Everyone dreams of having more time. More time to carry out tasks at work, devote to hobbies and family or just spend it with yourself. Not everyone knows that using just a few tricks will make your day longer. How about spending more time living outside the office?
Effective time management methods are different for each person. What works for one person will not necessarily work for someone with a different kind of personality. So let us experiment. Let us try new things, different solutions, and then we will surely achieve the optimum and greatly improve our time management skills.
1. Find out how much time you are wasting — note down all your activities.
Give yourself a week to explore what activities you spend your time doing. Start by keeping a diary of all of your activities this week, whether it is conversations, analyses, writing reports, or just thinking about the tasks that need doing. Be sure not to forget to note down how much time each activity has taken.
This will help you understand how much you can do during the day and how much time you spend on specific tasks. You will see which actions led to concrete effects and which were completely unproductive.
2. Plan and set priorities.
What should be the last activity that you perform each day? Planning your next day! This will allow you to sleep peacefully and a good night’s sleep is the basis for high productivity. But, in fact, the plan can also be made at the beginning of the day — what really counts is getting things done.
When scheduling tasks, you should set priorities. 20% of the action usually translates into 80% of the results (Pareto principle). Therefore, try to determine which tasks are most important and start with them. Are you having trouble with setting priorities? Split tasks into those that are important and urgent using the so-called Eisenhower’s matrix. This American president used to say:
“What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.”
3. Set goals and verify achievements.
Take a few minutes to think about what you want to accomplish by completing the task. This will allow you to determine what kind of final result can be considered a success. After completing the task, take a few more minutes to evaluate it. Was the goal achieved? If not, think about why and use those conclusions to do better.
4. Know yourself.
Get to know yourself. Find out at what time of day you the most productive. There is no recipe for it, you just have to watch yourself. There are people who are better at working in the morning and those who prefer working after lunch. Save the most difficult tasks for this time as they need your full potential.
5. Assertiveness is good for you.
Do not let it bother you when you have to focus on the task. We do not work in a vacuum, it often happens that someone really needs something from us. But in that situation, determine whether it is an emergency and our reaction is needed immediately, or if the problem can wait until we finish work on the current task.
6. Multitasking is bad for you.
Perhaps some people will come to the realization that, in today’s rushed world, multitasking is not so good. By doing many things at once, nothing is usually done in the end.
Focus on one task and accomplish it. Multitasking is the enemy of productivity. When we start many tasks at the same time, the mind is focused on many details and jumping from one task to another makes you lose time and energy to remember the details of each task.
7. Stop constantly checking your email.
All messages are important, but some messages are more important than others. Learn to tell which ones need your immediate attention and do not concern yourself with the others for the time being. Constantly checking your inbox makes you lose focus and draws your attention away from the task at hand. Unfortunately, the same goes for social media.
8. Fight disorder.
Mess annoys you, decreases your productivity, makes you lose your time. And this does not only apply to the mess on your desk and in your workspace. Working on your computer is much more frustrating when your documents, both offline and online, are not in proper order. Saving files to your desktop may be the quickest way, but you should also consider the time you then spend searching for them. It is best to properly organize a folder system and keep track of which documents are saved where and when, and you should then stick to those rules.
9. Learn to delegate tasks.
Of course, not everyone can afford the comfort of hiring co-workers but take into account that your time is very valuable. Sometimes it is much cheaper to outsource tasks than to work on them alone. Especially when it comes to tasks which we have no experience doing and someone could do them better and faster.
10. Try to work slowly.
Contrary to popular opinion, trying to work as quickly as possible will not produce positive results. Hurry slowly or work at your own, optimal pace.
Remember that you cannot do everything on your own! Many people take on too many tasks in a very short time.
Effective time management mostly relies on its optimal use in the consistent pursuit of your goal. This can involve a specific task, a long-term activity or a solid rest. The art of good time management is not a gift with which one is born, but rather a skill that can be developed.