We all have 24 hours in the day, but some of us feel we have no time while others seem to get everything done and still have time for fun and relaxation.
Poor time management can reduce productivity and contribute to many stress-related problems. If we underestimate the time it will take to complete tasks, we add unnecessary hassle to our day, throwing out our schedule for hours and even affecting the following day. The solution is to allocate sufficient time, plus a bit extra.
However, this is difficult for many of us. Those who are under pressure from tight deadlines, perfectionists, and procrastinators all have particular problems giving themselves enough time.
If you are in the habit of pushing yourself too hard because of unrealistic expectations and standards, time management skills can help avoid these hassles and work as a valuable stress management tool. The effort involved will be worth it for the sense of accomplishment. It will also help the quality of your sleep and relaxation, as important chores either will be done or will be allocated a dedicated time slot.
How Well Are You Managing Your Time?
To measure your current time management, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I have enough time to do the things I enjoy?
- Am I constantly rushing and often late?
- Do I often cancel enjoyable activities because I’m too busy?
- Do I feel there are not enough hours in the day?
- Do I get frustrated and impatient?
Your answers may highlight a need to look at how you allocate your time and whether it is working for you. A lack of balance can lead to burnout.
Are you content with the amount of time you spend in each of these areas?
- Work — paid or voluntary
- Home — time spent doing regular household tasks, maintenance or gardening
- Social — time with other people including children, friends and family
- Personal — time spent on hobbies, relaxation, exercise and sleep
- Private — time with partner
- “Me-time” — time alone thinking and reflecting
If you are unhappy with the amount of time you spend on any one area, think of ways to reallocate your time. Consider which activities you would like to spend more time on, those you want to cut back on, and how you could achieve this new balance: Perhaps you could reduce the amount of work you take home, or organize a more effective laundry system.
Keep a written record of your use of time for a week. At the end of the week you will have a much clearer idea of where your time goes.
Collingwood, J. (2007). How Time Management Can Work For You. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 11, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/how-time-management-can-work-for-you/0001092
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Jan 2013
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.