Proven Time Management Tips

Regardless of how much we’d all like to have extra hours in our day to get things done, we’re limited by what we have to work with. Instead of wishing for more time, there are ways to make the most of the hours available by practicing time management tips. 

The majority of hard-working people want to practice good time management and they start well with this, but they forget to figure out the one biggest thing that sabotages time. 

1. Build time into every aspect of your day for those interruptions that we all experience. You will never have a single day that’s not interrupted by something unexpected. This is usually what throws people off course. It can break your concentration, making it harder for you to get the flow back. 

If you’re at work and someone pops in for “just a minute,” you’ll notice that it always turns into a lot longer. Before you know it, half an hour to an hour will have passed and you can’t get that time back. You want to allocate time for these interruptions by looking at your day and figuring out how much time you have to give these. For example, when someone walks into your office, you can say, “I’m working on a project so I can only spare five minutes.” At the end of five minutes, if the other person is still there, you say, “I’m sorry, but my time is up and I have to get back to this.” If you respect your time, others will, too. 

2. Plan your day the night before. This gives you a go-to launching place. You know what you have to start on first. It helps you to manage time if you have a map to follow – even if it’s simply a list of what you must accomplish that day. 

3. Plan your phone conversations. This is a huge time waster. But if you plan your conversations before you make the call, this helps you stay in control of how long the conversation lasts. If someone calls you and you need to get off the phone, you just say that you have to go. Most people don’t want to risk sounding rude, so they’ll remain on phone conversations that are taking up a lot of their time.  If that sounds like you, there are several easy ways to end a phone conversation. 

You can say that you’re in a time crunch and have to go or that you need to take care of something. Usually, that will cause the other person to say goodbye and end the call. It’s okay to tell someone you can’t talk to at the moment and will have to get back to them. The second you start being someone else’s sounding board for all of their problems, on an endless loop is when you get taken advantage of constantly. 

4. Don’t let technology interruptions disrupt your time management. When someone isn’t dropping by your office or home, they’re reaching out to you through technology like email or on social media. These can quickly take up hour after hour of your day because it’s easy to get sucked into playing a game while you’re handling something business or personal related online. 

If being on social media is a must for you, let it be a scheduled interruption. For example, you just write it on your planner that at lunch, you’ve scheduled ten minutes to be on social media. Stick to that time just as if it were an appointment. If you have to, use an alarm on your smartphone or set an egg timer so that you’re made aware of the end time of this distraction. 

5. Separate the interruptions between what must be dealt with and what doesn’t have to be dealt with at that time. You don’t have to make someone else’s urgency your priority. There’s something to be said for being helpful, but if this is a recurring situation, it’s time to put the brakes on bailing others out. 

6. Look at your day’s to-do list and begin your day by starting with the most important item on your list. There’s a psychological reason you want to do it this way. When you do the important tasks first and finish them, it gives you a feel-good release of hormones and it makes you feel more energized and more like tackling other items on your list. Plus, you get to see that you’re making progress. If you start with the easiest task or the fastest task and put off the most important task, there’s a chance you may not get to it by the time the day ends – and then anxiety sets in. 

7. Refuse opportunities that will take up too much of your time. You can’t be involved in every activity and you can’t attend every single meeting that you’d like to. You’ll end up overworked and frazzled. If you work from home and there are several webinars you’d like to attend, but you’re already struggling with time management, there’s a way to decide which ones to choose. You look at the ones that will give you the most benefit both personally and professionally.  Sometimes there might be something you’re interested in, but it’s not conducive to a good time management schedule. That means you have to pass. 

8. Get your rest. If you push yourself to go beyond what you should do by cutting back on sleep, this will eventually catch up to you. When you lose sleep, it can cause you to lose focus. This means you’ll start doing sloppy work and you’ll find yourself having to redo work – or you’re sluggish, to begin with. Not only that but when you start giving up your needed rest, it weakens your immune system and you’ll be more susceptible to catching whatever virus is going around. You’ll end up losing time rather than being a good manager of it. You might want to stay up later and wake up earlier to get more done, but being well-rested means you become far more productive – and quality improves, too. 

9. Take care of yourself in other ways, too. Make sure that you get the exercise that you need because exercise is something that helps you with time management. It keeps your energy levels high. Plus, taking a break from personal and work responsibilities gives your mind a chance to be refreshed and come back to the task with a fresh outlook. Increased focus helps with productivity and saves you time in the long run. 

10. Take time off. There can be a tendency to work full speed ahead, whatever it takes, to get all of the things done that you need to get done. Many people give up time with friends and family to try to gain more time. They bring work home on weekends or they work on a to-do list all weekend around the house to get things done. Some people haven’t had a vacation in years – not because they can’t afford it – but because they don’t feel like they have the time. But if you take time off, away from everything you need to do, you end up getting more done because your body as well as your mind needs time where it has absolutely nothing it “must” focus on. 

11. Know that it’s okay not to do it all. Forget about multi-tasking. Multi-tasking is synonymous with doing several jobs poorly all at once – and that’s very frustrating to someone with perfectionist tendencies. You don’t have to accomplish everything in one day. Instead, concentrate on what’s right in front of you that has to be done first. Get that finished and then move on with the next item. 

12. Give everything you need to do a time limit. Whether you’re a perfectionist or not, this is a good rule of thumb for anyone looking for better time management. Open-ended tasks tend to pile up because there’s no finish line. So when you look at the whole picture of what has to be accomplished with the time you have, it can feel overwhelming. It’s better to break the things you have to do down. 

For example, if you have a project that has to be completed by a certain deadline, you need to divide that project up by how long it will take to get the work done. If the project will take 40 hours to complete and you have two weeks to get it done, you know you have to work on it 20 hours per week or 5 hours per day. And take into account interruptions and other obstacles that will get in the way. 

0 Shares
Pin
Share
Tweet
Share