Time is a universal variable applicable and available to everyone equally. It is a deeply invaluable resource which is susceptible to misuse due to its priceless nature. However, time is an illusion. The more we feel we have it, the less of it we really have.

Time is finite; hence managing it appropriately is therefore the most important endeavor of any individual because it ultimately determines the quality of human labor and output. Lack of time awareness is directly proportional to ineffective time management. Did you know that however a disciplined and principled a person can be, improving time management skills is a continuous journey that has to be undertaken seriously?

This is why you need to remember that if the consciousness of time management is to be forsaken at any time, all the discipline of yesteryears can be forsaken in an instant.

Awareness Skill

Possessing good time awareness skill seems pretty simple on the face value but it isn’t really as simple as it seems. The average individual at some point battles with meeting deadlines on assignments, projects or attending meetings because the human nature is basically pleasure-seeking. It is natural to prefer to defer work till later than doing it immediately. For students especially, the effective utilization of time is quite important as procrastination of tasks will bring about significant stress which could affect the cognitive and behavioral functioning of the individual.

Having an effective time awareness consciousness among many other benefits helps the individual to gain control of his actions and also manage stress more effectively because the reality of life is that improper management of time is only going to lead to more problems for an individual which might eventually spiral out of control and lead to physical or mental breakdown either in the short or long run. Time management also is beneficial to managing the daily tasks and maintaining a high level of productivity either at school or at work. It simply helps the individual become more versatile and improve prime themselves for responsibility and productivity in every endeavor.

Is life easier when our time is well spent?

Although we have 24 possible hours in a day out of which a sizable part is to be spent sleeping in order to refresh and replenish the body, managing the remaining hours of the day helps to keep the doctors away because, in most cases, stress often emanate from lack of proper time management which then almost always bring about illness. Time is a trap that has caused significant damage in careers and several relationships in time past.

Having a problem with time management is a positive sign because it means that you have a lot of things competing for your attention which of course is better than being bored. However, mastering the use of time is quite easy and the steps to be followed are carefully outlined below.

Self-Management

Most times in the quest to improving our management of time, we often ignore the most important cause of poor time management which is ourselves. We adduce our inability to meet up with deadlines to other factors other than ourselves and this keep rendering our quest to improving time management ineffective. The first step to improving our management of time is to work on ourselves. Behavior is transient; our ineffectiveness in one aspect of life is more likely a reflection of our inefficiency in other aspects of life. Self-management is quite literally time management because as long as the individual is able to control his actions and interests, a more efficient time management level is inevitable.

Look introspectively at yourself and ensure to inject more organization into your daily activities. Ensure to have productive hours every day even when you do not have any assignment or official task to complete. You can read a book or do something meaningful that will increase your knowledge about other people and about your environment. Also in improving your self-management skills, it is imperative to manage your time and space well so as to reduce your stress levels.

Implementing all these will help anyone immediately improve their grasp and management of time.

Immediate Action

There is absolutely no better time to start a task than NOW. The tasks we put off till later will simply not go away, it will rather potentially grow bigger and more strenuous over time. Time management can be quite simple and it can be quite tasking depending on the approach adopted by the individual. However, it is always helpful to start an assignment immediately as soon as it was given, this will give the individual some respite in terms of stress that deferring the task is going to cost eventually. Most times when individuals are facing time management issues, the most likely action they often take is to draw a list of the activities in an order of preference and get them done based upon the importance of the tasks.

However, most times, this ends up being ineffective because it doesn’t really tackle the main issue with poor time management which is procrastination. In fact, drawing up a list of preference more or less encourages procrastination because it propagates a sense of responsibility which in turn stimulates a phantom sense of satisfaction which brings about docility.

