My life got a whole lot busier lately and I’ve been struggling to keep up. Sound familiar? Time management is a constant battle for many. We all get the same number of hours a day so how is it that some people seem to get so much more done?
Some priorities are set in stone but many change on a daily basis depending on what circumstances arise. Start your day with a simple review on what is most important to achieve. Write these items in an ordered list. A paper list could be your preference, you may add it to your phone, an app or time management system and there’s a wide choice of these. Most importantly – stick to it during the day.
Our modern lives are full of these and although some tangents we may travel can be helpful many are just pure time wasters. Try turning off your phone or letting it go to voice mail so you can decide who and what to answer and when. Turn off your email and alerts if you can. Ignore Social Media for a while (it will still be there later!) Once you realise what you can achieve without distractions – you’ll be motivated to this strategy again and again.
Keep a calendar
Start with a structure for each day of the week. I use my gmail calendar and find that works well for me. There are many choices for a diary system – just choose and stay with one that works for you.
First add the activities that can’t be missed – including the ones for you personally – gym, appointments, special time with friends and family. Then layer on your work commitments. Make a judgement call on how long activities will take. You may have to re-evaluate if you don’t allow enough time. No problem – it’s a work in progress. Allocate some time for email and social Media to avoid temptation at other times. Finally, schedule some time for reflection at the end of each day.
You may find some more ideas and apps that help you in this article. Don’t spend too long looking through them all though!
Seek to improve
If all this is new to you then it won’t happen overnight. Even if you’ve used a diary or time management system before you can still improve how it works for you. It helps to review how things went at the end of each day. In the time that you’ve allowed for reflection – think about what went well and, what didn’t. Are there things that you could change moving forward? Go back and make adjustments to your diary for the following day(s). Add in time for the things you didn’t finish and re-evaluate what you’re spending time on and how it’s serving you.
Look for ways to streamline your work and other activities. Could you combine things? Are there “slack” times that you could fill with something productive? Are you spending too much time on things that are ultimately of little benefit? Could you outsource aspects of your work?
We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Can you imagine how much time you could create in your life by delegating tasks that aren’t your strength to someone who does? The sheer relief of handing over these “things to do” can be incredible. If you’re not sure – keep track of how long you spend during the week on tasks that you find particularly difficult, boring or out of your comfort zone. Now – imagine how productive you could be in those hours doing what you enjoy, excel at feel at home with. Ready to gain time?
Great tips Rachel! My takeaway: schedule in time for social media and checking emails in my calendar (and stick to it!). I am *definitely* going to do this tomorrow and see if I save a bit of time. Even an hour will do! 🙂
Thanks Rachel, we are all full of good intentions but as you know working from home means that you can easily be distracted! Your article reminds me to get back into those good habitsx
Great tips! One that really helped me to better manage my work is the ‘power of Less’ by Leo Babauta. A small pocket that tells you about the 6 principles of succesful time management. No complex theories for a change but comprehensive and hands on! No need to spend time and money on a training. Up to my next challenge and apply it to my private life!! 🙂