10 tips for time management
We all have the same 24 hours in a day, no more, no less. So how is it that some people can do so much while others do so little?
A lot of it comes down to how you manage your time, whether that’s your working day, your week or your life!
Here are my top 10 tips on time management:
1. The to-do list
I love a to-do list, sometimes I even add stuff on the list that I’ve already done just so I can tick it off. The to-do list provides you with an opportunity to reflect on what you want and need to get done so you can plan your day around them. You can have a to-do list for each day or week and longer-term lists for things you want to achieve this year – whatever works for you best.
2. Identify your priorities
If you’re like me, your to-do list will be long and it might contain things that need to happen now and things that need to happen at some point. One way to make good use of time is to prioritise what needs to be done when. That way when you’re deciding on what to do next, you know what order to work through them and won’t get any stressful deadlines that could be avoided if you had done the task first.
3. Plan your day
Once you’ve worked out what needs doing, give some thought to how you’ll plan your day around them. You might look at your list and find that some items can be grouped together, for example, maybe you have to run a few errands in the same neighborhood. Planning your day will allow you to be effective with your time so that you can achieve what you set out to do.
4. Limit distractions
If you’ve got a report to write or some work that needs your full attention, then limit your distractions. Maybe set a timer or leave your phone in another room. By limiting your distractions you can fully focus on the task in hand and get it done in good time, rather than being led astray by tempting Facebook notifications or something on TV.
5. Ask for help
It’s okay to ask for help – if you have so many things to do at home or you are spending more time than you’d planned on a project at work as you can’t figure something out, then ask for help. Not everyone will know how busy you are and sometimes we need to ask or delegate work to others.
6. Take a break
No matter if my day is quiet or busy I always plan in some breaks. Step away from the computer, shut the door to the mess and go for a walk, have a cup of tea, call a friend for a chat. It might feel like you will lose even more time, but so often it will help to boost your energy and help you feel refreshed, so you can return to the task with energy and motivation.
7. Identify when you are at your most productive
For some people they are full of creativity and energy first thing in the morning. For others it’s late at night, they just get going as the early risers are ready for bed. What’s your more productive time of the day? Once you know what your energy patterns are you can plan your tasks around that time.
8. Watch your inner voice
‘I’m so busy…’ ‘I’ve got no time…’. What is your inner voice saying? Can you reframe your inner voice to something more positive that helps create a belief that you have enough time to do the things you want? For example ‘I plan my days well so that I have enough time to do the things I need to’.
9. Say no
There are only 24 hours in a day and even for highly productive people there will be a limit to how much they can take on. If your capacity is full then it is okay to push back and say no. If you’re at your limit, saying yes to even more can leave you feeling overwhelmed and exhausted and could add to you being less productive.
10. Create good habits
Creating good habits can help us stay productive with little effort or thought. What habits could you create to help you manage your time well? One of mine is I always pack my work bag the night before, it doesn’t take any longer, but in the morning when my time is limited I know this needs no thought and that I have everything I need for my day ahead.
There are so many small ways we can help ourselves manage our time better. Why not test out a few and see how they work for you?
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