Time is money. Time is our life. Time is definitely a valuable asset. Nowadays more than ever, it’s extremely important to be able to control time waste and use time wisely and accordingly to have a happy life. That leads to health and psychological balance. 

By Mia Kollia
Translated by Alexandros Theodoropoulos

Proper time management is a difficult task for most people, even for the most disciplined. The distractions of everyday life are many. If we take into account the use of social networks and the Internet, which occupy a large part of the day, we will understand that we are wasting valuable time that could be spent for everything we actually love. 

Often, we don’t even manage to enjoy quality time with our family or friends and hobbies. We don’t even manage to complete our work properly and according to the deadlines. The first causes us sorrow, the second constant stress.

Most of us make crucial mistakes which prevent us from using our time correctly and fully. 

Concentration and proper organisation can change our lives for the better by far. A test for a certain period of time will convince us.

Five techniques for effective time management

1. Lists - Logging tasks 

How much data can our mind hold without help and support? To-do lists are the perfect tool to organise our ideas, commitments and projects. They help us identify the tasks we need to accomplish, without wasting time searching.

But it is necessary to be consistent with the lists we make. If, for example, a task is on our list for three months, it is obvious that something is wrong. It makes sense to check our lists regularly and delete tasks that don’t fit, so as not to waste time and gray matter.

2. Priorities - Categorisation of tasks

Sometimes it is difficult to set priorities, especially in work environments that treat all tasks as urgent. But it is extremely important to develop an internal compass that will guide us to set the right priorities that we can actually meet.

We must always maintain a balance between very urgent tasks, as well as be able to assess how important they are at a given moment. Some tasks can be completed faster and by doing so we get a boost to approach the more complex ones.

- Action Priority Matrix
One of the most recognised websites on developing the right and efficient work tools, Mind Tools, has created a computer matrix to help us prioritize all our tasks. Even if we can’t choose what to do, this tool will definitely push us in the right direction.


3. Create small tasks to achieve goals

It is difficult to implement lists and priorities if we don’t have a clear goal. Even in long-term projects, creating smaller goals helps a lot in mobilising to complete specific parts of our work.

In the workplace, we must have a combination of short & long term goals in balance, so that we can work in a certain mood and avoid the risk of procrastination.

4. Concentrate on one task at a time

One of the most overrated features in the workplace is multitasking; the idea that we can do many things at once, faster and more efficiently. However, research has proved that multitasking not only doesn’t help our speed, but also severely damages our efficiency.

When we are fully focused on one task at a time, we can give it much more attention, importance and care. This means that we will have much better results. At the same time, concentration leads to faster completion of each task. Let's keep the talent of multitasking in the ability to cope with many different objects, but not at the same time.

5. Recording of working time

The new work environment and the rise of different circumstances (such as remote work) have led many of us to use online timekeeping tools to support our day-to-day efficiency.

By using time tracking tools, we know how much time we spend completing a task and we are able to better organise our time during the week.

Indicative tools:

- Pomodoro
It has taken its name from the small tomato-shaped kitchen timers. The Pomodoro technique is based on successive work and break alternations (25 minutes of work & 5 minutes of pause). This alternation relaxes our eyes and mind and helps us take advantage of every available minute.

- Toggl & Clockify
There are also platforms through which we can record the time we work on each task or project. These applications can be helpful in concentrating and avoiding procrastination. They also produce statistical reports that can be extremely useful, especially to freelancers.
Addiction at work

In recent years, productivity has been gaining ground at the expense of work-life balance. This addiction at work seems ideal for good results but doesn’t have the effect we assume. More and more research and studies show that this is the most negative ingredient of success, as the person deteriorates and in the end, neither performs, nor is happy.

Our tendency to take on more tasks than we can actually accomplish leads to reduced productivity, increased stress, and poor time management.

Excessive pressure even leads to increased procrastination, as we don’t complete any of the tasks, leading us to give up and tend to avoid.