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Learning Effective Time Management

Updated on January 13, 2014

Ever felt like there is not enough time in the day?

Have you ever wished there were more hours in the day?


It seems like these days, life gets busier and busier, and trying to manage work, family, kids and everything else we need to do, as well as finding some recreational time for yourself, becomes a balancing act, which at times collapses leaving a pile of undone tasks.

Learning how to use the time you have efficiently is a skill, and can take developing discipline. However it is worth the effort, and once mastered can help you get the most out of your day.

For some people, this might sound like an impossible dream, especially those with so much to do each day that they feel completely overwhelmed, even hopeless, at ever being able to get on top of things. However the dream can become a reality, and often by simply learning a few techniques that will assist you each day.

The first thing you have to understand is that everyone has the same amount of hours in the day, however some have learned how to get more out of their 24 hour day then others. Even if there were 25, or more, hours in each day, most of us would still feel there is not enough time. 24 is what we have, and we must learn to use them as efficiently as possible. The problem is not 'lack of hours in the day', but rather how we use the time that we have.


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Time waits for no one

It is interesting how we use so many phrases to reference time that we also use for money, however many of these phrases are misleading, and are in reality myths about time.

Consider these:

1) Saving Time

We save money, and talk about saving time. Maybe we did something in half the amount of time we thought it would take, so we say we 'saved time' however in reality, time cannot be 'saved'. If it could be, then we could deposit our 'time savings' into a time bank, and withdraw them at a later date.

Wouldn't that be nice? Save 2 hours today, and tomorrow you could withdraw those savings and turn your 24 hour day into a 26 hour one!

But as you can see, you cannot save time. You can use time efficiently, enabling you to get more out of the time that you have, but at the end of the day, those 24 hours will keep ticking past until they are gone for good.

2) Making Time

Maybe you have heard someone say how they 'made up so much time' by doing something a particular way.

Again, time cannot be made. We only have a certain amount of it each day, it cannot be made, duplicated, or multiplied.

3) Wasting Time

You can waste money, and unfortunately you can waste time. You can use an hour in such a way that you do not get out of that time what you could have, and it is wasted, gone for good.

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Managing Time

Another fallacy with regard to time is that we can manage it. The very title to this article implies we can, as we often refer to time management.

However the reality is no one is a manager over time. We cannot tell it to work slower or faster, we cannot direct it. Time keeps ticking, and will do as it pleases.

What we often refer to as time management would be better titled 'personal management'. It is about managing yourself, and how you use the time that you have. This is the key to learning how to efficiently get on top of the things you have to do each day. What we need is to learn how to manage ourselves and how we are handling the time that we have.

Self Discipline

The mere thought of self discipline will make some people run away. It is not something many of us want to hear, or learn about. It sounds like too much hard work!

Many think that self discipline is something you either have or you don't have. We know people that seem to naturally and easily be able to organise and discipline themselves, and we may even stand in envy of their apparent 'gift' However for most of us, this is not the case.

The good news is that we can all learn self discipline.

Yes, it may take some effort, however it is not out of reach, and if you realise the benefits of developing it, you will want it.

Self discipline is what makes the difference between having a dream of what you would like to do, and actually doing it. Many people have ideas and dreams, but few people put in the necessary effort and time to realise those dreams.

Self discipline involves being able to take control of yourself, and how you use your time. It is about being able to keep yourself doing something, even when you don't feel like doing it; or make yourself get up and do a task when you would rather be lazy and put it off for another day. It is about being in charge of yourself and is a vital part of personal management. It is essential if you want to learn how to get the most out of the time you have each day.

Now if you have not had any self discipline so far in life, then developing it can be an initial challenge, so you have to want what it offers. You need to see the benefits that having discipline in your life will bring to you.

Realise that self discipline is key to getting on top of all the different tasks you have to do each day. It is what will enable you to complete tasks, and even find you still have more time left over for other things.

Without self discipline, you are unlikely to ever get fit.

So many people want to exercise, so get all stirred up about going to the gym, however after a week or two they tail off and soon exercise becomes a thing of the past, something they keep meaning to get back to. However it also means you will never get fit

Without self discipline, you are unlikely to lose weight.

You can have all the dreams you want about getting slimmer, but if you cannot say no to chocolates and sweets every time you get a desire for them, you are unlikely to ever reach your dream. You can make lots of plans to eat healthier, but if you walk into the kitchen, and simply cannot motivate yourself to take the time to make the healthy food, instead of quickly grabbing something unhealthy, then you are unlikely to lose the weight you so desperately want to lose.

Important things you need to know and master

When it comes to time, some important things you need to know about and learn to do include the following:

1) establishing priorities

2) setting goals

3) learning to plan

4) identifying time wasting factors

5) overcoming procrastination

We will discuss each of these more in depth in other hubs:

The same is true for so many other areas of life. You may want a tidier house, but until you can discipline yourself to stop throwing everything on the floor, instead of putting it away properly; and until you can motivate yourself to pick up a vacuum cleaner, your house will remain untidy.

If you want to learn and study, developing yourself for a new career, then you need self discipline. You need to be able to say, 'no' to just wanting to be lazy, and motivate yourself you begin studying.

These are just a few examples of how self discipline is needed and how it will benefit you.

You can do it!

So remember, you can learn to use your time effectively, and to get on top of everything you need to do each day.

This will however take self discipline, and putting in the necessary effort to learn how to develop personal management skills


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    • profile image

      joshuavelarde 3 years ago

      thank you for this, it somehow enlighten me to value time.

    • enjoy life profile image

      enjoy life 3 years ago from Europe

      Hi travmaj, I'm glad the principles here have helped you and that you feel you are improving with your time management and self discipline. Procrastination is something we all must beat if we want to ensure we get on top of things

    • travmaj profile image

      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      Thank you for this. I'm a self confessed procrastinator, even when I'm aware I should be self disciplined I can talk myself out of it. Pleased to say I am improving. And this hub clarifies many points to keep me on track. Thank you.

    • enjoy life profile image

      enjoy life 3 years ago from Europe

      Thank you for your comment Jason Matthews. It is easy to neglect setting goals and managing our time. However this often means that we do not get important things done and we do not get to where we want to be. Developing the self discipline to do these things is so important

    • Jason Matthews profile image

      Jason Matthews 3 years ago from North Carolina

      I have a lot to learn from this hub. I often struggle with managing my time well. Setting good goals is so important, but many times I neglect to do so. Thank you for sharing this valuable advice for life!