You may be in search of time management tips because you are tired of getting to the end of your day and wondering where the time went. You may have had a to-do list of things that you wanted to accomplish that day, but you barely checked off any of the items on it. This has happened to me more times than I care to admit, and I consider myself to be a fairly productive person.
There’s so much to do and so little time. When you work at the office, you have your boss to remind you of this simple fact. But when you are at home, you are the only one who can keep track of time, and sometimes you simply forget about it.
But worry not! With these six simple time management tips, you’ll become a productivity machine and breeze through your daily tasks like no other.
Without further ado, here are the simple time management tips that I follow to make sure I am as productive as possible.
1. Stop Multitasking
The day starts. You turn on your computer and open your emails. Before you start reading, you decide to take out the trash. Before going back to the computer, you turn on the toaster. You go back to your computer, read an email, and start drafting a response. Before you finish writing, you check the news to see what’s going. What have you accomplished so far? Nothing. And you burned your toast.
That’s the terrible thing about multitasking: you do so many things you end up finishing nothing at all. If you want to make the best out of your time and productivity, you cannot cram 100 things into an hour. Instead, focus on one thing at a time and work your way through the day. It might seem like fewer things are getting done, but in fact, more things are getting finished – and that’s the important part.
If you split your focus between multiple tasks, it will also take you longer to complete each task. You will need to get reacquainted with what you were doing when you abandon it to do something else. Focus on one task and complete it before moving on to the next. Don’t try to divide your attention.
You may be able to multitask on some items such as folding laundry and listening to an audiobook at the same time, but if the task requires you to focus in-depth, you will most likely benefit from focusing on one task at a time.
2. Create Clarity in Your Tasks
Now you know it’s best to do one thing, finish it, and move onto the other. But how can you know where to start? There are a lot of methods to take care of this issue, and, honestly, you can only choose the right one for you by trying and deciding for yourself what works for you.
You can write down a to-do list the day before. Perhaps your brain works better in the morning, and that’s when you write everything down. Maybe no list at all works better for you because anxiety creeps in the minute you see how much work awaits. It doesn’t matter! Stick to what you know works best.
Personally, I like to create a list of what I wish to accomplish each day and work from a list. If I do not have it written down and out of my head, I often find myself living in overwhelm instead of action. So I take just a few minutes either the night before or in the morning to clearly determine what I have to do each day. I talked more about how I do this by keeping a bullet journal in this article on how to get organized. The clarity helps me to take action and be more productive rather than wondering what task I should be working on next.
3. Take a Proactive Approach
You are making lists and solving issues one at a time, and that’s great. But there’s one trap that one-too-many-people fall into. That trap is overconfidence. You check your to-do list, and there’s not much to do for today. So, you take it easy. Then, a couple of hours later, it dawns on you that the day is over, and you have to rush through what you had wanted to finish that day. And, sometimes, what seems like a relaxing day turns into a nightmare if an emergency happens.
You have to avoid every single problem that stems from overconfidence and procrastination by taking a proactive approach. The minute something falls into your lap; you get it done. You only have three items on your to-do list today? Great, you’ll be finished by lunch! Otherwise, things will keep piling up, and you are back to square one. You thought you had time, but you were only borrowing from tomorrow.
4. Be Realistic About Your Goals
Another essential thing to have in mind, besides overconfidence, is overreaching. There are only 24 hours in a day, and you are supposed to sleep 8. You only have 16, and that’s not a lot of time. You have to choose wisely and spread your tasks throughout several days if you must. Otherwise, you’ll get frustrated that your to-do list is always left unfinished.
Don’t write down 25-hours’ worth of work. It’s not healthy nor possible. If you have a lot to do, start making weekly lists. Sit down on Sunday and plan your weekly schedule. It’s a little bit harder than daily lists, but you’ll have extra time during the week (because you are no longer writing daily lists sometime during the day), and you can move things around if you must. Was Monday easier than expected? You can take some weight off Thursday!
5. Understand You Can Only Do So Much
This one goes hand-in-hand with number four. As you know, there are 24 hours in a day, and you are not using all of them, no matter who you are. If you go all out working 16-hour days for weeks on end, you are bound to exhaust yourself. You’ll begin to perform poorly, and you’ll have to re-do multiple things that you’re messing up because you are tired. Take a step back, and think it over.
This is important. You may be able to put in bursts of massive action where you are working for long periods of time every day. We’ve all heard the stories of people putting in 16 hour days to complete a project or work on their business. While this may be okay for the short term, it isn’t sustainable for the long-term. At some point, you are going to have to give yourself some time to do other tasks that are important to you such as spending time with friends and family.
Going on a break, having a little me time, and not working are all necessary things to be productive. It might sound counter-intuitive, but it’s true. You have to sleep to have energy the next day, pulling an all-nighter will take a toll on tomorrow. The same goes for your daily activities. Sometimes you’ll have to stop to perform better later.
If you are always doing things with no breaks, it’ll eventually affect your future tasks – and you’ll be losing time because you are doing everything wrong and doing them over before you can move on. Time yourself and work around your energy levels. Don’t be afraid to take a much-needed break when you feel it is necessary.
6. Kill Your Distractions
You may have the best method to plan your day out; you could be the most energetic, proactive person on the planet; you might know yourself like no other and be able to work and rest in perfect proportions. But social media might still kill your entire day if you let it. Streaming platforms can do that too. There are a lot of things that’ll suck the productivity right out of your day!
Some people can handle a little Instagram time between tasks. Other people will throw their entire day at it. You’ll have to have an honest talk with yourself and see where you are standing. If you cannot handle yourself around social media, it’s time to deactivate accounts and delete apps. At the very least, have a designated time to check social media; for example, once in the morning and once at night.
Remember: plan out your day, deal with tasks one at a time, know your limits, take some time off if you must, and remove distractions from your life. Sounds simple, right? It’s simple, but it takes time to implement and get used to managing your time effectively. So be patient with yourself, over time you will see progress and the progress will motivate you to keep going.