Time management is so important in all aspects life. If you want to fit gym time into your day, time management can help. If you want to figure out the most efficient way to finish up that home project, time management can get you there. For almost any and all things dealing with daily life, getting a handle on how your time is spent and understanding how to best utilize the 24 hours we’re all given each day, mastering your own time management can help you go a long way.
Here are my top 5 tips for how to do just that:
Establishing your top three tasks for each day ensures that you’re prioritizing what’s most important for that particular day. Some might think narrowing it down to just three is a bit limiting, but it’s quite the opposite. Choosing three top tasks forces you to pick the most important ones if you have a long list of tasks. It forces you to focus on only those and to provide your undivided attention to them until the tasks are complete. Of course, there might be a few more mundane tasks to round out your day, like feeding the dog, folding laundry, etc., but the focus should be placed on those tasks that require your most creative and/or productive self to get done.
This means just what it says – schedule everything! Feeding the dog? Put it on the calendar. Folding the laundry? Put it on the calendar. This is simplest to do for those of us who might use a daily planner to organize our lives. However, it can apply to anyone seeking to better use their time.
Giving each of your daily tasks a spot on your calendar helps you visualize the amount of time spent on each event. For example, you might assume writing out a new blog post would only take 20 minutes, but in reality, after scheduling the time on your calendar, you might find that each post takes you about 45 minutes. That’s a big deal when you’re trying to get the most out of your day. It’ll help you to be more realistic with your expectations. Hopefully, it’ll also help to prevent you from beating yourself up about not meeting those unrealistic expectations you might have placed on yourself.
I like to use my Apple calendar to plot out my days, and I use it to keep track of how long certain recurring tasks will take me. As I get better at understanding the time needed for each task, I get better at managing my overall time.
Set A Timer
Once you have a handle on the general length of time it takes to complete specific tasks, setting a timer can also be really helpful. If you know a post takes 45 minutes to write, setting a timer for 1 hour will help you focus on that specific task. Once the timer goes off, that signifies that blog post writing is over for the day and it’s time to move on to the next task. Using timers can also be beneficial for those of us who might otherwise get distracted. I know I can sometimes get distracted by Instagram & Twitter when I should be working. You can reward yourself by saying if the post is written before the timer goes off, you can use the remaining time to surf social media. This might help to keep you in the flow of being your most productive self.
Set A Cut-Off Time
For me, managing my time efficiently means, not only am I checking off everything on my to-do list, but I’m also giving myself the time I need to refuel. Setting a cut-off time for “work” is extremely important because it notifies your brain of when it’s time to relax. After you’ve completed all the work you can get done in the time you’ve allotted yourself for the day, whatever didn’t get done can be moved to the next day. (This is also why I like to use Apple calendar because I can just drag the task to another day.) And this “work” I’m referencing can be anything from cleaning the house, to prepping meals for the week, to completing tasks for your actual job. No matter what the tasks are, setting a defined “work” timeframe on your daily calendar helps us to prevent burnout and undue stress.
Outsource, where possible
Finally, my last tip would be to outsource your daily tasks if possible. Not all of us are at a level where we can hire an assistant, but there are so many small things we can outsource to ensure that our time is being used most efficiently. Ordering through a grocery delivery service might be better for you instead of using 2 hours of your day at the grocery store. Paying that $10-$15 delivery charge might be well worth the hassle of “losing” productivity time in your schedule. The same can be said for hiring help to clean around the house, hiring a blog copy writer to write those posts, or hiring a dog walker. There are usually at least a few tasks that can be taken off your plate and delegated to others. For those of us who would rather spend our time more efficiently, sites like Fiverr and Task Rabbit brings this option into (a more affordable) reach.