Tips To Time Management Work Less and Play More
Tips To Time Management -You may notice people around you who manage to get everything on their plate done, and then some, with time to spare. How can they accomplish so much in such little time? The answer lies in time management.
Time management is the way we organize and distribute our time between activities, with the result of maximizing productivity and achieving goals. Good time management leads to lower levels of stress and higher levels of job performance and life satisfaction.
High achievers are not born productive. Rather, they’ve learned and practiced the skills needed to get more done in less time. Productivity is not a talent. It’s a learned skill that every individual will need to develop.
It is possible (and easy) to develop good time management skills. There are a wide variety of tips, tricks and methods out there to help you do just that. We’ve gathered our best 32 tips to help you make the most of your day.
Tips To Time Management
Beginning your time management journey with a plan will create a strong foundation for future habits, thereby increasing your chances of success.
Tip #1: Create a time audit. (Tips To Time Management)
First things first: start by finding out where you’re actually spending your time. Often there is a discrepancy between what you think is taking up your time and what actually is. This is because humans are bad at knowing how long tasks take.
Say for example you need to write a 300 word email. You may think: “Writing an email is simple. It shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes.” However, it’s likely you’re overestimating your speed and underestimating other smaller, related tasks you need to do to accomplish your end goal; proof-reading, monitoring language choice, and locating email addresses all can add to the task’s time. With those additions, that 5 minute email could actually take you 20 minutes, 500% more time than you initially planned.
Now say you have this same problem for multiple tasks on your plate. What was a balanced workload when you first set out is guaranteed to balloon into a stressful to-do list as the day goes on. You need to have a realistic idea of what you’re able to accomplish and what is truly taking up your time. This is why it’s beneficial to create a time audit.
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The simplest way to do a time audit is to use a time tracking application. Many companies offer free versions of their software, but Toggl Track is the simplest, free option, with apps available for all devices. To get an accurate picture of your time usage, track everything you do for a week.
At the end of the week, look at the reports and evaluate the time you spent working on different tasks. With this data, you can easily find areas to improve. For example, you may spend too much time sitting in unproductive meetings or doing busy work. Now with this knowledge, you’re able to have an accurate picture of how you spend your time and plan accordingly.
This brings us to the next tip.
Tip #2: Set achievable goals and prioritize your tasks.
If you’ve got too much to do, no amount of time management will help you accomplish it all. Now that you’ve created a time audit, you’ll be able to see if you simply need to better manage your time or if you’ve got too much on your plate.
If you think your goals are achievable, skip to tip 3. If you think you’re trying to accomplish too much, try creating an Eisenhower matrix or using the 4 Ds of time management: Do, Defer, Delegate and Delete. Both methods help prioritize by having you put your tasks into one of 4 groups:
- Do Tasks that are important and urgent.
- Defer Tasks that are important but not urgent.
- Delegate Tasks that are urgent but not important.
- Delete Tasks that are neither urgent nor important.
Using these methodologies will help you determine what tasks you should prioritize and what tasks you should schedule and plan for, delegate, or delete.
Whatever your goals are, they should also be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.
Tip #3: Create a daily plan or to-do list.
This can be made in either the first block of your workday or the last few minutes. Use either of those chunks of time to create a daily to-do list.
When you’re creating your to-do list, make sure to keep it simple. Seeing a half-done lists day after day can be disheartening. It’s better to under promise and overdeliver, even when it comes to personal productivity.
Word your list items as if you’ve already completed them. Instead of “Submit Report to Project Manager” write “Report to Project Manager Submitted.” This little trick will give you an extra boost of motivation when you go to cross the tasks off your list.
Tip #4: Plan your week on Sunday.
Walking into your workweek with a plan will help you focus on your top priorities. It also eases the transition from the carefree weekend mindset to a productive Monday morning “work brain.”
Take a few minutes on Sunday to create a plan for your whole week. Increase your chances of success by breaking down your weekly goals into daily tasks. That way you’ll be able to see what you need to do every day at a glance.
Set yourself up for success by scheduling low-priority tasks for Fridays and other low-energy times. Remember, your energy and creativity levels fluctuate throughout the week. Complete creative and demanding tasks on Tuesday and Wednesday. Schedule meetings for Thursday, when your team’s energy starts to decline. Use your Fridays and Mondays for planning and networking.
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