- Top 10 Time Management Tips
Ok wait… I know you can’t really save time or manage time. There are only 24 hours in a day and time is going to tick on no matter what you do. You can wish for more time but it just isn’t going to happen. You can however, be a little bit more productive with your time. But before you attempt to “manage” your time, you need to have a realistic understanding of how much time you actually have. On a normal weekday, after sleeping, showering, eating, commuting and working, you really only have about 2-4 hours (if that) to do the other things you need to do. Wow! That’s it. Which makes it that much more important to be more productive with that precious little time you do have.
As a procrastinator by nature, I have to make a concerted effort to stay focused on my tasks and priorities. There are tons and tons of tips on how to manage and save time. I offer the tips below as my favorites because they have worked for me and have greatly helped me to become more productive with my time. Hopefully they’ll work for you too.
1) Create a calendar of your recurring tasks and routines and stick to it. Block off the times you exercise, take lunch breaks, take kids to school, do chores, go grocery shopping, pay bills, mow the lawn, play with the kids, etc. By sticking to this schedule, when you do plan to work on something else, you won’t be distracted by the tasks you should have done in their assigned block of time.
2) Plan your day the night before. As part of your Nightly Cleanup Routine, you should review your next day’s schedule and make a list of the things you want/need to do and prioritize them. Limit your list to only 3 things otherwise you’ll get overwhelmed.
3) Check email, Facebook, Twitter and all those other social media outlets only two times per day. Checking these sites and opening up every email as it comes in is incredibly unproductive and distracting. Dedicate a time, say 30 minutes to 1 hour to read, respond, delete your messages and then close it out to move on to your other tasks.
4) Turn off the TV and other background noise (music, video games, etc) when working on projects requiring a lot of concentration. Although rocking out to music when mowing the lawn or cleaning the house is OK, turn it off when you need to concentrate important tasks. You’ll stay much more focused and may even finish your tasks much faster when you’re not “tuning in” to every commercial on TV.
5) Set time limits on your tasks/projects and use a timer. Seriously…use a timer on your watch, computer or even a cooking timer. I’ve used this to set limits on how much time I spend on the internet or how much time I’m going to work on my blog or other projects. This really works!!! It prevents burning out, losing focus and cutting into other projects.
6) Do the hard, not-so-fun tasks first…then the rest will seem like a breeze. It’s like eating the yucky (yet healthy) veggies of your dinner first…then diving into the creamy mashed potatoes and desert later!
7) Turn off email alerts and let your phone go to voicemail. Don’t answer the phone, texts, or emails while you are concentrating on an important task.
8) Be brief in your phone calls and email responses. State right from the start when you answer your phone that you only have 30 seconds, 2 minutes or 15 minutes to talk. This lets the other person know you don’t have a lot of time for chit chat. Same goes for email (which I still need to work on as I tend to get long winded in my responses…I’ve been blessed with the gift of gab).
9) Never go shopping without a list ever! Like my husband says, “If it’s more than 3 items, write me a list.” This will save you time, money and frustration. Keep a notepad on your fridge or pantry to keep note of groceries and other items you need as you run out.
10) Reward yourself. I love to bake, sew and garden but sometimes I can get them confused with my priorities and I end up feeling guilty for not getting my real priorities done. Now, I treat my passions as a reward. Once I finish a tough project, then I allow myself some time for a little fun and relaxation…guilt-free.
So, the big take-away here is that when you get right down to it, you can’t manage time but you can manage yourself and how you spend your time. A little bit of prior planning goes a long way to being satisfied with your accomplishments at the end of the day. That’s what this site is all about…getting you to that “ahhhh” feeling. So keep checking back, don’t forget to subscribe via RSS or email (upper right corner of the page), and pass it on to a friend who can use it…whether they THINK they need it, or not.
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