Sometimes it seems like there just isn’t enough time in a day to get through your to-do list. We’ve all uttered that complaint: “there just isn’t enough time!” But the reality is that we all have the same amount of time every day – so how is it that some people achieve so much more with their time than others? The answer is time management.
When it comes to being more productive, time management is one of the most important skills you can develop. Managing your time effectively will help you streamline your work load and maximize your potential for positive results. Once you’ve mastered a few time management skills, you’re sure to notice improvements at work and in your personal life.
- Set Goals
When you set a goal you gain focus. Knowing what you want to achieve allows you to hone in on exactly what you need to do to get where you want to go. Goal setting is more than just saying you want something to happen – to be successful, you have to know what you want and why you want it. Goals can be big or small, and they can be set for the short-term or long-term. You can have one big goal or a series of small goals that lead you in the direction you want to go and serve as benchmarks for your success. Whatever your goals, be SMART about them – keep them specific, measureable, attainable, realistic, and timely.
Now that you have identified your goals, you can decide which are most important and in what order you want to accomplish them. When you know what’s most important, you can focus more of your attention, time, and energy on those tasks. Remember, not everything is important. In other words, don’t waste time of things that aren’t important.
- Make a Plan
After you identify your goals, it’s time to make a plan for how you’re going to get where you want to go. Don’t fall into the all-too-common trap of ignoring the steps you need to take along the way. A written plan of action will help you stay on track, predict potential problems, and deal with issues accordingly. Even better, you’ll see the results immediately as you cross each step off your list. Note: make sure to include a timeline in your plan – doing so will keep you accountable and motivated to keep working towards your desired result.
- Eliminate Distractions
We’re bombarded with information every second of every day. We’re constantly looking at our phones for more news, more entertainment, more everything. Put simply, we can find a distraction anywhere and everywhere. As a result, we often let our minds wander from our goals and have to work even harder to see past the distractions and refocus our attention on what matters most. Whenever possible, be aware of potential distractions so you can avoid them. Things like keeping your work space clean, finding a quiet place to work, and turning off your devices can help you eliminate distractions and maintain your focus.
Delegating tasks to others is a big piece of effective time management. No one can do everything and trying to accomplish too many tasks at once is a major time suck. It’s important to understand your strengths and weaknesses and leverage them appropriately – if something can (and should) be delegated to someone else, delegate away! Assigning responsibility to others will free up time for other things and maximize your productivity.
- Start off Strong
One way to set yourself up for success is start each day with a bang. The sense of accomplishment you get from starting the day with a significant task will help you feel strong and motivated for longer. Plus, it’s always good to get something big out of the way before your day veers off course and you find yourself dealing with a problem that keeps you from crossing more items off your list.
No matter your age or your standing in life, time management skills will help you maximize your time and get the most out of each day. Effective strategies for managing your time will help you balance all the conflicting demands on your time.