We’re all crunched for time and there never seems to be quite enough hours in the day. However, by establishing essential time management strategies, you’ll get things done while remaining productive, calm, and accomplished.
Value your time.
One of the first steps to better managing your time is to recognize its value. Let’s say you think your time is worth $50/hour. If you start to envision time this way, you’ll be less likely to waste it scrolling on social media or binge-watching TV. 30 minutes here and there adds up quickly. Make the most of your time by checking items off your to-do list and working to achieve your goals.
Plan first. Execute later.
Spending just 10-30 minutes each morning (or better yet, the night before) getting ready for what’s to come will ensure you have a clear plan heading into your day. Outline what you need to get done, what task needs to be prioritized first, and how you can prepare for a successful tomorrow. Once your plan is in place, execute it with enthusiasm!
Even if you’re not a natural morning person, commit to waking up early and getting your day started on the right foot. Add movement to your morning routine with an invigorating walk or yoga stretches before starting on your to-do list. Having a defined morning routine sets you up for a successful rest of your day.
Perfection isn’t possible.
Don’t get hung up on making everything perfect, every time. While you want to always do your best work, spending hours on every aspect of your project isn’t realistic. Instead, set a clear deadline for yourself and stick to it. What you have completed when your allotted time is over needs to be good enough. If a task doesn’t require your personal touch, you may be able to delegate it to someone else.
Taking ownership of your time is all about setting boundaries that ensure your time is yours. This requires being clear on when you are and are not available. Controlling your controllables, such as setting limits on the number of decisions you need to make and being mindful of the time you spend commuting—are two productive places to start.
On your decision making.
Rather than wasting time wondering what to wear or what to eat for lunch, try to keep these choices simple. Limit your clothing options (and lay your outfit out the night before). Keep to a similar—healthy—lunch every day, so your selection is as simple as possible. This will leave your brain with more space for the important decisions you need to make throughout your day.
On your commute.
Set limits on how long you spend unproductively driving each day. If you do have to drive, listen to educational or motivational podcasts. However, if you can, move your meetings to “off-peak” hours, so you’re less likely to be stuck in traffic. Try working from home one day or asking if a team member is willing to come to you. You’ll save tons of time that you can use to make connections or send follow up emails instead.
Perform weekly reviews.
Find a few minutes to go over what went well last week. Then, reflect on what you can improve upon for the week to come.
- Calendar: Were there unnecessary gaps in your schedule that could have been filled with more important items? Or too many overlapping activities that need a little more breathing room next week?
- Email: Make it your goal to get your email inbox down to zero! Take time to clear out the clutter as you respond to emails, file them away, or unsubscribe from the email list entirely. You’ll breathe easier knowing that you don’t have a bunch of “pending” tasks looming next week.
- Goals: Could you have tackled even more goals last week? Did you reach the ones you set for yourself? Spend time analyzing and adjusting your expectations.
In sum, if your brain’s getting burnt out, take a break. If you need to eat, take a shower, attend a doctor’s appointment—make the time! Give yourself grace and leave gaps in your schedule for moments of calm. For instance, by blocking off “buffer” minutes between meetings, you’ll ensure you aren’t running late if the traffic is worse than expected. This will also allow time for looking over your notes before your next task. Time is precious, and we hope that these tips will ultimately provide you with more time to do whatever it is YOU want to do with your time.
Are you trying to manage your time but too busy getting distracted? Learn to regain your focus, here.