Do you work late hours to meet up with deadlines? Are you always too busy that you miss out on other relevant activities? These are all signs that you may not be managing your time effectively. Time flies by so quickly. Once it’s gone, you’re never getting it back. Time management is a necessity to achieve mindblowing feats in life. If you’re not managing time effectively, you stand to lose a lot in every aspect of your life. So, it’s time for the big question. ‘How do you manage time effectively?’
There are 24 hours in a day (8 hours nap time included). When you wake up in the morning, your mind flashes quickly through all the things you didn’t do during the previous day. ‘How do I fit in these cumbersome activities into 14 hours?’ You may ask. Time management isn’t about doing all your tasks at once or in a day. It’s about making your work easier, faster, and stress-free. It’s about understanding the important things and time-wasters.
In this article, we’ll be looking at all the ways you can manage your time effectively without hassle.
Determine and set your goals
- Setting goals will help you focus on your results.
Have you realized that your hands are always doing something? You feel the adrenaline coursing through your veins, making you believe you’re getting a lot of things done. But at the end of the day, you realize that although you have been doing a lot, you were only doing a lot of the wrong this. You achieved nothing.
Your goals aren’t at the back of your mind.
- Setting goals will motivate you.
Writing down your goals increases the chance that you’ll act on it. Getting the right things done at the right time is much better than just getting things done.
For instance, a scientist can write a great report, but if the research is obsolete, they’ve wasted their time and money.
- Do you worry about what your goals should be or how to set them?
You can make use of SMART goals. In other words, ask yourself these questions. Are my goals specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound?
Stop setting vague goals.
Have you noticed when you say you’re going to have lunch with Kate someday, most times you end up not accomplishing it? Why not make a SMART goal ‘I will have lunch with Kate on May 30th by 1’o clock’.
You shouldn’t just say I want to organize my room; you have to pick a specific date and time and get it done.
So, what do you want to accomplish today, in the next five months, next year, next five years? Now is the time to start thinking and working on it.
Know what is eating your time
So many times, you jump right in. You find yourself working a lot, but at the end of the day, you don’t know how you spent the time. Start by finding out all the activities you partake in throughout the day or week. You’ll be shocked at the amount of time you spend on some irrelevant things. Some of the things you can do away with include watching TV for so long, attending unproductive meetings, or chatting for hours non-stop on social media.
Ask yourself these questions ‘Why am I doing this?’ ‘How will this help me accomplish my goals?’ It’s time to start eliminating the non-essentials.
Analyze where you spend your time. Most people don’t know the difference between the time used and the time wasted. From today, focus on what is significant and deserving of your time.
Tackle important things first
There are times where you can have a lot on your plate. Juggling school, work, family time, and other activities together can be overwhelming, even Superman needs a break sometimes.
Tackle activities and tasks that are important over the less important ones.
You can start with your most important tasks in the morning. It could be that book you want to read, your work schedule for the week, that group meeting, or that house chore. Move your bulky work or stressful tasks to the morning when you feel energized. You’ll have the momentum to tackle them effectively.
Don’t you love that feeling after finishing that important task in the morning, knowing you have your whole day ahead of you to focus on other things?
You can Say NO or Delegate
Some people take pride in juggling too many tasks at once. I’ve got news for you. Even with four arms, it’s difficult to be effective while handling so much.
Taking on so many activities at once is taking it too far. No man is an island. So, you should stop trying to handle everything on your own. It’s ok to say no or delegate tasks when they are too much or you’re occupied.
- Maybe it’s time for you to ask for help on that assignment.
- You can say no to customers when you’ve not fulfilled the orders at hand. All these will free time up for you to focus on the task at hand or on other things.
- You can break the tasks into chunks if you can’t delegate it to someone else.
- To manage time more effectively, you can set out time for each little task increasing the chances for completion.
Focus on the task at hand
‘I’ll give my good friend, Jake a call while I write this article. I will also check what’s trending on Twitter, check out my fan mails, and still finish this article on time right?‘
This is not only poor time management but also shows a lack of concentration.
You spend more time working when you focus on multiple things. Without focus, you can’t produce quality work.
I won’t call Jake till I complete this article.’
Sometime’s there’s fun in multitasking. But when it gets too much, you may never complete any of those tasks.
If you’ve started a task, see it to the end before jumping to something else entirely. This shows you’re using your time effectively. You can put your phone away or in silent mode, listen to music, or find a quiet place to work. Focus on this one task and avoid these pitfalls.
Distractions affect how well you manage your time. Emails from co-workers, phone calls from friends, and the latest episode of Money heist are things we all love to spend our time on. But while working, they break your concentration and prevent you from completing that important tasks in a timely fashion.
Replying messages on social media and tackling your work at the same time can cause you to spend hours without accomplishing anything.
Find out what is distracting you and put a stop to it. Put off that television. Drop that phone. Move to another room. Do whatever it takes to reduce distractions so you can manage your time effectively.
‘I’ll do it some other time, I’ve always delivered eventually, so why not?’ This is how procrastination starts for most of us.
Procrastination is the thief of time. The best time to spend on that work is NOW. When you put things down for later, the time never comes. Then, you start panicking.
If the work at your 9 to 5 job ends on Friday, wouldn’t it feel better to complete it that day instead of running around on Sunday to get it done? You can break down your work if it looks daunting. Also, try to surround yourself with people who take action. You’ll become more proactive with your tasks.
Have a To-Do list
This is your time saver. Even Einstein will find it tough trying to remember every single task or activity he has to do in a day. Your To-Do list will always set you right on what to do next. It helps you manage your time effectively.
- Have a daily, weekly, or monthly To-Do list.
- Use a notepad, a diary, or apps on your smartphone to make your lists.
- Daily goals should be steps to achieving long term goals.
- Make a list for the next day every evening. It’ll help you be on top of things and remain organized.
- List your daily tasks in order of importance from high priority to low priority.
- Keep track of tasks or activities you’ve accomplished.
Refresh with breaks
It’s ok to take a break; you’re not a hamster running on a wheel.
I know you’re scared of that deadline, I am too. Working for long periods without a break can burn you out, make you lose interest, and affect the quality of your work.
Let’s assume two students are working on their homework. The first student tackles it for four hours at a stretch. The other student attends the same homework but takes small breaks. Who do you think is managing his time effectively?
Breaks are a breath of fresh air for your brain and mind. You can go for a short walk, sit down quietly, grab a cup of coffee, or meditate. Taking these breaks is not time-wasting. It’s effective time management that will take your productivity to another level.
Make Use of Technology
We live in a modern world where we can use technology to manage time. What you can do is to find the right app or tool for your needs. There are lots of time management apps and tools available for Android, IOS devices, and even businesses on the internet. Some of these apps can have free or paid versions such as Trello, Rescue Time, and Toggl.
If you’re a business owner, some apps can help you track your workers’ check-in and check-out time.
As a student, it is easy to forget about that test coming up next three weeks or the seminar holding next month. One of the ways you can manage your time effectively is to start using an online calendar.
There are plenty of options for online calendars on different devices such as Outlook Calendar, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar. It is easy for you to manage your schedule; plan your events, set up reminders for that huge Chemistry test, and stay ahead of deadlines. Just do a little digging around; there are lots of cool apps and tools for you. Even your phone alarm is a great tool to manage your time.
Have you been able to gain a few tips on how you can manage your time effectively? You can share this article with family, friends, and social media. Also, subscribe to our weekly newsletter so you’ll be up to date with new articles.