For instance, a student issued an assignment on writing an essay of a thousand words to be submitted the following day merely drawing up the main arguments of the essay is not as effective as immediately commencing the writing of the introductory part of the essay. It can be argued that drawing up lists could be effective if it is religiously adhered to, the fact remains that it is better to start immediately and perhaps take a rest after commencing than drawing up a list with the hope of starting at a later time. The secret to mastering the proper use of time is to start immediately. One important benefit of immediate action is that it helps to conquer the error of misjudgment which is perhaps the biggest obstacle to be conquered in the quest to proper management of time.

It is easy to size up a task and hazard a timeframe through which it will be concluded and most times we end up miscalculating. When the assignment is commenced immediately, it is easier to make a more informed judgment on how long concluding the other parts of the task is likely to be.

While some may say, putting off tasks till later could help them de-clutter the mind and relaxing it could help improve its efficiency, eventually, relaxation just ends up prodding up the pleasure-seeking part of the mind as the relaxation will almost certainly go beyond the allocated time until there is insufficient time to complete the task at hand.

Avoid Distractions

Time waits for no one. There can be many possible reasons why we find it difficult to manage time efficiently but the most important reason is distractions most of which will come in the forms of phones, games and other forms of technology. Having your phone beside you when you should be focused on completing a task will inadvertently delay the time required to complete the task. In this age of social media, one notification from any of your social media accounts such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and others are enough to completely sway your interest and attention away from what you are doing and completely drain your motivation to return to the assignment in the nearest future.

This is the main issue with young people when it comes to mastering the use of time. If it is possible it is best to put away smartphones when a task is being done to avoid distractions and to encourage focus. Put all the gadgets away and concentrate on the task at hand and return to the gadgets when the task is completed. Most students, for instance, begins the semester with a strong plan to read every day or at least every week, but as they seek to act out their plan, a beep from friends derail it all until they end up focusing on their gadgets and postponing on the work that ought to be done.

Gadgets will always mess up any form of plan or list of preference drawn by an individual; this is why we must all strive to overcome our addiction to electronic gadgets if we must master time.

Develop a Coping Mechanism

Tasks always comes with pressures and this could induce stress. Due to the magnitude or the importance of the task at hand, the perfectionist tendency inherent in us might come to the fore and this could lead to stress which can cause mental and physical breakdown. This could manifest in form of migraine or discomfort in selected parts of the body. Whenever pressure begins to set in, stress is already on its way, hence it is helpful for the individual to know what to do to ease the pressure that might set it in the course of performing a task. When stress is prolonged, it eventually always has negative effects on the body and this is why it must be avoided at all cost. There are many ways to cope with pressure. Going for a walk is a helpful activity to engage in. Listening to music, playing a game or even taking a nap is also helpful as well.

Engaging in any of these is far better than just going on with the task even when stress is beginning to set in. The few minutes break will help relax the mind and position it to work faster when you eventually return to the task.

Reward Yourself

Evidently, we all work better when we are motivated. The concept of reward and punishment is integral to propagating or decreasing any form of behavior and that includes time awareness. In the quest for self-discipline, there must be a system of reward and punishment in operation whereby the individual can be rewarded when targets are met and punished when targets are unmet. This is quite necessary because the human nature naturally prefers pleasure and as such will always prefer to defer work that ought to be done now till much later. Mastering the body and motivating yourself to perform tasks as at when due is not always easy. This explains why it is incredibly easy to set tasks at some point like the beginning of a new year or the beginning of a semester but then fail in implementing the planned activities agreed upon by the individual. It is imperative to note that for rewards to be effective there must be deprivation.

Deprive yourself of pleasure such as watching TV, playing games, socializing with friends etc whenever you fail to meet a target you set for yourself in achieving a particular task. Likewise, whenever the target you set for completing an assignment or project has been met, you must set out to reward yourself, and this can come in the form of going to the cinema, drink with friends, gaming, or any other fun activity that gives you pleasure. Essentially, engage in an activity you really enjoy whenever you complete a task and ensure it is really an activity that is healthy!

Conclusively, there must be a consequence for any delay in meeting a target, and there must be a reward as well when the target has been met, when this is done consistently, it will engender a culture of discipline that will enhance time management in the long run.