Time is a precious commodity, whether you are running a household or running a business. The amount of time we have to complete projects, finish tasks, or carry out plans is just as important as how we utilize our hours in the day. Effective time management can increase productivity, improve performance, and propel you closer to your goals. Incorporate these 10 time management tips so that you use your time wisely in order to be successful in your personal or professional life.
Whether it’s your colleague next door or your social media breaks, distractions can lower the quality of your work and take up valuable time that’s needed for other tasks. Enforce breaks on yourself and allow yourself scheduled time to talk to your friend down the hall or check your personal email or social media accounts. Allocating time for distractions and carving out time to take care of minor things will help you be more productive as you’re working throughout the day.
Make a list
Don’t rely on your brain to remember everything that you’re supposed to do during the day, whether they’re personal tasks or work obligations. With a busy schedule and a packed calendar, things can get lost in the shuffle. Whether you prefer putting pen to paper, using the Notes app on your phone, or digging into an in-depth software, find a way that you can document your to-dos and check them off when you’re done. You’ll be able to sleep easy knowing that nothing was forgotten or left behind.
Come up with a plan
Don’t start your workday without knowing where you’re going. At the end of everyday, look ahead to the next day to ensure that you’re prepared and ready for any meetings, deadlines, or obligations. Make lists, print documents, and take notes. Thoughtful preparation will save you time when you arrive at work, because you already know where to start and what needs to be accomplished. You might even uncover items that are missing or something that you need to do over the weekend in order to be ready for Monday.
Prioritize your tasks
Designate various categories for personal and professional obligations such as urgent, important, medium priority, and low priority. This will help you organize your day in a meaningful way and visualize your priorities for the day or for the week. Understanding which tasks are must-dos and which activities can be pushed until tomorrow, will help you know where to start and ensure that everything gets done according to deadlines and schedules.
Begin your day with your most demanding or energy-zapping projects instead of taking care of simpler, smaller tasks right off the bat. Leave obligations that require less energy and brain power for the afternoon when you’re feeling a little more sluggish. Checking off large projects will also provide great motivation to use throughout the rest of your day; it’s a satisfying feeling knowing that the one task you were dreading the most is already completed.
Numerous studies, researchers, and experts all state that multitasking is a myth. It’s hard for us to focus on more than one thing at a time even if we think we are managing everything with ease. To become more productive and use your time more wisely, stop multitasking and focus on an item until completion. Eliminating multitasking will not only reduce errors but it will increase efficiency. You’ll be surprised when a task takes you less time when you focus on it from start to finish, without interruptions.
At some point, we’ve all wished that there were more hours in the day. Don’t be afraid to turn down a request or tell someone that a phone call needs to wait until tomorrow. There are always emergencies and necessary tasks that come up, but if it isn’t pressing, go ahead and put your foot down and postpone the task. Time management is all about knowing how much time you have, utilizing that time wisely, and knowing when there isn’t enough to go around.
Learn to delegate
It’s often hard for business owners to give tasks to others because they feel like they care more about their business than anyone else and they think that they’ll do the best job. You hired employees for a reason, so it’s time to use them! Delegation is important as it frees up your time for things that are more important, rather than focusing on tasks that can be accomplished by someone else. When you hand out some of your responsibilities to other employees, you will be able to better manage your obligations.
Impose time limits
Open-ended meetings or projects without a deadline are set up for swallowing time. Setting a time limit on meetings or tasks will help ensure that time isn’t wasted and that everyone stays focused. Knowing that you have an allotted amount of time pushes you to finish at an effective rate rather than take unnecessary pauses or breaks. Make sure that your time limit is realistically attainable and that it makes sense for the particular situation. This will require you to think about every talking point and activity to ensure that you allow enough time for everything to be accomplished but that you don’t give away time that can be utilized for something else.
Track your time
We’ve all had those days where you can’t seem to figure out where the time has gone. Time tracking is an insightful and effective way to look at your day, which will allow you to make adjustments where you see fit. You might be surprised at how you spend your time and how many hours per day go toward specific tasks. Use a pen and paper and track every minute of your day whether that’s answering emails, breaking down the finances, eating lunch, or attending a meeting. Go a step further and get a time tracking software that you and your employees can use; you can hold not only yourself, but all of your team members accountable for how they spend their working hours.
There are a variety of time management techniques that can boost your productivity and efficiency levels and make your business better. When you think about how to manage your time, consider how you work best and what your work environment looks like. Start by implementing one idea and once that becomes a habit, move on to another time-saving trick. Share your knowledge with your team so that your entire business runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible.