Manage Your Time, Manage Your Life: 10 Simple but Effective Tips for Time Management
What is Time Management?
Time, unlike other resources such as money, is finite and cannot be gained; moreover, everyone has the same amount in a given day or week. Time is a funny thing- it inevitably passes whether we want it to or not, whether we are ready or not. While some people seem to have more time than others, they do not- they are simply using and managing their time in a more efficient and desirable way.
Time management is a commonly used term and essentially refers to a person’s ability to plan and execute short-and long-term tasks in order to efficiently utilize one’s time. Since success in all domains of life hinges on getting things done and getting where we need to go within given time frames, time management is clearly an important skill set for personal and professional success.
Consequences of Time Mismanagement
Some people intrinsically have a better handle on time and know how to prioritize, plan, and execute tasks to meet internal and external deadlines and demands while others struggle every day. Unfortunately, being chronically late and mismanaging one’s time invariably carries various negative consequences such as poor grades, job loss (or lack of promotion and success), and relationship failure. Since time management is essentially task-management, those who struggle with these skills also end up suffering by simply never getting to the things they want to get to, despite having the same amount of time as the rest of us. This is a sad state of affairs; we all work hard and deserve to maximize the fruits of our labors, yet time mismanagement frequently prevents people from being able to achieve their goals and fully enjoy their lives.
Managing one’s time is therefore essential for managing one’s life; I have yet to meet an adult who struggles with time management and timeliness but doesn’t struggle with other aspects of managing their lives (i.e. money, job/career, friends, family, and romantic relationships, maybe even health). Again, a successful life (in whatever way one defines success) requires an ability to realistically plan and execute tasks in an efficient and timely way.
While people who naturally struggle with time management may always have to actively work on these skills to achieve success, with purposeful practice via strategies and internal and external reinforcement, vast improvement can be made. Some of the best strategies are the simplest – as they say, you cannot reinvent the wheel! So find the ones that work for you and stick with them.
Strategies for Successful Time Management
1.Wear a timepiece (Obviously! Your phone does not count- it is not on your body and can’t always be easily glanced at)
2. Set alarms:
- Use multiple alarms if needed for various short and long-term tasks, as well as checkpoints and reminders
3. Make a schedule and stick to it…but know when to be flexible
- Create a calendar and block out the time you need to complete a given task. If you tend to run late or behind in finishing, know thyself and build in extra time!
- Flexibility is a must as life throws curveballs constantly- if one task or scheduled chunk of time gets interrupted, make sure you realistically look at when you can finish that task and reschedule time right away
4. Stay focused on the task at hand until it’s completed
- One problem I’ve observed with people who are chronically late and mismanage time is that they will “bounce” from task to task, never really finishing one but starting several
- This creates chaos and disorganization because several balls are now in the air, causing focus and efficiency to become lost
- Use checklists to physically mark off each task as it’s completed and don’t allow yourself to get sidetracked
5. Use task analysis
- This consists of breaking down larger tasks into smaller, manageable steps that can be done individually
- This allows us to complete a micro task and move on, rather than get mired down in the larger task which can cause us to lose focus and work inefficiently
- Ex. Instead of “write research paper” as the task, break this large process/action into several smaller ones.
- Again, this may seem obvious, but many people don’t break down these large projects into micro tasks, leaving them feeling overwhelmed with the large task and either send them into avoidance/procrastination
6. Keep a “Time Journal”
- This is like a food journal and requires one to honestly track and record their usage of time to maintain accountability and notice patterns
- (“Oh, I WAS 15 minutes late to that meeting…”)
- Identifying our patterns allows us to find solutions and strategies to overcome
- I.E. If you’re consistently 15 minutes late to meetings or events, start making your leave time 20 minutes earlier
7. Don’t over promise or overreach your ability to be timely
- Overestimate how much time it will take you to get somewhere or complete a project and set low expectations for those you are meeting. Better to be early than late!
8. Consider those around you
- This may sound like an odd strategy, but people who are chronically late often seem very focused on themselves and their own concept of time without really considering how social our world is and how hindered our ability to function becomes when we can’t seem to get things done and get where we need to be on time.
- By thinking about how one’s lateness affects family, friends, coworkers, etc… we may feel an additional layer of motivation to implement the strategies that will help us become more timely, thereby making those around us feel more valued, respected, and satisfied.
