Have you ever wondered about the importance of time management?
Are you interested in honing your time management skills?
Time management is constantly talked about in today’s fast-paced world, so it’s no surprise that sooner or later one begins to wonder about the sheer point of it all…
But, you just can’t seem to put your finger on why you should even bother to improve your time management skills.
Rest assured, time management DOES matter.
In this post, I offer seven compelling reasons as to the importance of time management in your life.
Your stage in life doesn’t matter: you could be a young student, working adult, retiree, or even somewhere in between.
What does matter, however, is 1) you are learning to recognize why time management is so critically important, and 2) you are continually striving to be a better manager of your time, each and every day.
Get ready for an interesting ride down the path of time management.
Here we go!
The Importance of Time Management…
It gives you freedom.
Wait a minute…how can time management skills give you freedom? Shouldn’t it be the other way around? The truth is, having top-notch time management skills allows you to have more flexibility. Here’s how it works..
When your schedule is under control, it means that you’ve consciously compartmentalized your appointments, meetings, activities, and events in your calendar. You understand how much time each item will take, how each of those pieces fit together as a whole, and have made the necessary arrangements for each.
You have more freedom in your schedule because you’ve consciously designed your schedule. Things aren’t happening at random or at whim. You’re not habitually saying “yes,” to invitations, letting other people’s agendas dictate yours, or being boxed in by a booked-solid calendar. You can even schedule in time to do absolutely nothing, if you so choose.
In other words: instead of allowing your schedule to run your life, you are allowing yourself to run your schedule.
Now, contrast the above with different type of schedule. This one is chock full of events and activities, scheduled directly one after another, whose agendas do not make much sense to you, and whose arrangements have not been properly considered. You feel squeezed and confined. You feel as if you’re being held captive by the entries sitting in your calendar. That’s a big difference, isn’t it?
The next time you feel as if you could use some more freedom in your life, try creating some boundaries in your schedule. What appointments, meetings, activities, and events matter most? Have you made enough time to prepare for them, to be present in them, and to follow-up afterwards?
And in case you were wondering, setting aside ample time for play, relaxation, and rest does indeed count as setting boundaries.
It makes you less stressed.
Time management skills can help you stress less. How is this the case? It’s about addressing concerns and making careful arrangements now, to help yourself in future. This does require you to put in some time now to take care of everything, but the return on your investment is extremely valuable. What do you receive in return? Why, peace of mind!
When you have your scheduling ducks in a row, you’re not worried about being overbooked or double-booked.
When you’ve allocated travel and preparation time, you’re not worried about arriving on time to that meeting across town.
When you’ve planned out a work schedule for a project, you’re not constantly looking at your calendar, wondering when that deadline will sneak up behind you.
Of course, this isn’t to say time management skills will guarantee smooth sailing at every single moment and hour. That’s completely unreasonable (we all know unexpected events arise in life). What you can do, however, is take the reins for all the items you do have control over.
Even taking baby steps towards a looming time management problem, such as dealing with a potential lateness, double-booking, or scheduling error, can make you feel more in control, and you guessed it, less stressed about the situation in general.
It helps you nurture your relationships.
If you are to satisfactorily live, work, and play with others in this world, you need to learn time management skills. In fact, honing your time management skills can help you nurture both your professional and personal relationships.
We’re all familiar with the intricate dance that takes place when it comes to scheduling a meeting with another party. A series of dates and times are proposed, followed by a series of back and forth discussions, and hopefully ending with an agreed-upon time slot.
In and of itself, this type of exchange not only shows your interest in the other person, but your dedication and time spent making the necessary arrangements. You are truly investing in your relationship with the other person.
The nurturing doesn’t just end there. When the agreed upon date and time arrives, you have one of two choices available to you. You can choose to be fully present in the moment and give your undivided attention to the other party. You’re choosing to make the most out of the energy spent organizing the meeting.
On the other hand, you can choose to be completely disconnected by constantly checking your email on your cellphone, looking off dreamily into the distance, or occupy your time worrying about an upcoming appointment.
Consider all of this the next time you’re putting off arranging a meeting with someone, considering cancelling a long-standing meeting, or not being present in a meeting. Are you going to chuck all of your hard energy and effort into building your relationship into the waste bin?
And if, for some reason, you aren’t spending enough time with the people you care about most in your life, maybe it’s time to take action. Send an email or make a phone call to arrange a meeting that strengthen and take your relationship to the next level.
It teaches you to respect yourself.
On the surface, time management and self-respect might seem like disparate subjects. The truth of the matter is that time management and self-respect are two sides of the same coin. When you practice time management in your daily routine, you are in fact showing respect for your own time and energy.
