As we move into 2023, time management is becoming an increasingly important topic. That’s because more and more people are working remotely, artificial intelligence is becoming more and more common, and mental health is more of a priority than ever before in the modern workplace.
The success of an individual, or a business, depends on time management strategies that can help you thrive in 2023. In this blog post, we’ll discuss five time management strategies that can help you reach your goals this year. Read on to learn more!
The Growing Link Between Time Management and Performance
Two years ago, my research team and I detected an intriguing pattern: as the years passed, time management and performance were becoming increasingly linked1.
In other words, time management is becoming an increasingly important factor in determining a person’s success.
Why? It’s quite simple. Technology has allowed more and more people to work remotely. At the same time, companies have started to offer programs like flextime, which gives employees more autonomy over their time. As a result, time management skills become even more important because people need to take responsibility for their own time management.
This trend will likely continue in 2023, as more and more companies prioritize results over time worked.
1. Invest in Temporal Strategies to Succeed at Remote Work
As more and more people work remotely, time management becomes increasingly important. Recent research2 has shown that people who used spatial strategies during the pandemic (e.g., having a separate office for their work) didn’t do as well as those who had temporal strategies (e.g., finishing work at the same time every day and having a daily routine).
In other words, while having a dedicated office can help in theory, it won’t be of much use if people work until late at night and have no time for self-care.
By contrast, when people use temporal strategies—such as having a specific schedule for work and setting a clear time boundary between work and personal time—it can help them achieve better results while also taking care of their mental health.
Why? Because managing your time creates a sense of order and predictability. Days become more organized and structured. In turn, this helps people feel more in control, which ultimately enhances wellbeing and mental health3–9.
How can you start using temporal strategies this year? Rather than rehash the same bromides about to-do lists and schedules, let’s focus on the importance of having a shutdown routine.
While most people are familiar with morning routines, shutdown routines are just as important. That’s because they help you close off the day, set boundaries between work and personal time, and create time for self-care.
Essentially, a shutdown routine is a set of activities that you do at the end of every workday. Think of it as a ritual that signals to your brain that the workday is over and it’s time to relax.
The activities are entirely up to you. My shutdown routine includes, in this particular order:
- Checking my email
- Reviewing and adjusting my schedule for the next day
- Closing all work-related tabs and programs
- Turn off my computer
- Literally say out loud: “shutdown complete” (I know, it’s silly but it works for me)
That’s it. The important thing about the shutdown routine is that it should be like a ritual that signals to your brain that the workday is over and time for relaxation has arrived.
2. Explore The Next Frontier in Time Management: Artificial Intelligence
Back when I started exploring the history of time management in 2014, I noticed something very peculiar. Historically, most of our time was managed for us.
Think about it. A Christian person in the 1950s on a typical Sunday morning didn’t wonder what to do with their time—she attended church. People didn’t think about when to do their laundry—Monday was laundry day, period. There was a fixed time for family dinner and a host of other activities. In a very real sense, time management was already done for them.
Fast forward to today and time management is almost entirely your responsibility. Religion, governments, and employers no longer dictate when and how time should be used. Or at least, not as much as they used to.
That’s why people have to constantly think about how to use their time. And that’s, ironically, very time-consuming.
At the time, in 2014, I figured that time management had become such a mental chore that eventually something would need to replace religion and governments. Something that could give us some time management guidance, or even manage time for us.
That something, I believed, would be artificial intelligence.
If you’ve been paying any attention to the news lately, you may have heard of ChatGPT, an AI chatbot that acts as a virtual assistant.
While ChatGPT can help you with time management (e.g., create schedules, establish study plans, and give you time management tips), there are many other tools out there that can help you manage time more efficiently.
From AI-driven time tracking apps to virtual personal assistants, the application of artificial intelligence to time management is just beginning. It’s only a matter of time before these tools become commonplace and save us time on managing our time.
Here are a few ways AI can help with time management:
- Email writing. There many, many tools out there, such as Compose AI, that integrate with your email to help you write faster, more accurate, typo-free emails.
- Time tracking. With tools like Timely, time tracking is automated and simpler than ever. You can use time tracking tools to monitor your time, identify time-wasting activities, and make better decisions about how you spend your time.
- Improved search results. While Google has always been great at finding what you’re looking for, AI-driven search results are even better. For example, Metaphor uses natural language to find exactly what you need—and fast.
- Automating routine tasks. Whether you need to take meeting notes, streamline your workflow, or automate data entry, AI-driven solutions are available to help.
These are just a few of the ways that AI can make time management easier and more efficient.
Here’s a simple but incredibly powerful mindset that has helped me time and time again: whenever I’m faced with a problem or time-consuming task at work, I always ask myself: “Is there an AI-driven solution for this?”
More often than not, the answer is yes. And if you take the time to invest in finding and implementing such solutions, your work can become much easier—allowing you to focus more on high-level tasks, relationships, and your own wellbeing.
So, time management isn’t just about scheduling and organization—it’s also about using technology to your advantage. With the help of artificial intelligence, time management can become effortless and freeing.
3. Make Time to Hone Your Skills
Time management can certainly help you become more productive, but nothing beats mastering the skills, methods, and tools that are specific to your field.
