Forget all the complicated and sometimes confusing definitions you’ve heard in the past. Time management is actually very simple. It is the way you choose to spend your time.
Whether you realize it or not, you already do engage the process of time management. You simply can’t help it. If you are living and breathing, and make any move to do anything, you are applying a process in time management. In short, you are choosing what to do with your time.
What this means is that there is good time management and bad time management. When you choose to engage in productive or good time management, you are organizing the tasks or actions you want to accomplish into a logical and cohesive progression that will allow you to complete each and every task within an equitable time frame. At its best, this type of time management does not create stress or drive up your blood pressure. Instead, it actually makes the day run smoother, and empowers you a little more each time you can strike one action item off your list.
Good time management is a proactive process. You define what must be done within a given period of time, prioritize those action items and then develop a plan of action that will make it possible to successfully accomplish each one within the time allotted. With your plan laid out, you then take the initiative to start at the beginning and keep going until everything on your list is done.
By contrast, bad time management does not make the day pleasant at all. You are much more likely to feel constantly stressed out, as action items appear as if from nowhere. People are constantly demanding to know what a report was not completed or why there is no food in the cupboard.
Bad time management leaves you feeling powerless to do anything to improve the situation. The hopeless feeling continues to grow until you more or less shut down, deciding that those action items weren’t that important anyway. You put yourself into a state where you basically move through the day, never quite getting a handle on what is going on and only accomplishing something when pressured by outside forces to do so. At the end of the day, there are still many action items left to accomplish, leaving you a general feeling of having failed.
If you are still reading, then there is a good chance that you recognize a bit of yourself in both these scenarios. Most of us do tend to engage in both good and bad time management from time to time. The goal will be to rethink the way we apply time management principles so that we are exercising good time management more of the time and finding ourselves bogged down due to bad time management much less often.