How can this be? Time management is not about attending every meeting, completing every single task, or dealing with every activity, that comes your way. Rather, time management requires you to be discerning as to how you will spend your time at any given moment.
Look at it this way: you can choose to spend your hours on goals, dreams, and pursuits, that excite you, interest you, and fill you with joy. You place your full energies towards respecting that which you want to be, do, and have in life.
Or, you can choose to haphazardly spend your hours on people, causes, or activities that sap your energy, fill you with boredom, or frustrate you to no end. Given a choice of these options, which would you choose? (I know which one I’d pick!)
Make a point to put your time first in your schedule. Now, this isn’t about abandoning your responsibilities, or being inconsiderate of others. Instead, it’s about setting aside time yourself during the day. This ensures you’ll have time to prepare your mind, body, and spirit for the day ahead, and for when the day comes to an end.
What activities will energize, excite, and make you feel like your time is important and precious? Why not set aside time in your calendar for them right now?
It prevents waste.
Wasted time is a bane in today’s world. It’s a downright shame too, because time is an ephemeral resource. You have to pay careful mindful of the passage of time.
Oddly enough, when people end up searching for more time in their lives, they often fail to consider those time-sucking activities or actions that are staring them right in the face.
Case in point? Calling a meeting at work when there’s no reason to hold a meeting, spending inordinate amounts of time on social media, traveling to a meeting that was double-booked, and so forth…
What’s more, time management waste comes in all sorts of shapes and forms. It can also morph and take the shape of:
- Financial waste: This can translate to the shelling out cold-hard cash, or wasting financial resources such as income, earnings, savings, late fees, interest, and the like.
- Energy waste: This can include wasting energy, such as electricity, or wasting energy in a workforce in terms of personnel work hours.
- Material waste: This can include wasting existing natural resources, or even physical resources found in a home, office, or school, such as a conference room, or office supplies.
Executed properly, time management skills can save people and organizations from having to consider, think about, or even deal with these wastes.
Just think about all the resources that could be saved if people spent more time thinking about time, and whether their actions would actually help or hurt people individually, or society as a whole?
It makes you memorable.
Have you ever wanted to stand out from the crowd? Do you want to make a lasting impression on an influential person in your life? Maybe you just want to put your best foot forward when it comes to impressing a teacher, instructor, friend, date, or family member?
Punctuality is one of the most powerful and least expensive ways of making a good impression on someone. Not only does arriving on time to appointments and meetings set you apart from everyone else, but it sets you up for success for today, tomorrow, and beyond.
Being punctual shows you are considerate and thoughtful of other people’s time and energy. There’s a good chance you will be perceived as someone who is more reliable, trustworthy, and perhaps even honest, than someone who is perpetually late. This goes a long way towards building and strengthening your personal and professional relationships with others.
Don’t believe me? Which of the following do you think would make a more positive impact overall?
- Turning in a work or school assignment hours before a deadline OR turning it in hours after a deadline
- Arriving 60 minute early to a job interview OR arriving 60 minute late
- Showing up 15 minutes early for a coffee date with a friend OR showing up 15 minutes late
If you want to make a great impression on someone, then work on your punctuality skills.
This can include calculating how long you’ll actually need to get ready for your appointment, setting aside ample travel time in your schedule, and preparing your personal and work belongings far in advance.
Additional skills include choosing not to work on in-depth tasks before an appointment, and refraining from taking of “one last thing” before heading off to your appointments.
It can be used in any facet of life.
A person who learns how to manage their time will have skills that will serve them well for the rest of their life. Time management is good for any season, any reason, and any mode of being.
Again, this isn’t about working a fast as you possibly can, being unbelievably rushed in your work, or being inconsiderate of others and their plans. Learning how to manage your time shows you not only how to plan, but how to live in the moment.
It’s about enjoying time spent with your family on a lazy, late summer, Saturday afternoon.
It’s about getting ready to hold a well-designed and prompt all-staff meeting at the office.
It’s about having an utterly relaxing vacation on a tropical beach.
It’s also about turning in that report on time, arriving on time to that doctor’s appointment, and going with the flow when an emergency or urgent item comes up.
When you learn how to manage your time, you will find that time management skills are 100% transferable. They can be used for pretty much any situation in life.
That’s a good a reason as any to invest time and energy into learning how to better manage your time and energy, now isn’t it?
How about you? What do you value the most when it comes to time management? Can you think of any other key reasons as to the importance of time management? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!
For even more time management help, check out The Order Expert’s Guide to Time Management, a self-guided eWorkbook designed to help you master basic time management skills.
If you’re motivated and ready to take your time management skills to the next level, learn more about our time management coaching.