Note: This was a guest post on A King's Castle, a great blog for…
It’s great. I’m sat here, casually writing blog posts, watching everyone else around me stressing, arguing and crying about their upcoming deadlines.
I’m not joking. It isn’t just stress and anxiety, it’s literally tears in some cases. These deadlines appear to be really affecting some people, causing them a great deal of unhappiness. Furthermore, I can guarantee that these people will look back on this period in five years time, and laugh.
But why are they so unhappy? They have everything going for them:
Why am I not affected the same way?
Oh yes, it’s that important. If you want to live a life of consistent happiness, and I know a lot of you apparently don’t (for some reason), then time management is huge.
In fact, I would argue that most causes of stress (which is a major contributor to unhappiness in the rat-race Western world) are due to really shocking time management skills. Admittedly, some people will stress regardless, mainly out of boredom – creating “problems” when there aren’t any. With these people, some exciting personal goals are required.
But for most people, time management is a vital skill to master.
So, how do we get good at managing our time?
Contrary to what a couple of my lecturers have stated to hundreds of students sat in a lecture theatre in the past, DO NOT TRY TO DO MULTIPLE PROJECTS AT ONCE.
I literally face-palmed when they advised everyone to get good at juggling several pieces of coursework. Despite their academic prowess, they have zero common sense, and evidently have zero experience when it comes to achieving multiple difficult goals over a 12 month period.
Focus on one (two at most) thing/s, and work away at that one thing until it is 100% complete. You get so much more done this way, as your brain is more efficient when it’s already focused on a particular area/type of work. If you try to do three things at once, your mind is constantly trying to adjust to that new thing. It’s very, very inefficient.
Even if your goals aren’t work-related, the same stuff applies. If you’re constantly switching from one thing to another, you will get nowhere with anything.
“B-B-But what if I have FIVE deadlines in TWO weeks!?!?! You don’t know what you’re talking about. You clearly don’t know what it’s like!”
When were these deadlines set? Today? Or six months ago?
See my point? You’ve had ages to work towards them (or at least lay the groundwork for them), now stop with the excuses.
Obviously, if you leave yourself three weeks to do five projects, you’ve already fucked it. But seeing as we’re not retards, I thought that I didn’t need to mention that – planning ahead is key.
Having a Timetable
Having a time management system is really, really helpful. Buy my book to see what I use.
It’s no good just having a timetable for your “work stuff”, you need one that integrates your personal life too. Younger guys are absolutely useless at time management in general, (girls are even worse!), but older guys are also inefficient and waste a lot of time.
Having a personal timetable that allows you to visually see a representation of where you are spending your time,(preferably colour-coded) allows you to constantly perform time audits on yourself, and see what works and what doesn’t. It helps you to trim the fat, so to speak.
It also helps you to avoid procrastination. This is huge:
Do your hardest work early in the day, when you have the most energy, and are most motivated to do work.
No, older guys. Scrolling through your emails, despite what traditional, corporatist societal programming will tell you, isn’t the best use of your time in the morning.
Younger guys, why on earth are you playing FIFA when you are technically at your peak productivity? Madness.
Allocate those early morning slots to do your most difficult tasks, and you won’t run into the following problems:
- Stressing about the upcoming deadline
- Worrying about the team meeting and delivering that presentation tomorrow to your boss
- Crying about your fast-approaching exams
Remember, I’m trying to help. You can be like the people above, or be happy and relaxed every day like me 🙂