Time management could be thought of as the key ingredient that determines whether you actually get things done or just have good intentions that ultimately go unfulfilled. But have you ever wondered why some people seem to have no trouble tackling their to-do lists while others frequently flounder?
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As it turns out, there are some specific characteristics that many people who manage their time especially well seem to possess. Once you’re aware of what they are, it will then be possible to adopt those traits as well as you can and begin learning how to use all the minutes, seconds and hours of the day wisely.
Remember, everyone gets the same amount of time each day. The difference lies with what people choose to do with the time they’ve been given.
1. They Stick To Their Values
Check out the website of almost any successful company today, and there’s a good chance you’ll find a mission statement there. Maybe it’s even written by a company leader who describes the various ethics, morals and personal values that go into the establishment’s operation.
A clear statement of those things is often a major factor that determines why people give their business to one company and not another. For example, if you are a very eco-conscious consumer, you’d arguably be more likely to support a company that has a tree-planting day that their employees can take part in each Saturday and works hard to curb emissions than a company that doesn’t mention anything about the environment in its mission statement.
Being conscious of values doesn’t just drive business. It also makes it easier for people to devote their time to things that really matter, which is a huge part of spending each day wisely. You may be especially compelled to get up a couple of hours early on a given day so you can get your duties started earlier, finish up sooner and use the remaining time to go help out at a community soup kitchen.
When you are both aware of what you value and believe, and take care to live out those ideals through actions, better time management could become a natural part of your routine because you recognize it’s necessary to allow you to make a positive mark on the world.
2. They Work Purposefully
If you feel that the things you’re trying to get done every day don’t really have any meaning, it will be really hard to manage your time in such a way for those tasks to get done. People who are time management experts tend to carry out their tasks with purpose.
Depending on the situation, it may feel almost impossible to find the purpose in what you’re doing. Maybe you’re stuck in a very mundane job and have dreams of doing something very different. If that’s the case, try to realize that no matter what role you play, there is purpose in it, even if the main purpose is just to teach you to be disciplined and not give up even when giving up seems preferable.
If necessary, reshape your perspective by remembering that any action you take can be purposeful if you go about things the right way and have the proper mindset. Also, even if it doesn’t seem like it, your diligence in getting tasks done when your motivation’s waning could one day catch the eye of someone who has the ability and desire to take you closer towards your ultimate goals.
3. They Know How To Delegate And/Or Decline Tasks
Time management can be especially tricky to master if you’re constantly swamped with too many tasks. You may be at work for eight hours every weekday, but if your supervisor has a habit of regularly requesting that you complete about nine-and-a-half hours of work within that time frame, you’ll always be struggling to catch up, even if your time management skills are already fairly well-developed.
That’s why delegating tasks is another thing people with good time management skills do frequently. If you’re naturally a proud person, it can feel excruciating and embarrassing to allow another person to do something you’d ordinarily take care of independently.
However, if people are willing to extend helping hands, it’s smart to take them up on their offers so you can focus on other tasks. Cross-training can be a helpful tool if you’d like colleagues to share some of the skill sets you already have and you’re ready to dispense your knowledge.
There may be instances where you have to decline tasks altogether. That means learning to firmly but politely say “no,” which can often be harder than delegation itself. When taking on a task simply isn’t feasible, try to clearly explain your reasons why that’s the case. Doing that is especially important if your job could be at stake for noncompliance.
4. They’re Great At Prioritizing Tasks
Failing to make and stick to priorities could be one of the major barriers between your current ways of spending time and your time management goals. People who are well-able to manage their time generally have a very thorough understanding of how important it is to prioritize things.
Some people get so caught up in trying to figure out how to even start tackling tasks that they waste a lot of time in the preliminary phases of getting stuff done. At the start of each day, try to rank the things you need to get done in order of importance.
Secondly, once you start on a task, you may find it best to stay wholly focused on it for a designated amount of time before moving onto something else. Although some people thrive while multitasking, others can get overwhelmed by the mere prospect of trying to do too many things at once, which makes prioritization fall by the wayside.
5. They Steer Clear Of Time-Wasting Activities
Many people don’t realize how many things they do each day that either don’t have much value or actively prevent them from getting tasks done. For example, some people might go on social media websites for specific reasons, but end up spending a much larger amount of time there than is necessary. People who have great time management skills are aware of so-called “time sinks” and often consistently work very hard to make sure they don’t devote too much attention to them. This requires a great deal of discipline, and if you’re trying to stop wasting time on certain things, it may be useful to have a trusted friend help you stay on track.
Although these time management traits aren’t the only ones worth mentioning, they’re some of the most obvious ones demonstrated by people who characteristically don’t waste time and use every available minute to be as productive as possible. Making positive changes in how you manage your time starts with the desire to make improvements. After that, use the guidance above and aim to make progress gradually rather than in frantic haste.