: Once you have an idea of where your priorities are, the next step is to plan ahead. The time you spend thinking ahead and planning your activities will be time well spent. It takes time, but by making to-do lists you are effectively setting goals for the day and will find it easier to remain calm when things get busy. 

  • Set time limits for daily tasks: Certain daily tasks can consume your day if you allow them. We’ve all lost most the morning reading emails. However, if you set a time limit each day for these tasks and stick to it you can break the habit. If you assign a block of time rather than dealing with these things on demand, your schedule will stay more intact and organised throughout the day.

  • Learn to say no: If you have a deadline, something urgent to take care of, or need to prioritise your own work, it is completely OK to say no. Sometimes it is far more important to attend to what you absolutely need to be doing to move towards your own goals than to focus on the needs of others. Focus your efforts accordingly. You will never learn how to effectively manage your time if you never learn how to say no. 

  • Declutter and organise: Studies have shown when your environment is cluttered, the chaos restricts your ability to focus and derails us from tasks at hand. For this reason, keeping your workspace and home tidy should be of the utmost priority when managing your time. When we lose focus, we lose time. Take a few minutes each day to tidy your space as it will allow your mind to focus on the task at hand.

Fostering effective time management skills will not only make your time seem more abundant, but you will most likely hit your overall goals with greater ease. Keep in mind that managing your time with greater precision will most likely not happen overnight. These are the type of skills that you will need to hone over time, until they become more second nature. But, with practice, you will make greater strides and hit your goals if you incorporate effective time