Easy Tips to Improve Time Management
Do you manage your time or does time manage you? Do you often feel that there are not enough hours in a day? Or are you someone who marches through the day like clock-work?
No matter where you are on the spectrum, everyone could find benefit in using tips to improve time management and increase productivity. Time management is a critical component of self-management skills.
In the corporate world, a person’s way of managing time is often linked to their work ethic. NLP recognises that people fall broadly into two categories - Through Time and In Time.
For Through Time people, time is stored externally. They see their time line in front of them. They love lists and schedules, are highly organised and dislike others being late. They complete tasks on time or even early and get impatient if things are delayed.
For In Time people, time is stored internally and the time is always NOW. They live from moment to moment. They are present. They hate lists or to be controlled by schedules or routine.
Such people struggle with being on time for meetings, keeping up with deadlines or even being punctual to work every morning. They tend to start tasks in the hope that they are able to multi-task but end up not completing everything.
Tips for improving time management are only a temporary fix. They need something more, to help them manage time efficiently in the long run. What would help them more would be an NLP for self-management course.
This type of course would help identify if they have a preference for Through Time or In Time. During one of my NLP practitioner courses, a participant who struggled with time management, discovered she was an In Time person.
It was a huge light bulb moment for her as it explained why she was so stressed out working in the corporate setting. Once she learned how to change her timeline between In Time and Through time, life became so much easier.
A combination of the two would allow you to enjoy the best of both worlds: utilise time to the fullest at work and forget about time when you’re on holiday.
In any case, I invite you to practise the following six tips for improving time management and see where you stand:
Always plan what you need to do for the day. In fact, make it more effective by setting aside 15 minutes every evening to plan for the following day.
Make your plan about the big picture and a list of accompanying tasks that require action. Don’t get too carried away and take hours. Remember, it’s about improving time management, not making the perfect plan.
Go through your list of tasks and rank the importance of each one in relation to your goals. This ensures that your tasks are aligned to your goals. The completion of each task should take you closer to your goals.
Then look at the resources, such as manpower, time, funds etc. needed to complete each task. Learn how to prioritise by using a number of tools from books or courses that teach NLP for improving effectiveness.
Knowing when to delegate shows strength and maturity. It frees up time for the tasks which need your skills and personal touch. It’s an indication of good self-management skills and the best way to utilise time and manpower available for a certain task or project.
4. Overcome Procrastination
Procrastination is enemy number one to improving time management. Reaching for more snacks and doing trivial things before starting a task, are unhealthy signs you may recognise. Overcoming procrastination demonstrates strong self-management skills and these are easily picked up through an NLP for self-management course.
5. Do an Audit
Do an audit of how you spend time at the office. Is managing emails taking too much of your time? Are you attending too many unproductive meetings? Do you entertain everyone who stops by your office to chat?
Do you say NO when there’s too much on your plate? Are you taking too many long lunches? Are you attending to personal matters during work hours?
Reflect on these questions and be honest about how much time is wasted in each of these areas. Use NLP for improving effectiveness to learn how to tackle these issues.
6. Start Early
This tip for improving time management is the best leverage to give yourself a head start. You’ll be surprised how satisfying it can be to wake up just an hour earlier on week days.
Going over your plan for the day, having a leisurely breakfast or beating the rush hour traffic to get into the office early, are some ways to give yourself a good start to the day.
If you’re working from home you’ll enjoy the peace and quiet before the rest of the household wakes up. Imagine starting the day relaxed and in control instead of rushing around.
Of course, this means an early to bed night too. It might take some practise if you’re not an early riser but the benefits far outweigh that extra hour of snoozing.
Whatever tips for improving time management you follow, it’s best to first identify your behaviour pattern in relation to time. This way you will not be self-sabotaging, despite your best efforts.
Time management is closely linked to productivity, see my article on Simple Tips to Improve Productivity. It is also one of the most important self-management skills you could cultivate.
Investing in time and effort to learn NLP for self-management or NLP for improving effectiveness would go a long way towards permanently changing your patterns with time, not only at work but in your personal life. Just imagine, being in control of your time instead of being at its mercy, and even boosting your productivity in the process!
Sylvia Fernandes is the Founder & CEO of VIA Frontiers. She is a Master Trainer of NLP who is specialised in corporate applications. She started her business in Sydney in 2002 and has been operating in the Asia Pacific Region ever since. She is currently based in Singapore. She is also the author of Bye Bye Black Cat -- Turn Your Luck Around and Realise Opportunities. Visit VIA Frontiers for more information.
Sylvia is a qualified Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) Master Trainer. She started her business in Sydney and is now based in Singapore.