Each of us is guilty of searching for some time management tips but not implementing them sooner in our lives. Whether you’re working from home or remotely, the importance of time management cannot be ignored in your overall productivity.
Time management was already a challenge during normal times. The pandemic has amplified the difficulties to multiple folds. Time management for students is difficult because they have no routine and discipline left in their lives. Time management for employees is difficult because there is no separation between personal and professional anymore.
Thus, I am sharing some tried, tested, and effective time management tips for you to help you scale your productivity and gain back the control you lack in your life.
17 Effective Time Management Tips to Gain Back Control in Your Life
1. Reflect on your present time management
The first step towards improving your time management is to reflect on your daily life. You need to figure out where your time is going. Conducting a time audit will help you understand how many tasks you can accomplish in a day. It will help you identify your time-suckers like unproductive thoughts, useless conversations, and other mundane activities. This will lead you to focus on activities that will provide the greatest returns on your efforts.
2. Set SMART goals
Your goals are the reason you want to improve your time management. The ground rule is to understand what you want and why you want it. Setting goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely is the second step. When you have your long-term goals clear in front of you, you must break them into small everyday tasks to complete. This is how you will keep yourself from feeling overwhelmed and manage your time effectively.
3. Plan your week on Sunday evening
Sundays are meant to rest and rewind. But, dedicating a few minutes in the evening to plan your week can change your time management drastically. You can use a digital planner or maintain a diary or notebook to do this. Your weekly work plan lists all the important tasks that should be completed within that week itself. The goal is to not push these tasks into the next week and complete them on the designated days.
4. Maintain an everyday to-do list
Before going to bed, make sure you dedicate some time to reflect on your day and build your to-do list for the next day. Every morning you have to follow the “eat that frog” method. This method says you must select the three most important tasks for the day. You should start your day with the most demanding tasks. An everyday to-do list will free your brain capacity by giving you a bigger picture of the day’s work schedule and preparing you for the next day.
5. Prioritize ruthlessly and target to be early
No matter how efficiently you plan, you may lose out on some tasks during the day. Prioritization is the key to effective time management. You must learn to prioritize the important tasks and let go of the rest of them for the day. You should also prioritize completing these tasks before time, not on time. Mostly when you wait to work just before the deadline is near, you are most likely to miss it. Train your mind to be early instead of on time.
6. Stop multitasking
This might sound simple but it is the most difficult to follow. To enhance your time management, it is significant that you improve your focus on the present tasks. Resisting the urge to multitask can be hard. Constant notifications on our phones and laptops can contribute to the struggle. By multitasking, you only lose your time and decrease your productivity by switching from one task to another. Thus, you must take it one task at a time.
7. Try time blocking
Time blocking means assigning time limits to your tasks. Instead of working until the end of the task, have time blocks for them. Making a to-do list is of no use if you never check off the tasks. Time blocking adds a steady pace to your workflow. You can try the Pomodoro Technique to help you check off your to-do list and reduce your mental stress. It says you work for 25 minutes, take 5-minute breaks, and repeat this four times until you take a longer break.
8. If it can be done in 3 minutes or less, do it right away.
9. Have organized work systems
You might have to set a few hours aside for this on your to-do list. It is vital to have organized work systems to implement effective time management. Whether that’s manual or digital, your work systems play a crucial role in both saving and wasting your time. You should not spend hours finding a paper or document because you don’t know where it is. Whether it’s your work table or your Google Drive, clean them once a month to reap long-term benefits.
10. Take breaks regularly
Yes, taking breaks also counts as a time management tip. Make them a part of your schedule. Reward yourself with a few minutes away from your screen when you finish a big task. Taking mini-breaks in between work is not just important to pause and breathe but they are also important for your physical health. Small breaks to go for a short walk, play a quick game, meditate, etc all of this helps refresh the mind as well.
11. Learn to Say No
Your time management efforts can go in vain if you don’t learn to say no. Becoming efficient at your work and doing it all is great. But, learning to say no is very important for the effective implementation of your plans. You truly know what you have time for. So, if you need to decline some requests that you understand will overpower your main tasks, you shouldn’t hesitate to do that. Hence, you’ve to be mindful and focus on your efforts accordingly.
12. Outsource work when possible
If you find a great opportunity and want to take it up despite your rigid work schedule, choose to outsource. Honestly, delegating your work is the hardest skill to learn. But, it amplifies both your personal and professional time management. No matter how small your business is if you can hire people, do it. You don’t have to be a one-person show. Delegating work to reliable people will take off your load to focus on other important things.
13. Take advantage of your productive hours
Did you know your body has its productive hours? Ever heard someone call themselves a morning person or a night owl? There are scientific reasons behind this. The human species is divided into four categories based on their sleep chronotypes: the lion, the bear, the wolf, and the dolphin. Your sleep chronotypes help you find the time of the day when you are most productive.
14. Try working in batches
Batch working on similar types of tasks is a great way to improve your time management. It saves you both time and mental energy because you don’t want to do some type of work on different days during the week. With batch creation, you get into the flow of working and it amplifies your creativity for those tasks. This gives you better results. For example; have specific hours dedicated to answering emails, making phone calls, content creation, etc.
15. Declutter your workspace
Whether it’s your mail inbox or your workspace table, a cluttered and messed-up workspace only adds to laziness. There is no point in filling your inbox with unwanted emails. Delete the ones you don’t need. Unsubscribe from email lists that don’t add value to your life. Clear the mess on your work table. Collect the scattered paper and organize them in the files. All of these add to your productivity and help you follow all these time management tips.
16. Break your bad habits
None of you are naive enough to not understand your time wasters. When you reflect on your present schedule as mentioned in the first point, acknowledge what takes your time away. Is it your social media? It is Netflix? Is it your habit of checking your emails constantly? Take control of your bad habits and start by backing off from them. If it’s your phone, keep it away from your eyesight while working. Out of sight out of mind does get real in this concern.
17. Realize that time management is a myth
Whether you are the founder of a start-up or a small business owner, whether you are an employee of a leading company or the CEO of a multi-billion company, you cannot manage time. You have to manage yourself. All of us have 24 hours a day. Time doesn’t change according to us, we have to manage our 24 hours effectively. You have to train your mind every day to build habits that don’t waste your time but improve your time management.
I understand that the last subheading might have blown your mind away. But, as I said, we all have 24 hours and we have to manage them ourselves.
These time management tips will help you foster a growth mindset and build your productivity levels by establishing sustainable habits.
According to a psychology study, it takes 66 days to build a habit. So, don’t beat yourself up to make these happen in a short period. Start by implementing small changes to your schedules and increase your efforts as you progress.
I hope these tips were helpful to you. Do let me know if you try any of these.
You can reach out to me on my social media platforms anytime.
I’ll see you next week.
Have a great time managing your time 😉