Making the most of your time is a challenge we all face. Here are 11 tips to help you develop effective time management skills.
Time management is one of the most important skills any of us can have. It matters in all aspects of your personal and professional lives. With good time management we can have less stress, more free time and more fun in our lives.
But, unfortunately, most people aren’t that good at it.
Sure, they will finish all of their daily tasks and duties, but once done, they leave zero time for themselves.
This is bad because it can cause a burnout that will prevent us from being productive in the future. We end up tired, sloppy in our work, with no drive or desire to move forward.
But, if you can learn to manage your time properly every day, you will have more free time to have fun and to rest, all while finishing all of your daily work.
Here are 11 tips to improve your time management skills:
- Schedule Your Time — This is one of the most obvious tips, yet we somehow always seem to forget it or give up on it at some point. But scheduling your time is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your work. There are several ways you can do this. You can get a bullet journal and schedule your time there. It’s effective and very organized so you’ll have no trouble finding your lists. You can also schedule your time on your phone. This is great because it allows you to have notifications, alerts and so on.Although you can schedule your week, your month, or your day, daily or weekly schedules prove to be the most effective since they give you a swift overview of your most obvious tasks.
- Delegate or Outsource — This may be a bit of a cheat, but it’s a completely legal cheat. When you find yourself struggling with too much work, you shouldn’t try to do it all on your own. Rather, delegate that extra work to someone else. You don’t have to be in control of every single thing in your professional life and it’s okay to get someone else to do your work when needed — especially if it’s a tedious task that brings less value than your other tasks.
- Decide on Your Priorities — When you find yourself piled up under many different tasks, one of the best techniques is to prioritize. Not all of those tasks are equally urgent or important; some of them can be done later.So, prioritize the most urgent tasks first to get them out of the way. Then do the most important things next. Leave all of the other tasks for later. This will help you stay organized and focused on what’s most important.
- Create Deadlines for Yourself — We often don’t know how to get started without strict deadlines because we just don’t feel motivated enough. However, with deadlines, getting started seems to be no problem. So, try setting deadlines for yourself whenever you have an important task on your hands, even if it doesn’t have a deadline. This will move you to start sooner.
- Eliminate Distractions— Distractions like phone, social media, email, and so on are nothing but time eaters. You enter your email account and it tricks you into feeling productive when you are actually not. Social media does the same — unless your job is directly related to social media and you are actually doing something that brings value there. So, turn all notifications off and ask people not to disturb you. Set boundaries. For example, explain what can be taken as an urgent call and what is most definitely not an urgent call.
- Say No — Learning to say no to other people isn’t easy at all. “You often feel pushed into tasks that you don’t want to or don’t have time to do. This is what makes your to-do list so big,” says Asima Dala, a HR lead at Writemyx and Nextcoursework. However, you should learn to say no to people delegating their tasks on to you when you are too busy with your own tasks. It’s okay when you have time, but it’s most definitely not when you don’t. Make sure that you develop this habit in order to save your sanity.
- Don’t Multi-task — Multitasking tricks you into thinking that you are productive, even more so than checking your email. In fact, you are far from being productive because your brain needs to focus on one task at a time and not more. This is why scheduling is so important, so focus on each task one at a time. This way you will make less mistakes and be more productive in general.
- Wake Up Early — Getting up early gives you that extra time in the day to do whatever suits you. Some people love mornings and work best in the morning, so that is when they do their most urgent or important tasks. Some people don’t really like mornings, so they take this time to meditate, have their rest, or just get started with some simple tasks.
- Create A ‘Done’ List — To-do lists are famous, yet they often just add more, not less, stress to your life. But ‘done’ lists are the complete opposite. When you do something, write it down as done. This will motivate you and help you find inspiration for more work. You will also work faster.
- Get the Easy Wins First — “Some people can’t get started with the hardest tasks or the tasks that are the most urgent. The pressure it creates stops them from being productive. So, what might suit you more is to get rid of the easy and simple tasks first and then you feel motivated to finish the harder tasks,” says Gordon Thomas, a productivity blogger at 1Day2Write.
- Take Plenty of Breaks — Breaks help you refresh and feel better for more work. You can use the Pomodoro technique or take breaks whenever you finish a task.
While time-management may seem a bit difficult to learn well, you can definitely do it. Get started with some of these tips and hopefully you’ll be great at it soon.
You may also enjoy reading 8 Tips for Managing Change and Thriving During Life Transitions by Dr. Bojana Jankovic Weatherly