Life is filled with distractions that can take your focus off the tasks you need to accomplish and time management is a struggle for many. While it is a difficult skill to master for many, time management is simply managing the time you have allotted to you while on this earth. You can manage your time wisely or squander it away. While it would seem to be a simple choice, it's not always that easy.

Your Time and Mine

Every human being on the planet is afforded the same 24 hours in a day. Then, why is it that some people seem to accomplish so much and others never seem to get anything done? Could it be that they have effectively mastered time management?

Have you ever said or heard someone say, "I have some time to kill" or "I have time to burn?" The reality is that none of us has time to kill or to burn. Time is precious and regardless of your age and how much time you think you have on this earth, it's important to take good advantage of that time by using every moment of it wisely. We need to be good stewards of our time by learning time management skills just as we should be good stewards over the "things" we have.

Learning Time Management Skills

Being aware of your necessary tasks and responsibilities is the first step in learning good time management skills. Do you know the difference between what it is that you "need" to do versus what you "want" to do? Your need to do tasks should be done before your want to do tasks. Things that you would like to do are optional and won't necessarily take away from your life if you don't do them. The beauty of good time management is that you will be able to do more of the things you want to do when you take care of the things you need to do first.

To develop good time management skills, consider the following ideas:

Plan & Prioritize your days a day or two in advance. Know what needs to be done and prioritize these items in order of importance.
When planning your days, write out a plan to complete your tasks.

Keep a daily/weekly planner or electronic organizer to track your daily and weekly responsibilities. Doing so will keep a visual picture in front of you of how full your "plate" is.

Don't overwhelm your schedule. For example, if you have long work days, don't plan too many extra-curriculars after work.

Manage your time at work with a written plan but don't forget to also manage your time at home in a similar manner. For example, if you know you need to pay bills on Friday, don't wait until Friday to start figuring out what bills are due and need to be paid. Keep a spreadsheet and make time in advance to update it.

Learn how NOT to overextend yourself. Know when to politely say no to people. If you can't do it, they will find someone else who can.

Allow yourself at least one hour of "Me" time daily. Oh no, don't you dare read this and say or even think, "It's impossible. I can't do it." Yes You Can! You have to start with changing that mindset and then it's a matter of developing good time management skills to bring it to pass. If you don't take some time for yourself you will experience burn out at some point. What good are you to other people if you are burned out anyway?

So, now that you've learned how to do some basic things to improve your time management skills, does that mean that you will always complete everything you need to do in a day? Of course not but you will be well on your way. It's all based on what I like to call the 4P's. Practice, Prioritization, Practicality and Perseverance!

Author's Bio: 

Michelle Howard Smith is a full time working mother of three and runs her e-commerce business part time. She enjoys doing research related to alternative health and has helped many people to obtain stress relief. Subscribe to Michelle's monthly Stress Less newsletter at for alternative stress management information like that contained in this article.