Have you ever wondered why some people manage to do so many things in a day while others don’t? Do they have a magic wand or just better time management skills? For a long time now it’s been bugging me how to organize my time better so I become more efficient and more satisfied with the way I spend my time.
Because in the end, time is the only finite resource but we always seem to trade it for meaningless activities. I’ve read countless articles on time management and I’ve started applying some of the things I’ve found. In time, I’ve noticed that I feel a lot better when I use my time wisely and obtain better results if I organize myself.
That is why, I comprised a list of 15 time management tips that will help you use your time better:
1. Set clear objectives
Before starting an activity or a project, you must first consider where you want to end up. An objective must be clearly defined and attainable. This way, there will be only one road you’ll have to go down. This means that you’ll save up time planning the necessary time to reach your destination.
2. Take a deep breath and start
In most cases, the easiest part is finalizing a task. In my opinion, it is more difficult than starting it. Fear, boredom or the complexity of tasks can demotivate you. So I decided to apply the 10 minute rule: start the task and work on it for 10 minutes. You’ll notice that this way you will be able to fulfill that pesky task.
3. Make a daily plan
If you don’t really know what you must do, time management is useless. Create a list of the task you will have to do the following day. By doing so you will become more organized, while the available time you have will and can be used more efficiently. Try to name your task with short and representative titles. For example, the time spent for writing this blog article will be listed in “The To Do List” as Blog post/article: Time management”.
4. Prioritize your tasks
It is important you prioritize the types of tasks you have to do. There are important tasks and less important ones, urgent or vital, with a long time length or a short one, etc. By combining and classifying each task in accordance with these characteristics you will have some information that will help you prioritize the order in which you will execute them.
Prioritizing the tasks doesn’t take longer than 10 minutes and can be done the night before or in the morning when you’re drinking your coffee, at work, or even on the subway.
5. Deal with the most important tasks when you are most efficient
It is a well-known fact that we work more efficiently when we are rested. That is why, I’ve found that the most important tasks should be done early in the morning or within the first half of the work day. By applying this method you will not only reduce the time spend to carry out a task, but you will also increase the quality and efficiency levels which will translate into better results.
6. Focus on what you’re working on!
Take your time when you need to produce something of extremely high quality. Once you’ve begun working on a task, focus on it and it alone. Remove anything and everything that can be a distraction: mobile phone, television, Youtube playlist, Facebook, etc. If you start a task, make sure you finish it. Resist the urge or losing focus and paying attention on something else. Don’t start another task. You don’t want to end up with 10 tasks you’ve begun but none are completed.
7. Delegate tasks
Just think about the time you’re spending to complete a certain task. Time is money. A work month has, on average, 21 days, meaning 30240 minutes. If you’re earning 2000 dollars a month, one minute of your time costs 0.06 dollars.
Is that specific task you’re working on more valuable than your minute’s worth? Maybe it’s time you invest your minutes in more important tasks. Can you delegate them?
8. Don’t forget to take breaks when your body and mind tell you it’s time.
Even though it’s an easy tip to follow, it actually plays an important part. If you believe you need a break, take it. First of all, remember that you’re human so you shouldn’t overdo it. A 10 minute cigarette break every 10 minutes is inefficient. At the same time, don’t waste your breaks. Hang out with a work colleague that can help you fulfill your tasks while also learning from his experience. Discuss the ideas you have in a less formal environment.
9. Use time management tools
It is also extremely important that you register your activities. For this you need not only time planning but also evaluating it. You’ll be surprised how much time you waste on activities that bring no benefits. Use an agenda where you can write down what you must do every half an hour. Write down as frequent as possible. Don’t leave this task till the end of the day. The memory may play tricks on you.
10. Evaluate the time
Register the activities that take most of your time, followed by an evaluation period. Study the time in which you’ve done certain activities and try to see if they couldn’t have been performed any faster. As far as time management is concerned, each minute counts. If you lose it, you’re not that efficient.
11. Schedule the task duration
For a better time planning you need to know how much time to allocate for each particular task. At first it might be harder but if you manage to do it, you’ll have an easier time planning your time while also working at high efficiency levels.
12. Don’t waste time waiting
Avoid doing this mistake at all costs. Whether you’re in the subway station, waiting in line at the doctor or simply waiting for someone to come to a meeting, don’t waste time. Read a book, a report, plan what you’re going to say in your next meeting, draw up some ideas (You will be surprised to see how often great ideas come from these types of situations).
13. Be organized
Organizing your activities will reduce the time lost for nothing. Organize your work documents into folders. Organize your computer files in accordance with the projects you’re working on. Organize your emails in different folders by using filters. Don’t leave your emails unprocessed. If you are asked via email to perform a certain task, include it ASAP in the To Do List.
14. Learn to say “NO”
Don’t accept to do tasks you are not able to complete or ones that are not intended for you. Usually, such tasks take up most of your time and none of them produce good results money-wise.
15. Sleep well, eat healthy and work out
Behind any activity is a person, you. You are only human, whether you want to realize it or not. Yet, the sooner you do this, the better. You are in the position of using 50% of your time to recharge your batteries. Get a good night’s sleep so that your brain is rested and prepared for a new (productive) day at the office. Eat healthy so that your body is in top-shape. Do some jogging or other sports activities to get rid of the negative energy in your body.