What Poor Time Management is Truly Costing You

Last night, you spent a little too much time on Facebook, so you had to stay up late to finish prepping for the next day. When you finally did get to bed, you were so frazzled by all you had to get done that it took you forty-five minutes to fall asleep, despite being exhausted. Your alarm sounds, despite you feeling as though you’d JUST fallen asleep, so you hit the snooze button over and over. Suddenly you’re ten minutes behind schedule, there’s no time for breakfast, and you are C-R-A-N-K-Y!

Once again your boss notices you stroll in late. Your stomach sinks and you worry about your next performance review. You’re hungry and stressed and it’s hard to focus on your email in-box. You really need to eat something, so you go to the break room and get some chips out of the snack machine and a cup of black coffee. Ugh, you wish you could eat healthier…

You decide to work through lunch to impress your boss, but you miss hanging out with your coworkers. Later you find out they planned a get-together for later in the week, which they forgot to tell you about. Then, since you’re at your desk anyway, your boss gives you extra work. And so the cycle continues.

Everyone gets exactly 24 hours a day, not a minute more or less, no matter who you are. So how do some people manage to accomplish a lot more than others with the same number of hours—and with less stress, too? Effective time management!

What Is Effective Time Management?

Effective time management is set of guidelines or habits that you can use to make the absolute most of the limited amount of time you have. Having great time management strategies can make the difference between having a life filled with stress, confusion, late fees and disappointments, and one filled with friends, family, money and leisure.

Accomplishing More

Getting more done is the obvious benefit of time management. There’s probably no one out there who wouldn’t want to add a few more accomplishments to their life list, whether in the realm of work, hobbies, or family. The less time you waste, the more time for the important stuff. Similarly, if you use your hours more effectively, you’ll discover that you have more time to do what you want to do, instead of what you have to do.

Better Health

Stress, skimping on sleep, eating on the go and other characteristics of the terminally time-constrained are all very bad for your physical and mental well-being. Using your time well and handing in a report when it’s due leaves you feeling calmer, lets you get to bed on time and maybe even allows some time for working up a sweat at the gym.

Better Relationships

Everyone has one: the friend or relative is who reliably 20 minutes late to everything (lookin’ at you, Mom!) If you’re that person, you know that your relationships suffer. Friends stop asking you for coffee, your spouse gets annoyed, and your kids get a reputation for never being anywhere on time. If you’re up late finishing your work or spending weekends catching up, you miss valuable time with your family and friends, too.

More Opportunities

Effective time management can lead to opportunities in several different ways. A reputation for promptness is definitely an asset when annual review time rolls around—and you can be sure the person who never finishes projects on time is not going to be first in line for a promotion. Also, when you’re feeling hurried and stressed, you can develop tunnel vision and not even see a great opportunity when it’s staring you in the face. Lastly, when you develop a reputation for efficiency and getting things done, people will come to you with new opportunities.

Time & Money

It really is true that time is money. Wasted time translates into stress which translates into poorer job performance and possibly lost income. Furthermore, rushed work can mean jobs filled with expensive mistakes. A fast food meal eaten on the fly—because you’re late once again—is more expensive than a thoughtfully prepared bag lunch. If you’re more mindful of the ties between time and money, you’re less likely to waste either.

Free e-book on meal planning!

Strategies for Effective Time Management

You don’t necessarily need to hire a professional planner or a personal assistant to find ways to manage your time better (though you could…). There are a number of simple strategies you can use that will put you on the road to time management effectiveness.

Schedule an Hour Dedicated to Planning Each Week

Make an appointment with yourself to plan your coming week. Friday is a great day to do this if that’s an option, because then you have your whole weekend to enjoy life without stressing about Money. Personally, I do most of my planning/prep work on Sundays because that’s what works for my schedule. Whatever day you do it, you’ll want to think about your short-term and long-term goals and plan to make progress—even just a little—on each one every week. Make it pleasant for yourself, too: settle in with a nice cup of coffee, tea, whatever you fancy and listen to your favorite music while you plan these out. Soon you’ll find this planning session is something you look forward to doing versus something you have to do.

Track Your Energy

Everyone’s energy levels rise and fall throughout the day. Spend a day or two taking quick notes on when you feel clearest and most energized, and then plan your most difficult tasks for those times. Trying to do difficult tasks when you’re drained is a recipe for procrastination. You should also be sure to build in short rest breaks every hour or two. Use these times to get a breath of fresh air or take a quick walk. This will prevent the burnout that can happen after a few hours of uninterrupted concentration.