After all, there’s a reason why research in economics shows, time and again, that training boosts employee productivity: time spent learning how to do your job better leads to time saved in the long run10–12.
To better understand how, let’s look at a specific example.
Imagine a person whose job is to do research on a particular topic. If they don’t take the time to learn how to use a reference manager, they will spend time manually copying and pasting references and citations into their research.
If they don’t take the time to learn how to use a word editor that helps manage long documents like reports and articles, they will get lost in the sea of changing document structure.
If they don’t take the time to learn about PowerPoint’s designer feature, they will find themselves spending a lot of time manually formatting slides that may not even look good.
This applies to literally any industry:
- In the field of project management, failing to make time to learn tools such as Asana, Trello, and Microsoft Project can lead to time wasted on manual tasks that could be automated or delegated easily.
- In the field of marketing, not making time to explore Hootsuite, Hubspot, and effective A/B testing in depth can lead to time wasted on ineffective campaigns.
- In sales, not making the time to explore Salesforce and similar tools, or learning advanced selling techniques can lead to time wasted on unprofitable approaches.
You get the point: time spent learning the right tools, knowledge, and skills has a huge payoff in terms of time saved—and success.
This is where time management can make a big difference.
Many people think they don’t have the time to improve their skills or learn how to master whatever software they use in their job. But that’s what I call a time trap: some people don’t have time precisely because they waste so much of it trying to work with outdated, suboptimal methods and tools.
Time management can help you make time to learn new skills that, in the long run, save you lots of time.
That’s why, in a 2017 paper13, Herman Aguinis and I call time management the mother of all skills: it is the only skill that helps you make time to acquire other skills.
The payoff is hard to overstate. When you start making time for skill development, you open the door to a world of possibilities. You can become more productive, focused, creative, and successful—all while enhancing your wellbeing and having time for what matters most in life.
Try it out today: identify the tools and methods that can make you drastically better at your job and make time to master them. You won’t regret it!
4. Focus on Self-Care and Your Mental Health
Despite the recent conversation around mental health issues, it’s not clear whether the COVID-19 pandemic has made mental health significantly worse in the long run14–16.
Similarly, mental health issues have not gotten significantly worse over the past decades and around the world:
But that, however, in no way detracts from the need to prioritize our mental health and self-care.
And as it turns out, time management is again the key.
To understand how, take a look at this graph from my own research:
The findings are clear: time management has a huge positive impact on our mental health and wellbeing.
Why? As mentioned earlier, a key reason is that time management makes us feel in control of our lives.
And it’s now well established that feeling in control of our lives is essential for physical and mental health17,18.
But there’s another, simpler reason: time management helps you make time for yourself and for your loved ones.
This is important, because we live in a world where time is more fragmented19. Family dinners, time with friends, time to relax after work—all of these things can seem unattainable amidst the chaos and the constant demands on our time20–22.
Without time management, time can slip away and we end up feeling either overwhelmed or having too little time for the things that truly matter.
Here are a few ways you can use time management to prioritize self-care and your mental health:
- Schedule time for self-care. If there’s one thing that’s clear from time management research, it’s that if you want to get something done, you need to schedule time for it23. We schedule things like deadlines and appointments because we know they’re important. But our mental health and wellbeing are even more important, yet they’re often nowhere to be found in our schedules. There’s an easy fix to this: treat time for self-care just like any other appointment and schedule time for it. Anything that’s remotely important should be on your schedule, and self-care is no exception.
- Make socializing hassle-free. Meaningful social connections are key to our wellbeing, but sometimes it can feel like a hassle. People have different schedules, and it can feel like a lot of effort to coordinate them. But with simple tools like Doodle, you can quickly and easily find times that work for everyone, and make making plans with friends or family a breeze. Another trick is to set up regular meetings with friends, like once a week at a bar or cafe. That way, you don’t have to make plans every time—it’s just understood that you’ll meet up at a certain place and time every week.
- Listen to your time management. If you’re consistently unable to finish most of your to-do list, the question shouldn’t be “what tips and tricks do I need to get everything done?” but, “I’m clearly overworked, how can I cut back on some of my tasks?” Take a step back and ask yourself whether you actually need to do all the things you think you need to do. Very often, time pressure can stem from self-imposed expectations. It’s okay to be ambitious, but not if it makes you miserable. The world won’t end if you don’t do everything perfectly!
Time management isn’t just about getting everything done—it’s also a powerful tool for self-care and mindfulness. By scheduling time for yourself, making socializing hassle-free, and learning to listen to symptoms of overwork, you can make sure that you stay healthy and happy. Try it for yourself and see how much better you feel!
Time management plays an essential role in our lives as we move into 2023 and beyond.
With the rise of remote work, AI entering the workplace, and mental health becoming a priority for many, it is important to invest in time management strategies that help us succeed while also looking after ourselves.
By leveraging artificial intelligence tools when appropriate and prioritizing self-care, time management can be used not only to improve productivity but also to ensure overall wellbeing. If you’re ready to take control of your time and experience greater success than ever before, give these strategies a try!
Research cited (click to expand)
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- 2.Magni F, Tang G, Manzoni B, Caporarello L. Managing Boundaries while Working Remotely: The Interactive Effect of Temporal and Physical Tactics. Proceedings. Published online August 2022. doi:10.5465/ambpp.2022.13446abstract
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