There is no doubt that most people struggle with time management regardless what industry they work in. As the phrase goes, “so much to do, so little time.” Although our days are full of tasks and responsibilities that may seem draining, there are many ways to manage our time and get everything done, hopefully with some time to spare.
Firstly, the majority of organized people will tell you how great lists are. Lists are excellent reminders of things you have to do, but they also force you to write or type the tasks out. Making a list can give you a vision of what needs to get done and how soon. There are various apps (e.g. Trello) that can help you get organized and prioritize as needed.
Most people make one list and combine both professional and personal daily tasks on it, but others thrive on having separate lists for work and pleasure. Lists can help you get a view of how much time you’ll need to devote to each task.
Perhaps best of all, if you make a list, you can check the items off as you go throughout the day. This will give you a satisfactory sense of accomplishment that keeps you motivated to keep going.
Another great tip is to do your least preferred task first, if possible. Just “getting it out of the way” can make you feel better and less stressed out about your other priorities even though it seems like the least preferred task might put you in a bad mood for the rest of the day. Completing the least attractive task first can actually make your day better since you do not have to dread doing it later.
Setting goals for yourself can also have a positive impact on your time management skills. Maybe you’re looking to free up some time so that you can work towards some kind of professional certification so you can transfer to a new sector at work, or join a group who shares the same hobbies as you. Look at your calendar, and if needed, set some boundaries and decline invites to things that provide no value to you.
The desire to free up this time can also encourage you to realize and eliminate unnecessary things that eat up your time. Avoiding distractions such as Facebook throughout the day can also create more time that you didn’t even know you had. Some people turn off app and email notifications so that they can focus on the task at hand and not be distracted.
Other than distractions, another pitfall of productivity is procrastination. We all have to do things we don’t want to do, but nevertheless they need to get done. For example, if you need to enter expenses for work and it could wait until Friday, still do it today if you can. This will free up more time on Friday for personal things or an urgent project or proposal.
Most importantly, you need to make time for yourself every day, even if it is only for half an hour or so. Whether you like to read, jog, or watch re-runs of Real Housewives, doing so for a while each day is critical to your well-being. Taking care of friends and family along with managing work all the time can be detrimental and cause a lot of stress. Take care of yourself and get organized – it will benefit you greatly.