Everyone is talking about time management skills. Further, there are tools such as getting enough sleep, organizing, and planning that help you polish your time management skills. Professionals and executives are preoccupied not to lose time, as they have many meetings to hold, presentations to make, and proposals to prepare.
But what if we approach the problem from another point of view? Some people say that they do not have time for themselves or activities that are not related to either work or cozy nights with friends. And they should ask themselves: which is the root cause? The lack of time or their perspective on time?
It turns out that most people that say they do not have time are not aware of the time spent on specific tasks and activities. Because if you say that you do not have time, you won't have time because you think your schedule is already full. And yes, developing and improving time management skills can help you organize and plan your tasks and activities better. But the first thing you should do is to develop self-awareness.
What Is Self-Awareness?
It is important not to mix up self-awareness with consciousness. If someone is self-aware, they are aware of how their thoughts, actions, behavioral patterns, and emotions align with their internal standards. Self-aware people are trying to align their actions with their core values, passions, and goals, to create room for development and improvement. The more self-aware you are, the more opportunities for self-improvement you create.
Let's take an example to make things simpler. Let's say that you are an executive of a company and you need to have an overview of the activities of the company. Further, you need to make sure that the projects you want to create align with the company values, mission, and goals. You need to conduct meetings with sponsors and clients.
You need to supervise the activity of your teams and ensure they do not lose track. However, you might often find yourself doing overtime—not finding free time to attend your kids' events or enjoy the company of your friends. This comes with dissatisfaction. It is clear that there is a problem with time management and that you can organize your activities better, but how can you do this?
The answer is: to develop self-awareness. A self-aware executive knows that work is essential because it provides the necessary resources for living. But he or she also knows that family and friends are important, and spending time with them is good for their mental health. Self-awareness means that you are aware of your values, thoughts, and actions and how some of them are incongruent with each other.
But how can you develop your self-awareness so that you can boost your time management skills?
Start a Journal
Either start writing in a journal or, if you already have one, continue using it. Journaling is a useful tool to develop and improve your self-awareness. It helps you become more aware of your thoughts, ideas, and behaviors. This leads to increases in creativity and boosting of time management skills. It leads to self-discipline and a mindful perspective on your behavior and actions.
How to Use Your New Journal
So, you might be wondering what exactly to write about? It is fairly common that one's mind goes blank when you see a white paper sheet you know you have to fill. You can start to monitor some easy and accessible behaviors or areas in your life. For example, you can begin to observe your positive and negative feelings of one day.
Or, you can start analyzing changes you want to make in your life and behavior. Like this, all your ideas and thoughts on the process will be on the paper, things that will help you become more aware of them. Try to identify your feelings about a regular day and act upon changing any negative thoughts. You might notice that you spend too much time at work, and you neglect your self-care and personal life.
Self-awareness leads to changes, so do not be afraid to start journaling. Make journaling a habit and set up a time during the day when you submit another entry in your journal. Make it expressive, and do not be afraid to express your deepest thoughts and feelings. You can spend no more than 20 minutes per day, and you will see an improvement in your self-awareness level.
Becoming self-aware is a process, and it can be acquired through time and practice of healthy and enhancing habits. Mindfulness is another way you can develop your self-awareness, as it is a meditation technique at its core. If you are mindful, you live in the present. And when you live in the present, you are more aware of your thoughts and ideas. Further, if you are more aware in this way, you can quickly act upon changing them.
There are lots of forms of meditation and mindfulness, and you can choose the one you feel is right for you at the present moment. You can find online guided meditation videos that are of enormous help, especially if you are a beginner.
Some techniques focus on developing a more robust understanding of your inner world. These techniques help you to see how you can improve your awareness as well as how you relate to the ones around you. Other techniques focus on finding harmful thoughts and behaviors so that you can act against them.
Either meditation technique you choose, it will help you become more self-aware and boost your time management skills. Planning and organizing activities will be easier than before because your productivity will increase too.
Ask for Feedback
Feedback is an essential part of everyone's life, even though it is a subject that is mostly discussed in corporate settings. If given correctly, feedback can help you become more self-aware of your behavior. Our behaviors are so well ingrained in our way of living and seeing life that we grow less and less self-aware of them. But people that work or live with us can quickly identify destructive habits and their opinion can help you improve your skills.
It is not easy to ask for feedback. Who would want to hear about their flaws? But constructive criticism can develop and improve self-awareness, which will lead to boosting in time management skills. Even if it is difficult and challenging, ask people around you for feedback.
Start small, identify some behaviors you want to change, and ask for feedback. But be careful: feedback is efficient if it is given by people you trust and respect and whose opinion matters to you. Choose close friends, business partners, your children, and your spouse to share with you their opinion about your habits. Like this, you will become aware of the impact of your behavior on the people that surround you.
We should see time management skills from another perspective. Maybe we do not need only proper planning, organization, and communication skills, but to become more aware of the time we spend daily on different tasks. Developing self-awareness is another approach you could take toward boosting your time management skills and changing your perspective on time.
The more self-aware you are of your ideas, thoughts, and behavior, the more room you make for improvement and development. Start a journal and let your thoughts and emotions pour on the paper. Practice meditation to become more self-aware of how you relate to the ones around you and to gain an understanding of your inner world.
Ask people you trust and respect for feedback to become more aware of the impact of your behavior. Like this, you will know what changes to make to boost your time management skills.
Meet the Author
Tobias Foster is a journalist and editor with more than 5 years' work experience offering help with dissertations worldwide. Psychology, communication, and business are his passion, and he has a wealth of knowledge in that field. He loves reading science fiction books by contemporary authors.