9. Use friends, family, and professionals as accountability
- Recognize enablers and ask them to instead keep you accountable
- Set consequences for yourself
- Heed natural, external consequences (“Oh, I missed hanging out with my family at the event because I was 45 minutes late, and that’s on me. Next time I need to be more timely and I’ll get what I want out of the situation- to spend time with the people I love”)
- This sounds simple and obvious, but many of us don’t make the explicit connection between our actions and outcomes, and metacognitive messages like this can help us repattern our behavior and reinforce positive behaviors
10. If you realize that you are behind and will run late for a meeting or deadline, be proactive and let people know in advance
- Lateness will still happen sometimes, even with the most effective strategies to mitigate time mismanagement.
- Everyone knows they are running late or will be unable to meet a deadline before it actually happens, so let people know as soon as you see this happening. On a personal level, this allows people to modify their plans and expectations, alleviating potential upset. In regards to professional or academic situations, providing the advance notice can actually give you some breathing room to get done what you need to, such as receiving an extension on a paper or project due date.
No one is a perfect time manager, but if you find yourself chronically and consistently misappropriating your time and running late for life, there is hope! By implementing these simple strategies, and reaching out to a coach for help if needed, we can all achieve more productive and happy lives.
Having Alex as a tutor was amazing. She is patient, understanding and very supportive in many ways. Alex not only helped our son with his writing and vocabulary, she helped him organize his thoughts and strengthen his study skills. I highly recommend Alex as a tutor.
She is patient, understanding and very supportive in many ways. Alex not only helped our son with his writing and vocabulary, she helped him organize his thoughts and strengthen his study skills. I highly recommend Alex as a tutor.
When there are so many great things that can be said about a person, it is hard to find the right words that truly satisfy that person’s character. I first began working with Alex when I was a freshman in high school. Not having success with previous tutors, I concluded that tutors simply are not for me. However, Alex showed me otherwise; her personalized teaching style, depth of knowledge, attentive manner, and even sense of humor is above any tutor I’ve ever encountered. Beyond the skills that make Alex an effective yet enjoyable tutor, she also provides insight and guidance to those who are struggling in certain areas of their life. I have sought Alex’s help with challenges both big and small, and she always steers me in the right direction while teaching me important life skills in the process. As I am now approaching my senior year, I am overwhelmed with feelings of confidence and excitement because I know that I will have Alex by my side.
I hired Alex to help me obtain a private school placement at the district’s expense for my 3rd grader, who is nonverbal and autistic. After hiring an ineffective attorney for the same purpose when my son was in first grade, Alex was able to accomplish this goal and got my son a placement in a specialized, private school program. While this endeavor took months of work, meetings, emails, and school visits to accomplish, my son is now in an appropriate program where he is able to learn and thrive. Additionally, Alex was able to get the school district to provide every single service, accommodation, and technology that I was requesting for my son. Alex is assertive, articulate, and knows the law and best educational practices. As such, she effectively and vociferously advocated on my son’s behalf and accomplished all of my goals. I highly recommend her to anyone in need of an advocate!
Alex is a highly skilled and knowledgeable writing teacher. Warm and nurturing. Reliable. Made learning meaningful, engaging and fun. Definitely recommend and will use again.
I must admit that I was absolutely fortunate when I stumbled upon Alex’s website during my internet search a year and a half ago. I was desperately looking for someone to proof read my papers and assist in guiding me throughout the pursuit of my doctorate degree. With the guidance, support, and constructive criticism from this very knowledgeable, insightful, and patient individual I received As in all my courses. I truly enjoyed working with Alex.
Alex is very well-versed and knowledgeable about many subjects. I have not been in school in over 20 years and now I am back to obtain my doctorate degree. Alex has helped me get organized and has assisted me with my APA citations, grammar, and word choice. My writing skills have improved significantly and every one of my papers has received an A. Alex has provided me with the skills I need to continue my studies. I am so lucky to have met Alex.
Amanda: I am a student of Alex’s. I would recommend Alex to other students because she pushes you, gives you confidence, and she has a great sense of humor. She turns around any of your negative feelings into positive ones so you can believe in yourself to succeed.
Doretta: I am Amanda’s mom. Alex has a tremendous amount of patience. She is creative, funny, and very knowledgeable of her material. Alex tutored my daughter to obtain a driving permit. This was a major challenge for Amanda. Aside from needing help to learn the material, Amanda also has severe test anxiety. Amanda also has had many many tutors throughout her life. Alex not only helped Amanda learn the material and prepare for the test, but also made her believe in herself and decreased her anxiety. She is truly an awesome teacher and person. I highly recommend her to any struggling student.
