Have you ever heard people say, “I wish I had 48 hours a day?”
Many hours of our lives slip through the fingers because of distractions, procrastination, focusing on the wrong tasks, or fearing facing what’s truly important. The reality is – we are stuck with 24 hours, so instead of wishing the impossible, let’s focus on being more productive with our time.
Fun fact: 96% of people check their mobile phone within one hour of waking up in the morning, and 61% take a look at their phone within the first 5 minutes!!
Time management is a skill to allocate your time among tasks, activities, relationship building, rest, and more. Whether you are a business owner, corporate executive, employee, or college student, being able to manage your time well is important; it allows you to work smarter, enhance productivity, and reduces stress, which will lead you to a more fulfilling life.
Tips on time management
Time management is an important skill when it comes to achieving your goals. Below are some tips for becoming more productive through better time management.
Set goals and give yourself deadlines
I’ve written numerous times about the importance of setting SMART goals, which is also critical for enhancing your productivity. Break your goals into smaller, achievable, and less daunting tasks and set a deadline for each.
I have a habit of checking my calendar and planning for the next day before I turn off my phone at night. This daily habit not only helps me set goals and take better control of my time, but it also most importantly helps me be productive as soon as I start my new day.
Plan ahead and prioritize your to-dos
Plan your day ahead, write down the to-dos on your planner or notebook, and prioritize them. Eisenhower Matrix and 80/20 rule are two great tools to help you prioritize your tasks; the former helps you assess tasks based on importance vs urgency, and the later helps you identify what tasks have the most impact.
Remember to assign time and place for what you intend to do, and make sure you finish them before moving on to other tasks.
Skip “them” first thing in the morning
I used to have the habit of checking emails and social media first thing in the morning. Before I knew it, so much time had slipped through my fingers. You?
Instead of letting social media control you, make a habit to allocate dedicated and limited time for emails and social media so you remain in control.
Use time blocks
Using time block is another great way to effectively manage your time. I personally use this strategy when I work on my blogposts. I set 60 minutes as one block, and I usually do 2 blocks at a time to work on them. This helps me stay focused and at the same time gives me healthy pressure to finish what I set out to complete in time.
Take a break between tasks
Taking a break between tasks not only allows you to clear your head, stretch, and refresh yourself, this pause also gives you the opportunity to assess progress and refocus on the right things.
Minimize distractions and noises
It’s crucial to minimize or remove unnecessary distractions and non-essential activities which will free up more time for you to focus on the important stuff. For example, if you are easily distracted by phone notifications, turning your phone off or switching it to the silent mode will tremendously help you focus and improve your time management.
Turn off your inner perfectionist
I’ve worked with quite a few perfectionists who take pride in delivering only the highest-quality work according to their standard of perfection. Perfection can be unrealistic and hold you back from completing your tasks. Set realistic goals, achieve them, and move onward!
It’s very attempting to say yes when you see all kinds of exciting opportunities, and you end up burying yourself and overcommitting. Saying no is hard, and it takes conscious decision and effort to help you stay focused and on track. Remind yourself to pause for 10 seconds before you say yes next time.
Does your procrastination stop you from being a productive contributor in life? If so, read my post, “overcoming procrastination.”
Identify and keep a distraction list
What diverts your attention? Is it your phone, internet browsing, social media, interruption from people, fatigue, emotion, or noises around you? Identify and write them down and the list will help you take a better control of your distractions.
One task at a time
Do you multitask to save time? Research shows that one task at a time not only helps you stay focused but also gets the job done faster, while multitasking takes time and effort to adjust switching from one task to another. On top of that, I personally truly enjoy crossing things off on my to-do list and feel accomplished.
You don’t have to do everything yourself. When needed, delegate tasks to someone who has the right skills, experience, and can even do a better job than you can. It is, however, important to clearly explain the scope of the tasks, deadlines, and your expectations of the outcome. Make sure you check in regularly and provide needed help along the way to ensure the success of it.
Effective time management, along with other factors, contributes to your personal and professional success. It’s an ongoing process that requires your awareness, desire, discipline, and commitment; however, as I wrote in the beginning, it will ultimately reduce stress and enable you to live a more fulfilling and successful life. Go ahead and give the above tips a try and evaluate how they work for you from time to time. I am positive that you will enjoy the benefits of better time management. If you have any questions or need support, reach out!
About Faye Weng
Your Online Life and Career Coach
Faye Weng is an expert life and career coach who works with clients to take back control of their lives by rediscovering their passions, living/working with a clear purpose, and becoming people who can positively impact the communities around them. As your life and career coach, Faye will help you minimize noises and distractions, focus your effort and attention on the right things, execute a clear plan of action, and celebrate alongside of you when each milestone is reached. Click here to book a complimentary session.