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You’ve likely heard since childhood that time management is one of the key indicators in determining your professional and personal success.

But you might not have been told how to manage your time effectively.

Or perhaps you feel like you’re doing the best you can at managing your time, maybe even excelling in this skill. Yet still, you might have days in which you feel like you don’t have free time to spend as you’d like.

Been there. Been there so completely that I’ve even been late to my own events (yep, like my Sweet Sixteen that my parents dropped a lot of money on….seriously?)

Clearly, I needed to change this desperately. Especially if I wanted to continue to see myself grow personally and professionally.

What I’ve found from my own experience in improving my time management is that there are enough hours in the day…if you use them properly.

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Master the 5 Principles of Time Management

Before we delve into simple ways to improve your time management, let’s do a quick recap on why this area is so important to master for your personal and professional success & enjoyment.

Why is it important to manage your time?

  • If you don’t, you’ll likely be late.
    • Being late – whether or not you intend it to – looks rude.
  • If you don’t manage your time wisely, you’ll miss out on great opportunities and memories.
  • If you’re used to running late, you’re also used to the feeling of stress. Stress is no good for your soul.
  • Managing your time wisely enables you take on more responsibility with less overall exertion and effort.
  • By assigning and scheduling tasks in a way that allows you to really relax when the work is over and really apply yourself when it’s time to work, you will experience more balance in your life. (AKA you’ll enjoy your life more.)
  • You have more time to do everything you want to do; to check things off or add things to your bucket list.

I knew it was time to change how I managed my time when…

I found myself consecutively climbing into bed alert, yet exhausted, working later than I should have, worried about not getting enough sleep for the day ahead, convinced that I likely did too many different things, and yet not enough of what was important, feeling that I could’ve done more. The list goes on, which is why I’m a big fan of meditation…

(It’s important to remember that you don’t necessarily need to do more to be better at time management; often, the key is to actually to do less, more strategically.)

I also started getting really sick of rushing.

Because rushing leads to a more stressful day – no matter how many good things happen during it.

Plus, I really wanted to figure out how some people that manage so much still seem to have so much free time to spend at their leisure or engage in new endeavors.

^I feel like you’ve probably wanted to figure this out, too.

So, I started applying these 5 simple time management principles, which I’ve begun to share with you below. 

Really, I just made tiny shifts in my schedule.

And guess what? So far, there have been tons of perks, like…

I’m no longer going to bed feeling that I could’ve planned my day better.

I’m enjoying the additional time I have.

I’m working better and smarter. I’m socializing more. I don’t feel rushed when I embark on my workout.

The list goes on…but the bottom line is, these Time Management tactics help. At least they did for me, so it is my sincere hope and conjecture that they will also work for you. Whether they do or they don’t — don’t forget to tell me in the comments below!

5 Simple Principles of Time Management

 1. Prioritize

I’m sure this one’s no surprise to you, so the fact that it’s one of the most important elements of effective time management shouldn’t be either. But…

How do you effectively prioritize?

In a journal (it can be a reusable from when you were 12, that’s more sustainable, anyway…), try to find a blank page and:

  • Write how you feel about how you are managing your time, as in what areas you could improve upon and what areas you are excelling in.
  • Write for what / whom you’d like to have more time.

and then

  • Create a list of all your tasks for the week.
  • Choose and circle 10 tasks that you consider to be more important and timely than others.
  • Estimate the amount of time it takes to complete each task and then, the average time it takes to complete each task.
  • Pair tasks according to the average time it takes to complete each task.
  • Assign yourself two tasks a day.
  • Promise yourself that you will complete these two priority tasks before any of the others. (And that you will reward yourself in some small way after completing these two tasks…)
  • Refer back to your original list of priorities after your tasks are completed. Assign tasks in a way that gives you ample extra time for any pop-up meetings or tasks, but also: ‘you time,’ family and friend time, exercise, eating/cooking and relaxation.

After two weeks, refer back to your journal and write about your experience. Has your time management improved? Have you had more time to enjoy yourself or spend at your leisure? Were you able to spontaneously commit to plans because you had more time? Were you less stressed? What other areas could you improve on with regard to your time management skills? How will you spend your next big chunk of free time? On vacation, possibly?

Click here to finish reading the 5 Key Principles for Time Management success, including my personal lessons on learning how to say, ‘no,’ It’s hard, I know.

xo, Christina Lee @therealchristinalee, Founder of The Clean Method

Find The Clean Method on Instagram @thecleanmethod

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