Do you ever feel like there are just not enough hours in the day? Sometimes you even plan out your schedule and still somehow don’t have enough time to get everything done? Well, I am going to let you in on a little secret… there are more hours in the day than you think! You can juggle your job, business, side hustle, your family, your hobbies, and whatever else it is that you want to dedicate your time to.
So today I want to talk about time management. The process of planning and controlling how much time to spend on specific activities can allow you to complete more in a shorter period of time, lower stress, and lead to career success. Basically, time management gives you the ability to work smarter, not harder, so you can reach your financial goals.
So how can you be more successful at managing your time? I have compiled a list of ten tips to help you manage your time more efficiently.
Tips For Better Time Management:
1. Create a Time Journal:
The first step to time management is to find out where your time goes every day. There is often a big discrepancy between what you think you spend your time on and what you actually spend your time on. You might be unpleasantly surprised to find out where your time goes. For me… I sometimes find myself in what I like to call “twilight zones”. Twilight zones are basically periods of time that I am doing nothing, and/or going through my phone scrolling my timeline or watching stupid videos. Sometimes I spend 20-30 minutes at a time doing this (usually when I get home from work, before getting out of the car), but then I complain that I do not have enough time to get certain things done. In reality, I do have enough time; I just did not allocate it correctly.
Knowing where your time goes can greatly improve your time management skills because you are now aware of your “time wasters” and you can adjust your behavior accordingly. There are even apps that you can use to log your time, such as Hubstaff, HoursTracker, Toggl, Timely, and Hours.
2. Put A Time Limit On Tasks:
Look at your time journal. Identify tasks that take longer than you expect and set time constraints for these items. This will allow you to focus more and work more efficiently. For example, if you take two hours grocery shopping, make a list when you go next time so you only get what’s on your list and drop that two hours down to one. Or you could even order online and pick it up to save even more time. By giving tasks a time limit, we get creative with our time. Remember, work smart, not hard.
3. Use Your Calendar:
Use your calendar to keep track of deadlines, block times off for focused work, and automatically add locations to events. Take accountability for your time. Make sure you are never late or never miss another appointment or event. Plus, seeing the bigger picture will help you plan ahead for the things that are scheduled, so you are never caught off guard by something you “forgot” about again.
4. Plan Your Week On Sunday:
When you plan your whole week ahead of time, you can prioritize tasks and assign them to the most appropriate day to get done. Your energy fluctuates throughout the week. Schedule low-priority tasks for Mondays; such as administrative work. Complete creative and demanding tasks on Tuesday and Wednesday when your energy and creativity are at their peak. When your energy starts to decline on Thursday and Friday, try to still be productive. However, if you feel yourself losing focus, use this time to plan and network.
5. Create A Daily To-Do List:
Use the first 30 minutes of your day to create a daily to-do list that suits your weekly plan in order of importance. Creating this list will allow you to have a clear idea of what needs to get done and what tasks are the most important so that you can navigate your day to optimize production.
Make sure to complete your most important and demanding tasks first thing in the morning. I say this for two reasons. The first reason is you usually have the most amount of energy in the morning, so it’s better to tackle these tasks when you’re not drained. The second reason is that you can use that feeling of accomplishment to get through the rest of the day.
6. Block Out Distractions While Working
Don’t do half-work! When you allow yourself to be distracted while trying to complete a task you often times do sub-par work. So when you are working be sure to set your phone to silent, do not check it, do not check your emails, do not watch TV, do not listen to music, just allow yourself to completely focus. We are often tempted to text or email back immediately when we hear a chime. This interrupts our thought process, making it harder to regain focus, causing us to do half-work.
7. Make Sure You Schedule Breaks Between Tasks:
The human brain can only focus for about ninety minutes at a time. With that being said, be sure to schedule a break every 90 minutes to avoid burnout and maintain high productivity throughout your day. When I say break, I do not mean a whole thirty-minute break. I mean a short restroom break, water break, or even just taking a lap around the room to regain focus and energy.
8. Make The Most of Waiting Times:
I don’t know about you… but I feel like I wait a lot. We wait in traffic, lines, waiting rooms, airports, busses, trains, plains, etc. Instead of sitting there waiting and doing literally nothing, make the most of this time. Answer emails, catch up on missed phone calls and texts, study, read, listen to a podcast, stretch, exercise, or meditate. Never allow your time to be wasted.
9. Learn To Say “No”:
Have you ever seen that Jim Carey movie “Yes Man”? Yeah… don’t be that guy. I used to often times find myself saying “yes” to things I did not want to do in my social and professional life. Your time is precious. Don’t waste it on people and projects that don’t align with your mission and goals. Instead of automatically accepting invitations and offers, say, “I’ll check my schedule and get back to you”, so you have time to evaluate.
Also, if you do not have an obligation to do something, and you do not want to do it, or you do not have time to do it, then it is OK to say no. Hell, I say no all the time! Lol. My cousin is having her fourth baby and I get a baby shower invite, I don’t want to go, I tell her “No, I am not going. Sorry.” Simple. My boss asks if I can come in my day off because someone called out, I do not think it’s worth my time and I would rather spend that time working on something else, I politely decline with a “No thank you, Ma’am. I have previous obligations.” Just make sure that you only add to your plate what is necessary or what you want to add to your plate. Never let anyone shove food down your throat.
10. Schedule Relaxation Time:
With all of this talk about time management and optimizing your time, you need to make sure that you make time for you. You can't possibly get done what needs to get done, to the best of your ability, and on time, if you are not in the right headspace. So make sure that you designate a day of the week, or a least part of a day, to focusing on you. Do something that is relaxing or fun for you, as long as it will take your mind off of work. Basically, make sure you shut off your “work brain” at least once a week.
At the end of the day, your time is precious and it’s yours. You control what you get done and what you don’t. You are in charge of your success and your happiness. So why not make your time work for you?
When you optimize your time, you optimize your money making potential!