Did you ever have a class in school that made you write an essay about why time management is important?
Back then, the answer seemed so simple and straightforward. Time management is important so you can get more done in a day, right? If there are only 24 hours in a day, then how we spend them defines whether we are accomplishing all of the day's work.
But now as a business woman, entrepreneur, wife and new mom, I have a new outlook on (and appreciation for) the importance of time management. And yes, getting more done in a day becomes uber valuable, but it's the underlying reasons to the “stuff” we accomplish that is what really makes the difference.
So with such little time in a day, does it really make sense spending extra time to simply plan how to spend your time?
The answer is yes. Absolutely!
To truly understand why time management is important, we first need to understand WHAT is time management.
With an appreciation for the foundations of time management, we can then build strategies and structure around effective ways to improve our most valuable resource: time.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you find my content valuable and make a purchase through one of my links, I will make a commission at no additional cost to you, which helps me keep this blog going, so I can help you even more! I only recommend products I trust and/or use myself, and all opinions expressed are my own. Read full disclaimer here.
What is Time Management?
Sure, the title “time management” seems to speak for itself, right?
But at the core of it, what does it entail? And why are we trying to manage our days and nights based on a clock? Don't we have the next day, and the next, and so on?
True time management is about maximizing your waking hours to achieve the highest possible valuable productivity.
While it may sound a little robotic, the underlying meaning is more profound. Time management isn't just about “doing a lot.” It's about “valuable productivity.” Getting the things done with your time that are arguably the most valuable things you can accomplish in your day.
Time management isn't just about “doing a lot.” It's about valuable productivity.-The Professional Mom
If you applied time management to every hour of every day, it serves a greater purpose.
Knowing when and how to apply time management techniques is valuable.
Having great time management skills helps you get more done in less time. But, it is also the difference between working smarter and working harder.
If you are working smart and use your time efficiently, you can produce the same level of output in a shorter amount of time than simply “working hard.”
Think about your standard 9-5 job. Aren't there hours in the day that you feel like you are “working just to work?” Yet you likely often leave and wonder, “What did I even accomplish today?”
By focusing on just the deliverables that drive you towards your goal, you eliminate “time suck” projects.
What Time Management Is Not
As eluded to above, time management is not simply throwing everything on to a calendar. It's not cramming tasks into every minute of every day simply to feel “busy” or “accomplished.”
Instead, carefully planned priorities and intentional, focused tasks are key.
Time management isn't about staying awake longer so you have more hours in a day to get more done. There's no need to force yourself to stay awake for 20 out of your 24 hour day.
The point is to do more of what matters in the same amount of time. And yes – still get your sleep!
Lastly, time management is important – but not so you can become superwoman and handle all-the-things all alone!
By gaining awareness about your most valuable use of time, you can begin to delegate or outsource tasks that are low value but highly time consuming.
Why Time Management is Important For Success
One of the keys all successful people have in common is a good handle on their time management skills.
Even when “success” is defined differently by every individual, knowing how to reach your goals will always require an element of time management.
Because time is a finite resource and time flies so quickly, there should be time set aside every day that is intentionally used to build your version of success.
It doesn't matter whether success to you means swimming in a pool of money or having the happiest family of all time. Either way, your time is an integral factor to see it out.
To achieve success your way, you need to build habits, routines and consistency into your life. And that means setting aside dedicated, committed time on a daily basis.
Need to revamp your time management routines and refocus on what's important? Grab this freebie, delivered instantly to your inbox!
Why Time Management is important in the corporate world
In the corporate world, time is literally money.
Whether you are paid hourly or salaried, the more work you get done on shift, the more value you have created for your company. In a public company, this value is additionally passed down as value creation for the share holders, as well.
If you are client-facing (especially jobs like lawyers and consultants,) your time is directly costing your clients more money. They expect efficiency and high quality in a reasonably short amount of time.
Additionally, having a pile of work on your desk can make you “look busy.” While some may think that's a good thing, it can work against you. Your boss may take it as a signal that you take an inordinate amount of time to accomplish tasks as your other colleagues.
Ultimately, in the corporate world, the quality-efficiency balance is paramount as your maintain deadlines.
Why Time Management is Important for Entrepreneurs
All business ventures require focus and motivation with your “on-duty” hours, but entrepreneurship takes it to another level.
As a client-facing entrepreneur, you need a firm grasp of how long standard tasks take you so that you can underpromise and overdeliver your services. Plus, you need to factor in any family events or personal activities that might cut into your normal “work hours” since you don't report to a separate boss to hold you accountable.
These same factors play in to your level of professionalism and reputation in the industry. Being on time for meetings, calls and with your deadlines are vital to growing your business. And of course, a good reputation helps increase your word-of-mouth referrals and sales.
On a personal level, having time management skills as an entrepreneur is important so you're not only on time with your projects, but they retain a high quality of work.
Procrastination and last-minute efforts can lead to stress, pressure, cutting corners and sloppy work.
Focused, intentional work makes it faster to reach your goals.
Wasted time is a wasted opportunity!
Why Time Management is Important for Moms
It's pretty much common knowledge by now, but in case you haven't heard – moms are superheroes.
Parents have the most important job of all. And yet, it doesn't mean they get to bow out of all the other “stuff”. You know – the cooking, cleaning, bill paying, “keep a roof over your head” vitals.
For moms, work/life balance can be harder to define. Especially if you are a mompreneur.
Even if you manage to find time to schedule all of your work and family time into your week, there's more to it. It's important to be able to actively separate and shut down from work time once you have accomplished the top priorities of the day. When you are in family-time mode, that time should be focused and appreciated, as opposed to one other thing you “have to do.” Watching your kids play sports or perform at a recital shouldn't make you feel like you have to cram it onto a calendar. And you certainly don't want to be focusing on work in those few precious moments!
Another reason moms need to keep their time management skills sharp is to maintain time for our personal health. Self-care is easy to talk about but much harder to do when you put all of the other family members first.
But why are we only adding work meetings and doctor's appointments to our calendar like they are the only necessities?
Finding even 30 minutes in the day to block off and schedule as “mom time” can help recognize and celebrate “me time” more than just catching 5 minutes here are there to paint your nails or listen to your new favorite song.
Finally, mamas know this is a fact. Those kids are always watching you. Setting a good example with your lifestyle passes down to them. So by getting them to school on time and showing them how to take down time for yourself, they will learn these habits early and hopefully hold on to them as they grow up.
Ways to Improve Time Management Skills
Start by understanding where you are losing time and how you waste it throughout the day. Even those tiny chunks of time add up.
Use a tool like the time tracker included in my free workbook to log a full week of your activities. Include the honest truth about how much time you spent watching tv or scrolling through social media, and you will surely find a couple of hours that you can “get back” next week.
- Use a Time Management Workbook like my free Get Focused toolkit! Also try time scheduling based on:
- Time Management Priority Matrix
- Time Blocking
- Pomodoro technique
- Get Organized – including your environment and workspace
- Cut off distractions (phone apps, email apps, headphones)
- Schedule your break times
Mom Has The Last Word
My favorite tip for time management is to goal plan in advance. This helps to stay focused on the overall purpose of each project, no matter the topic.
By setting SMART Goals for yourself, both personally and professionally, you create structure around how you should be spending your time.
Even if you think you know your goal well, make a point to write it down somewhere you can look at daily. It will help to refresh that level of motivation when the focus is not kicking in for the day. And as always… reward yourself and all of your achievements along the way!