Being able to manage your time wisely saves you stress of having to worry about things. It also allows you to get more things done. Plus, you’ll have more free time later on.
Time management often goes hand in hand with organization. Together, you’ll be able to get more things done better.
Here are a few time management tips you can use at home and work to make life easier for yourself and those around you.
One of the most important things you can do to better manage your time is to prioritize. Whether it’s work or your home to-do list, knowing which tasks to prioritize allows you to get more things done.
There are only so many hours in the day. And, chances are, you’re not going to be to complete a very long list of tasks. A better way is to figure out which tasks are the most important. This will allow you to give them immediate attention.
Often, it’s easy to get caught up in less important tasks. By knowing which tasks to prioritize, you’ll be able to leave the less important ones for tomorrow.
When it comes to time management, Pareto’s Principle applies. It states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your time and energy. Thus, it’s often referred to as the 80/20 rule.
So, by focusing on the important 20%, you’ll be able to get 80% of what needs to be done immediately.
2. Have a Realistic To-Do List
To help you easily prioritize the things that need to get done, to-do lists come in handy. They make it easy to list all your tasks in order of importance.
And, just as importantly, they also free your brain from having to remember all the tasks. This not only eliminates the risk of forgetting something, it also helps you be more productive.
To do lists are one of the easiest things you can make. A small piece of paper or pocket notebook works very well. You can likewise use apps if you prefer keeping your list on your digital device. Here’s Digital Trend’s top To-Do List apps you can choose from. Some are free, others have paid versions.
To-do lists allow you to rank tasks by importance and urgency. The former indicating whether the task is a “must do, otherwise” something bad may happen. The latter tells you whether you need it done immediately or not.
A simple ranking system can look something like this:
- Urgent and important
- Not Urgent but important
- Urgent but not important
- Not urgent and not important
Once a task is completed, you can cross it off the list or mark it as finished. Then, add new tasks as they come along.
It’s also important to note that setting goals that are definite and realistic are important. For that, try the S.M.A.R.T. method. It’s a great way to make you more productive.
3. Know When You’re Most Productive
One thing not many people know is that we all have times of days where we’re most productive. Night owls for example, thrive later in the day. A morning person on the other hand, is most productive during the first few hours after waking up.
In the same way, some days seem to foster productivity as well. Research shows that Monday seems to be the day when most people like to get things done (20.4%). Tuesday comes in at a close second at 20.2%. As you would expect, the amount of work that gets done gradually decreases as the week goes on with Friday coming in last.
As far as time of day goes, morning remains the most productive time of day having 9.7% of tasks completed then. It apparently peaks at 11:00 am.
The amount of work dips between 11 am and 1 pm mostly because of lunch. And, it isn’t able to get back up to pre-lunch levels after that. Thus, proving that the “post-lunch dip” is a reality.
Time is a limited resource. In addition, you can only do so much because you’re one person. Thus, it’s very important to be able to delegate things that you don’t have time to do. Delegating certain tasks also works well if you know someone who can do it better than you can. This is something successful entrepreneurs are very adept at doing.
Often, we like doing things ourselves. That’s why there’s such a phrase, “if you want things done right, you have to do them yourself.” But, there’s a downside to doing so.
Having to do things yourself prevents you from maximizing your skills, time and effort. That’s because you’re forced to do things that others can adeptly do for you or do better than you. As a result, you settle for mediocrity. In short, you do a lot of things well enough, but nothing great because you don’t have enough time to focus on each.
5. Learn to Say No
Alongside delegating tasks is learning to politely say no. This allows you avoid tasks that can be time-suckers. In doing so, you have more time to yourself and to focus on the things that are important to you.
Saying no isn’t part of natural human behavior. As such, we often don’t like to say it because it can cause hurt feelings or make us look lazy.
One way of looking at saying no is to think of it as saying no to one thing, but yes to another thing. That other thing is what you plan to do with the extra time you free up. This could be an important thing on your to-do list, or quality time with your family.
6. Don’t Procrastinate
Many of us get used to leaving homework or studying for exams till the last minute. But that’s not the way to ace any test. Instead, it’s better to prepare for it long before.
In addition to doing the work long before the exam or deadline comes, it’s important to understand how to study to get the best results. To learn more about test taking skills, check out this article from Mindfish.
Unfortunately, doing so can come back to haunt us as adults.
Procrastinating negatively affects productivity. And, leaving things till the last minute not only results in subpar work, it also increases your stress levels because you’re often chasing a deadline.
Surprisingly, while many people cram for a lot of things, you’ll seldom come across anyone who’ll plan their wedding or trip itinerary in the last minute. In fact, I often see people make travel plants for their vacation way before the date itself. By the time the the trip comes around they already know what they’ll be doing and places they’ll be visiting.
I’m not sure why, but it’s likely because these are events they’re excited about or looking forward to.
In any case, the bottom line is, by planning things ahead of time, you’ll be able to get things done early and possibly recheck them later.
7. Try Not to Multitask
When we get burdened by a lot of things that need to get done, it’s tempting to multitask. However, studies show that multitasking isn’t worth your time and effort.
Contrary to its allures, multitasking not only reduces efficiency it also worsens performance. That’s because your brain wastes time and energy when ‘switching’ back and forth between tasks. The reason is, it can only focus on one thing at a time.
Additionally, a study done by the University of London found that multitasking lowers your IQ. Thus, it can damage your brain.