Time Management Tips
In the spirit of effective time management, we’ve created a top ten list to save you time researching. So, if there had to be an eleventh tip it would probably be ‘Make The Short Advice Your Homepage’… Time management goes hand in hand with productivity and efficiency, and in our article on SMART goals, we stress the importance of being time-based. So if your goals are to be completed within a particular time frame, then you’ll need to be able to manage your time effectively. Give these ten tips a try and find out what works for you!
1. Don’t Worry, Be Happy.
The overwhelming pressure of a fast-approaching deadline can kill productivity. But, the less time you spend worrying about all of the things you’ll never get done, the more time you leave yourself to get those things done. Time management 101. Of course, it’s not always as simple as it sounds – some tasks are harder than others. But the big message here, is to utilise the time that you do have. Even if it seems impossible, negativity won’t get the job done.
2. Set Goals
Goal-setting is an important consideration on the ‘Road to Success‘. It allows you to create pathways towards achieving your desired outcome, and prompts you to develop systems in which to get there. Goals also help to motivate you. And, when it comes to time management, motivation can be the difference between productivity and procrastination. So, ask yourself the questions – “Why am I doing all of this? Where do I want it to lead?”
For each goal you set, there will be a series of actions that you must take in order to achieve that goal. Consider each of these actions/tasks, and schedule them into your calendar. You don’t need to be too regimented, unless you’re in a highly regimented role. For each task that you identify, consider whether they could be broken down further. In doing this, you’ll be able to create smaller, more achievable tasks. All of a sudden, your goals will become less daunting.
Not all tasks are created equal… Identify the most important tasks at the beginning of each week/day. In doing this, you will allow yourself some extra time just incase you need to bump some of the ‘less-important’ tasks. You might even consider using a ‘traffic lights’ rating system when you are creating your schedule. Your ‘red’ high-priority tasks should be scheduled for completion first, and your ‘green’ low-priority tasks can be completed towards the end of the day/week. Managing for the best outcome, with the time you have been allocated = good time management.
5. Be Realistic
Planning is important. But an unrealistic plan is useless. Well, not completely… It would provide the basis for a few hard lessons, thats for sure. When you’re setting goals, you need to consider whether your goals are achievable. Now, anything is possible of course. But difficulty, time-allowance, discipline, motivation… These things are all variable factors that must be considered. So, what is it that you want? What do you need to do to get there? What are you willing to do to get there? When do you expect to get there? These are just a few important questions to ponder before settling on a plan.
6. Focus on the Present
Similar to the first point, this tip simply means to operate in the ‘now’. You are no good to anybody when you’re stressing about the future. Instead, focus on creating the future that you want to live in. Time management is all about being where you are, and utilising whatever time you do have. So, be grateful that you do have the power to impact your future, and put your skills to work now. This will ensure that you’ve given yourself the best chance at achieving your outcomes in the time-frame allowed.
7. Set Timings
For each task that you undertake, give yourself a time-frame in which to complete it. It doesn’t have to be a strict deadline a such, but it’s a great way to manage your expectations. You’ll start to learn more about the duration of particular tasks, and your set-times will become more realistic and achievable. It can also help to improve your efficiency. If a task that you expect to have completed has not been completed in the time you’ve set, re-think and refine your process.
8. Don’t Procrastinate
Procrastination is the enemy of productivity and good time management. It’s super fun though! Who doesn’t want to practice their signature on the back of a scrap piece of paper for hours, or scan instagram until their eyeballs turn red!? On that note, turn off your social media notifications right now. Or at least when you’re working. For more strategies to avoid procrastination, checkout our article ‘Procrastination vs Productivity‘.
9. Eliminate Distractions
It’s easy to become distracted. Thats why you need to remove yourself from distraction as best you can. Firstly, consider the location of your work space. Is it a place that is conducive to hard work and productivity? If you’re trying to get work done in your bed, and you keep falling asleep… well, need we say anymore? Secondly, consider your work space itself. Clean and minimal is generally a good strategy, free from anti-time management gadgets and gizmos. Of course, everyone is different, so find what works best for you.
Perhaps you’ve tried all of our tips to stay on task, and have still found yourself distracted and wasting time. Well… go away. That’s right! Give yourself a 5 minute break to do something that energises you, and helps you to regain your focus. Maybe reading, maybe crosswords, maybe a quick bit of exercise. Whatever it is, go and do it for a short, timed period. Hopefully, you’ll return to work task-focused and motivated to achieve success.
Everyone is different, and there is no one solution to help you become an efficient time manager. In fact, there isn’t ten solutions! The only way these tips will be effective is if you have the discipline and desire to improve… As always, thanks for reading and we’d love to hear what you’ve got to add in the comments section below.