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Time management is an essential part of planning for success. Use the five steps in this lesson to be more effective in time management and to learn how to create an effective schedule.

Definition of Time Management

We all have the same 24 hours a day. Why are some people so productive while others seem to let time slip away without accomplishing much during their day? It all starts with time management.

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Time management is setting priorities and scheduling activities to help you make the best use of your time. By managing your time, you can make progress toward your goals and achieve greater success.Time management doesn’t happen automatically.

It takes focus and effort. We are going to take a look at five steps that can help you make time management into a reality.Let’s get started.

Steps of Time Management

Step One: Make Planning a Priority

Make a commitment to yourself to plan your time every day. It only takes a few minutes but makes a drastic difference in how productive you are. Hold yourself accountable to plan on a daily basis and stay focused on the activities that are important.

Step Two: Schedule the Most Important Things First

We all have activities that we enjoy doing and other activities that we try to avoid. When you plan your day, start your day doing the things that are most important. You have the most energy in the morning. Jump in and focus on the most vital activities before you have distractions and unexpected problems that could take you off course.It is also helpful to do the activities you don’t enjoy but are necessary first thing in the morning. If you can knock out the important activities that are most challenging right away, you will have the rest of the day to do other more enjoyable activities and won’t find excuses not to accomplish the challenging tasks.

Let’s imagine you are a sales person and have decided you need to spend one hour making prospecting calls each day. These calls are very important because they can help you find new customers and grow your sales. However, you don’t enjoy making cold calls and can easily become sidetracked. Knowing this activity is one of the most important things you can do to improve your sales, you commit to making the calls as soon as you start your work day.

Step Three: Add a Little Time Between Activities

Scheduling your time too tightly can cause stress and result in you being late to many of your commitments. If you think a meeting will end at 10:00 am but know your work meeting often runs over five or ten minutes, don’t schedule another appointment at 10:00 am. Build a little cushion to allow you to finish the first meeting and still be on time for the next commitment.

One area that many people struggle with is scheduling travel time between their events. If you are going from one location to another, plan extra time to account for traffic delays. Plan to arrive a few minutes early to give yourself a chance to prepare for the next engagement. If you arrive late or just on time, you may feel frazzled and not prepared. However, giving yourself a little ‘wiggle room’ can help you feel more calm, confident, and focused.

Step Four: Allow Flexibility for Unexpected Needs

Very rarely will a day go by that goes exactly as planned.

There will always be unexpected problems or changes to your schedule. If you schedule your day so tightly that every minute is accounted for, there is no room to handle last-minute issues. Keep some flexibility in your plan to allow for problems that may need your time and attention.

Step Five: Make a List Of Priorities for the Following Day

Do yourself a favor and make a quick list of priorities for the following day before ending your work day.

When you are in the mental space of work activities, the things that need to be done the next day are on the top of your mind. By making a list of what needs to be done the next day, you are setting yourself off for a faster start the next day. You can review your list the next morning and put the activities on your schedule, getting the most important items done first.

Lesson Summary

Planning to plan is a vital part of creating a schedule.

Take a few minutes for time management, which involves setting priorities and scheduling activities to help you make the best use of your time. Time management is incredibly important because planning can really help out with your productivity. It helps you keep focused and it helps you get the hardest things done first.Use the five key steps to effectively organize your plan: make planning a priority, schedule the most important things first, allow time between activities, which can give you a nice cushion in case one activity runs long, be flexible with unexpected needs, and make a list of priorities for the following day.

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