Alex is a hard working and extremely dedicated person. Not only is she able to help me better understand what I am studying but she also has a way of inspiring me to learn more. I have had many tutors and I know for a fact that Alex is by far the best. She pushes me to better myself and helps me become increasingly more interested in school. Alex helps me with whatever I need to improve on and is always the first and most excited to congratulate me on my accomplishments. After studying with Alex my grades have dramatically improved. This made it possible for me to get into a high honors English class after years of special Ed. Also with her help she made looking and applying for colleges an enjoyable experience. She is an amazing tutor and person and I can go on forever stating how much she has helped me become a confident student.
My daughter struggled with writing her college application essay. We were fortunate to meet Alex who not only helped our daughter select the appropriate subject matter and prepare a well-written essay, but minimized the stress and drama that comes with this process. Alex has great writing skills and she is very creative and extremely knowledgable about the admissions process. Alex is a pleasure to work with.
Alex helped me with my personal statements for graduate school. It was helpful to brainstorm ahead of time because it made our sessions more productive. However, we brainstormed more throughout our sessions. She made me feel confident in my writing and the writing process less stressful. She took notes as we talked and cares about making a connection with her students. I definitely recommend her assistance! It was such a pleasure to work with her and I will be sure to keep in contact with her for future assignments!
Alex has worked with my son for three months and the improvement we have seen has been tremendous. My son went from failing in math to exceeding his peers in class. He enjoys his sessions with Alex and as a matter of fact, looks forward to her coming to tutor him, he refers to it as “so much fun and interesting”. Alex provided our son with the necessary strategies to apply to solve math problems and we can see him applying those strategies in his homework assignments. Our son went from 60’s and 70’s to 95 in scores for his math tests. We are incredibly lucky and grateful to have found Alex. She has done wonders for our son and has been able to teach him in a manner where he understands and retains the information. She has far exceeded our expectations in so little time.
Alex has been working with our 2nd grade daughter for over a few months now, and she has had an amazing, positive impact on her. Alex is knowledgeable, hardworking, and extremely patient with our daughter who has been having some challenges reading. Alex was able to identify our daughter’s weaknesses and help provide the necessary strategies and techniques to help her improve her reading skills. Alex is an excellent tutor who my daughter says “makes reading fun”! She eagerly awaits and looks forward to her sessions with Alex as Alex never fails to have a clever game and fun worksheets for them to work on together. With Alex’s help, our daughter’s confidence has really grown, and her reading has significantly improved –she will actually read aloud now! We are so grateful to have found Alex – she has truly been able to teach our daughter in ways that she can understand and learn. We can’t thank Alex enough for all her hard work, and would highly recommend her. If you’re looking for an intelligent, dedicated and incredibly responsive tutor, look no further!
Alex is an inspiring tutor, full of enthusiasm and knowledge. Her lessons are always personalized and tailored specifically to my daughter’s needs. My 5th grade daughter always looks forward to meeting with Alex, as Alex always includes activities and games that make learning fun for her. I noticed her increase in confidence and it showed through her improvement in grades. Dedicated, professional, reliable – what more could you ask for! I would highly recommend Alex without any hesitation. Thank you, Alex!
Alex worked with me very diligently and helped me with several college supplemental essays. Alex knew exactly what college admissions officers were looking for which helped me include critical information in my essays. Also, I was able to engage in conversation with Alex about how to go about revising my essays. She approaches the essay sentence by sentence and makes sure that the essential question: “so what?” is always answered within the writing. I recommend Alex as a tutor for anyone in need of help for any piece of writing.
I hired Alex as a tutor and an advocate to help me prepare and receive accommodations for an NASM personal training exam. Alex was critical in helping me successfully study and prepare for the test by teaching me effective study skills and test-taking strategies. Alex was able to get NASM to provide me the full extent of accommodations that I was legally entitled to. She also made sure that the reader for my test was competent and prepared by personally escorting me to the testing center to make sure that they were following the appropriate procedures. I am extremely thankful to Alex for her dedication to my success and for helping me pass the exam.
Alex is well prepared and detail-oriented and works hard during the sessions to make sure my son understands what she is working on with him.
My adult brother has been working with Alex for the past few months. She is amazing! I have never known someone in this profession to be so patient, insightful and so good at breaking down challenges into pieces of a puzzle in order to find the best possible solution.
Alex was able to help me improve my study and test-taking skills and I’m so glad I hired her! I am a nursing student in a competitive program and I felt lost given the vast amount of material that I had to study. Alex helped me use recall strategies like mnemonics to remember difficult terminology for exams. She was also helpful in teaching me metacognitive strategies for focus and self-monitoring during testing. I am especially grateful to Alex for helping me navigate through the difficult “red tape” of my program. She taught me effective self-advocacy techniques so that I was able to attain the outcome I was seeking by being assertive about my rights. I am now much more confident about going into my next semester of school and feel like I have the necessary skills to succeed.