Take Advantage of Technology—But Don’t Overdo It

There are tons of calendar apps, note-taking programs, and organizational aids available for your phone and laptop. It can be tempting to try all the latest, hottest gizmos that promise to save you time and keep your stuff in order. However, they can also be a time suck as you have to relearn each new app and reenter your information. They can also scatter your focus. Limit what you use and don’t be afraid to go old school! You are MUCH more likely to remember something if you physically write it so try to balance between apps and physical to-do lists. For me, I use my Outlook calendar when it comes to scheduling clients but everything else is written out by hand and it makes such a difference.

Time management doesn’t have to be a dreadful, boring, annoying process. Once you acknowledge what time management is truly costing you in terms of money, stress, and lost joy, you will want to work out a plan that brings balance back to your life and I am always happy to help! In the meantime, I’d love to know…

Where do you struggle the most when it comes to time management? How are you currently tracking all that you need to do?

 

15 Comments

  • Rica@ Yoga Mat Monkey Reply

    Tracking my own energy has been an effective tool for me. As a work-from-home writer/editor, I find I do the best writing at night. For years I tried keeping normal office hours, but I failed to stay focused and on task. Now, I let my brain be the boss and I get far more done! Thanks for these helpful tips!

    • thriftyguardian Reply

      Absolutely! Good for you for figuring out what works best for YOU! 🙂 I too often find I do my best work at night.

    • Anna R Palmer Reply

      I love that you can listen to your body for this…it does send us so many signals. The trick is not to cover them up.

  • Rosemond Perdue Reply

    I work best at night too, so I now take a break for dinner and time with my daughter and then spent an hour or so doing work after she’s in bed. Great tips!

    • thriftyguardian Reply

      Thanks, Rosemond! I enjoy working during the day for a few hours (especially if there’s a cool breeze coming in through an open window!) but for the most part, my work has to be done at night.

  • Jessica Reply

    I need to read this at least once a week. My problem is I over schedule for myself. I like to stay busy but it causes me to become stressed and overwhelmed.

    • thriftyguardian Reply

      You’re aware overscheduling is a problem, now you just need to figure out how to help yourself strike a balance. For me, I work from the time I wake up until 8pm. From 8pm until 9/9:30, I’m not allowed to be on my phone or work at all. It’s my “me” time to take a breath, veg out, do whatever needs done to make sure I’m taking care of myself. If you constantly risk burnout, you’ll eventually stop being physically able to put out quality results in anything you do.

  • Bun Karyudo Reply

    I wake up feeling drowsy, but then my energy levels drop from there. Time management is never something I’ve been great at, but I take your point about adequate planning. Perhaps that’s the way to go. 🙂

    • thriftyguardian Reply

      A big part of it is mindset. It’s not easy at first, but like most habits, once you get into it, you stop noticing it’s something you HAVE to do and you just do it. 🙂

  • Anna R Palmer Reply

    I am an early bird. I enjoy everything more in the morning…work and play. The problem is that morning only comes once a day. So I spend afternoons and evenings spinning in circles.

    • thriftyguardian Reply

      I’m trying to learn to enjoy the mornings more, but it’s been rough thus far. If someone would tell my 14-month old that Mommy needs her sleep, that might help… 😉

  • Molly Stevens Reply

    This is terrific advice. I do well in some areas but really let social media suck valuable time from my day and need to have better boundaries. I like your idea of once/week planning. I do that now with weekly menus and it is so helpful to plan grocery lists and make each day more serene knowing what we are having for dinner. Thank you for the inspiration to do better!

  • Silly Mummy Reply

    I’m terrible! The more overwhelmed I feel, the less efficient I am and the worse it gets! Great advice and tips.

  • sue Reply

    Great advice and tips here. I like to think I have good time management but since I started blogging that damn FB and social media has almost taken over my life LOL:) My word for the year is BALANCE and that is what i’m trying to do. Have a great day. Pinned. Sue from Sizzling Towards Sixty.

    • thriftyguardian Reply

      Thanks, Sue!! It certainly is way too easy to get caught up in the social media part. Having a strict schedule for it as well as set time limits really helps me keep focused 🙂

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