Time Management Tips
8 ways to manage your time
Time is something we all wish we had more of in the day. As we grow older, we take on more responsibilities and live busier lives. Therefore, it’s extremely important to learn time management in order to live a healthy and productive life.
Here are 8 tips on how to improve time management in your life.
1- Allot times for the items on your to-do list
To-do lists can get overwhelming especially if you’re like me and you have about 17 running to-do lists at all times! Ever get to the point where you have so much on your list that you don’t know where to start? Then you just end up avoiding the tasks all together. I find that I am more effective with accomplishing my to-do list tasks when I allot specific times for them. For example, here’s one I had over Summer break:
- 6-6:30 get ready, eat, and start laundry
- 6:30-7 take care of the dogs
- 7-8:30 grocery shopping
- 8:30-10:30 work on online business course (snack in between when I felt hungry)
- 10:30-11:30 decorate for Leila’s Tea Party
- 11:30-12 lunch
- 12-1″free time” (this could include folding laundry, quick cleaning, resting, getting ready, catching up on another task from before, etc.)
- 1-4:30 volunteer at the animal shelter
- 4:30-5:30 snack, rest, and get ready for the gym
- 5:30-7 gym
- 7-7:30 shower
- 7:30-8 dinner
- 8-9:30 party prep
- 9:30-11 work on online business course again
As you can see, that was a VERY jam packed day. Did I always stick to the times perfectly? No. Will all my days be as productive as this? Probably not. However, since I had a lot to accomplish, I found so much relief in doing these tasks in a timely manner. It’s gratifying to be able to cross each one off as I accomplished them.
Be sure to allot time to get ready for things, driving places, and transition between tasks. I always prefer to give myself more time than I think I’ll need just in case. You’ll also feel less rushed that way. So even though grocery shopping only takes me an hour typically, I allotted an hour and a half just in case I was slower than usual. My sister (Leila) has a Law of Attraction planner that actually has the time slots where you can fill in your schedule for each day. It’s a bit pricey for a planner, but she really likes it and gets good use out of it as well.
2-Set a timer
Ever get carried away with a task that you spend so much time on, leaving your dozen other “to-dos” forgotten? That happens to me all the time. In fact, it’s kind of happening to me right now ironically enough. I am being productive with writing this post, but I really should be planning my meals and writing my grocery list so I can go shopping tonight. With that being said, after I finish tip two, I will be moving over to planning meals as I intended. See for me, when I am on a roll with something (like a blog post), I don’t want to stop. I feel that if I stop, I won’t be able to come back to it or my ideas won’t be flowing as much as they were.
This is where a timer can come in handy. You probably have a phone or some sort of device with a timer or alarm on it. Set a timer for when you would like to move on to the next task. When it goes off be sure to move on to the next one. You may want to set a heads up timer 10 or 15 minutes prior to the final one just so you can start wrapping that task up. You can also set timers for breaks. We’ve all had those “I’m just going to get on Facebook for 10 minutes” moments that end up turning into 45 minutes, right? Set a timer to assure that you don’t waste time being unproductive for an extended period of time.
3-Multitasking is possible
Now I’m not suggesting that you try to juggle four tasks at once, but I do believe that multitasking is possible if done in the right way. For example, while dinner is cooking in the oven for 30 minutes, use that time to sweep the kitchen or pay the bills. Have to watch a training video for work? Fold laundry, do your hair, or paint your nails at the same time. You can easily knock off a few simple, mindless items from your list by finding the right moment to multitask.
4-Prep ahead of time
I don’t like feeling rushed in the mornings before work. Plus, I worry that I’ll accidentally oversleep or some unexpected event will occur that will take my time (cat throws up and I have to clean it). So, I like to prepare as much as I can the night before. Prepare for the next day by packing your lunch, getting your breakfast ready or at least have an idea in mind, picking out your outfit, or packing your supplies (laptop bag, briefcase, etc.). These little tasks will save you time and hassle so that you have a smoother morning.
Of course, this is an obvious one. It’s easy to push things off and avoid tasks. “I’ll wake up early to finish this project in the morning. I can pack my lunch real quick in the morning. I’ll make those copies in the morning.” I personally do not like to do this because then that task lingers in my mind. Plus, I usually don’t end up waking up earlier to complete that task, so it ends up being skipped over. You’ll feel so much better knowing you got that task out of the way. You won’t have to worry about it right when you wake up which will remove some unnecessary anxiety.
Distractions can be tangible objects, situations, or even people. Probably the biggest distraction you will come across today is the internet. So, if you are someone who is glued to your phone, perhaps put it in another room or turn it off until your tasks are completed. If you know that you and your best friend will talk about subjects unrelated to your class the whole entire time during a study session, then maybe you should choose to study alone. For myself, I sometimes will give myself limits. For example, no social media usage until after 7PM.
If you noticed in my schedule above, I gave myself time to have snacks, meals, and little breaks throughout the day. If you just force yourself to work from sun up to sun down, your work will probably start to lack in quality. Then you might resent the tasks at hand and begin to push them off. Reward yourself for hard work and effort by giving yourself a break or allowing yourself to do something fun. This could be something as simple as watching your favorite YouTuber for 20 minutes if you complete a specific task. It could also be something more complex like going out to the movies after accomplishing your entire to-do list that day. I like to set out rewards ahead of time so it gives me some motivation and something to look forward to at the end.
8-Take some things off your plate
Sometimes us “yes men/women” of the world take on too much. I know I definitely fall under that category. I typically tend to over work myself and take on too many tasks. It’s almost to the point where I don’t know how to just sit and relax. In order to avoid burnout and to properly manage time, sometimes you will have to say “no”. Trust me, I know how challenging it can be to let go of some responsibilities.
For example, with starting grad school this Fall in a field totally brand new to me and working full time as a teacher, I’ve had to give up some responsibilities at work. I dropped down from two positions. Even though at first I felt like a slacker and as if I let my coworkers down, I realized it was a good decision. I can’t do my tasks well if I spread myself too thin. So if you’ve tried tips 1-7 and still find it challenging to manage your time, then perhaps it’s time to clear up your plate a bit.
Once you are able to manage your time in a more effective manner, you will start to feel some stress melt away.
Do you have any time management tips to share? Comment below!
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