5 Tactics To Help You Manage Your Time Better
Do you manage your time, or does you time manage you?
Many of us have so much on our to-do lists and so little time to take on those tasks. But we all get the same 24 hours in each day. One way of being about to accomplish all that you desire is to be more effective in how you manage your time. Because after all, managing your time correctly is one way of managing your stress before your stress manages you.
So, if you’ve noticed that you don’t manage your time as well as you’d like throughout the day, you’re in the right place. In this post, I’m going to jump right in to five simple, yet effective time management tactics you should incorporate into your everyday life. It’s all about making time.
5 Time Management Tips
1. Track It
If I asked you how long you spend reading emails every day, what would you say? What about your breaks? Chances are, you don’t really know how long you spend on certain time blocks of the day. Which is understandable because it’s easy to become engrossed in an activity and lose track of time.
The way to become aware of how you’re using your time is to start tracking it. Once you know exactly where your time goes, then you can plan to make the necessary changes so you can maximize it.
There are many ways to do this, you could use an app like freelances do that allow you to track how much time you spend on each project. If you’re less electronically inclined, an Excel spreadsheet, or calendar with blocks of time listed will work just as well.
2. Block It Out
When you know that you have a specific number set of tasks to do every day, one way to ensure that you don’t spend too much time on one task is to set up time blocks or time chunks for yourself.
You can make longer blocks by giving yourself 2 hours to do one thing and then 1 hour the next. Or you can use a shorter popular style of time blocking known as the Pomodoro Technique.
In the Pomodoro Technique, which was created by Francisco Cirillo in the 1980s, you use 25-minute time blocks in which you only concentrate on doing one task. For that 25-minute time block, that one task has your full attention, you become immersed in it. Once you’ve completed your time chunk, you put a checkmark on paper and take quick break.
After your break, you’re ready for another round of Pomodoro. After you’ve done four Pomodoros you can take a longer break of at least 30 minutes.
The Pomodoro Technique really allows you to get stuff done while increasing your ability to focus.
If you really wanna make things interesting, let your inner competitor out by thinking of time chunking as a competition in which you’re working to beat the clock, competing against yourself. How much of your project can you get done during the established time? Can you beat your previous record while still maintaining the quality of your work?
3. Plan It Out
One way to make it easier to track your time and use time blocks is by having a plan. This is something that will work whether you’re a morning person or a night owl.
Use the beginning and the end of your day to make your plan and in between, try your best to stick to it. It should only take a few minutes each day to create your plan.
How do you do it?
At the end of your workday, write a list of the important tasks you want to get done the next day (but don’t make it too long). 3 – 5 main tasks are optimal. In the morning, review the items and prioritize your list. Then, get to work so you can have the satisfaction of crossing each of the items off of your list.
4. Get It Out Of The Way
Eat that frog! For those of you who’re wondering, “what the heck is she talking about?” Brian Tracy wrote a book by that title describing a time management process.
Prioritize your most important and most dreaded, tasks first, and get them done as the very first thing off of your to-do list when starting your day. It’ll be such a relief once you finish those tasks that you’ll be motivated. And then the rest of your day can be devoted to completing those tasks that you’re more interested in or at the very least find less difficult.
5. Delegate When You Can
If you have a task on your plate that someone else do (especially if they’re able to do it better than you can), don’t think twice about it and just delegate that task to them. It’s not about work ethic, it’s about teamwork and being able to ask for help when you need it.
The key to this is understanding what your specific zone of genius is and using your time for those important tasks that fall within your zone, while handing off things that you aren’t great at or that are below your paygrade.
Don’t stress yourself out over incorporating these techniques into your day as that would defeat the purpose of using these techniques. Keep at it. Time management is an art worth perfecting and you’ll get there. Keep checking in with yourself (and the clock 😊), to make sure you’re really optimizing the hours in your day.
And if it turns out that you’re not, fear not! There’s always tomorrow. It’s a constant work in progress, so do your best, have patience with yourself and the rest will fall in place.
Let’s talk. Which of these time management techniques is first on your list to try? Let me know in the comments section.
Cassandra Martin-Himmons is a trainer, wellness coach and consultant who believes in empowering her clients and providing the tools that they need to make positive changes in their lives to manage their stress and increase their self-care. In her spare time, she enjoys papercrafting, volunteering and travel. Connect with her on Instagram or Linked/In