We all have the same 24 hours in a day to work with, but how do you squeeze the most out of that time to get real time-saving results? It’s not about working harder, as that will only get you so far. Rather, it’s about planning and structuring your time, and then maximizing the time you have planned. With the right time management tips, you can master your day and get more done in less time.
1. Plan Your Week When You’re at Your Most Organized
Planning your week is one of the most crucial time management tips. It creates a time-saving habit and can positively impact your mindset and well-being. When you plan your week, you’re making a series of small, positive promises to yourself. Every time you deliver on them, your confidence grows, and you feel better about yourself.
Plan your week when you’re in a focused state of mind and decide what’s important for you. During the week, you’re less likely to do something else during those pre-planned slots, as you can remind yourself that you planned it for a reason. Keep those promises to yourself, and you’ll see real time-saving results.
2. Plan the Following Workday for a Relaxed Evening
Some people struggle with closure after the working day, which can prevent them from relaxing in the evening. By planning the following workday, you can calm your mind and enjoy your evening without worrying about work.
Write down ten tasks you want to complete the next day, and add an ‘H’ for high priority to at least one of them. Then, add ‘M’ for medium priority to five tasks, which are important but manageable, and ‘L’ for low priority to any remaining tasks. With this plan in hand, you can leave work with all of those nagging tasks written down and ready to tackle the next day.
3. Control Your Day so It Doesn’t Control You
Planning your day is the most impactful time management tip you can do. It allows you to control your day rather than letting it control you. Grab a pencil and notepad and break your day down into 30-minute segments, and add the ones with fixed commitments like meetings. Then, add high priority tasks to these slots.
If you still have free time slots, use them for easy, quick tasks to build momentum and give yourself the right mindset to tackle more challenging work. By planning out your day, you’ll stay on track and be more productive.
4. Manage Distracting Work Colleagues Wisely
No matter how well you plan, distractions can still ruin your focus and productivity. Work colleagues are often the source of such distractions, so use this time management tip to manage them wisely.
At the start of each day, ask your most distracting colleagues if they need anything from you. By doing this, you’re making them plan without even realizing it, and you have a better chance of avoiding random requests later in the day.
5. Deal with Emails on Your Terms
Managing your inbox can feel like a full-time job, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling productive by sending and receiving loads of emails. However, emails can be a form of procrastination, which results in even less actual productivity.
Plan for when you’ll read and respond to emails rather than constantly checking them throughout the day. You should only check your emails three times a day to reduce stress and stay in control. Look at your job requirements and decide how often to check your email, but don’t make it more than three times. This approach ensures that you stay productive and in control of your inbox, rather than the other way around.
6. Remove Electronic Distractions and Become Present
Mobile and laptop notifications are often accepted distractions, but they don’t have to be. Go through your notification settings and only leave the critical ones on, like phone calls. Turn off notifications for apps that distract you, and don’t leave the badge feature on your mobile or desktop apps. You don’t need to know how many emails you have in your inbox at any one time, especially if you’ve planned out when you’ll check your emails. Turning off these notifications will decrease distractions and increase your focus and productivity.
7. Hit the Timer and Go Deep with Your Focus
Distractions usually occur when you’ve finished a task, lost interest, or been interrupted. It takes an average of 23 minutes to refocus after a distraction, which is why setting a timer can help you stay focused. By setting a timer, you make a promise to yourself that you won’t be distracted or work on anything else until the timer ends.
Try different lengths of time to see what works for you, for example, using the Pomodoro Technique for 25 minutes. By remaining fully focused for a set amount of time, you’ll be amazed at how much you can get done.
8. Find Out What You Should Not Be Spending Your Time On
Distractions like social media, email, and other non-work activities can occupy our time and prevent us from doing the things that matter. Identify what distracts you, make a list of those activities, and find ways to limit or eliminate that time you spend on them. By doing this, you’ll be more productive and efficient with your time.
In conclusion, implementing these time management tips can help you get more done in less time and create better work-life balance. The key is to repeat them until they become habits. With time and persistence, managing your time and maximizing your productivity will become second nature. By doing so, you’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish each day.