Have you ever had a friend that was never on time? Even if you were late they were still late? Do you find yourself always in a rush to get somewhere? When you’re constantly late for appointments it’s a sign that you need better time management. On the other end of the stick the people waiting for you may feel like you don’t respect their time and if it is for a job, most likely you may lose out on not only that opportunity but many other opportunities. For events, meetings, dates, whatever the occasion is – the rule of thumb is that if you’re on time you’re late!
We all have the same 24 hours in a day, however, if you’re feeling overwhelmed most of the time below are some tips to effectively manage your time and become stress-free while being productive.
Below are seven tips for effectively managing your time:
1. Goal Setting for Dream Getting
Ask yourself this question about everything that you do: Is what you are engaging in getting you closer form your goal or further away from your goal. Participate in activities that support your goals otherwise it could be massive a time-waster. This is why it is so important to goal set yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily goals. When you break down your long-term goals into short-term goals you stay more focused and they are easily achieved bringing you closer to your long-term goals.
Part of goal setting is prioritizing each of them. A great organizational tool for your to-do list will assist you on how important and urgent tasks are is to have a spreadsheet or numbering system to see which task is most important to tackle first.
With your list of tasks for the day, you can see below where your activities fit into the categories below:
- Important and urgent tasks — Tasks that must be done immediately. No procrastinating, get to them right away.
- Important but not urgent tasks — Tasks that appear important, but upon closer examination are not as important for that day. Decide when to do them and slot them into the appropriate category or numbering system.
- Urgent but not important tasks — Tasks that make the most “noise,” but when accomplished do not get you closer to reaching your set goal. Delegate these tasks if possible or delegate them.
- Not urgent and not important tasks — Low-priority tasks that offer the illusion of “being busy.” Do them later or push them to the bottom of the list and ensure all other tasks are completed first.
Write down three or four of your most “important and urgent” tasks that must be completed today. As you complete each one, highlight them off your list. This will provide you with a sense of accomplishment when your entire page is highlighted and can motivate you to tackle less essential items. It is essential that you do not carry on to the less important tasks before any of the urgent ones are completed.
3. Plan for the Future
A day without planning could result in a day of chaos. When you set aside time to plan ahead, it’s definitely worth doing instead of jumping from one appointment that you forgot about to another that you’ll be late for and needless to say, could end up costing you the job or a friend.
When is it best for you to plan your day? You may decide between the two below:
- The night before — At the end of the day, take 15 minutes to clear your desk and put together a list of your next day’s most pressing tasks and carry forward the ones that you did not complete that day. It’s a great decompression technique, and you’ll feel better sitting down at a clean desk in the morning.
- First thing in the morning — Wake up earlier and prioritize your to-do list for the day and see if there is overflow from the day before and move them to the following day (see #2). Doing this first thing in the morning will most likely be one of the most productive parts of your day. Way to go!
4. Get Rid of Distractions
One of the biggest reasons why we don’t get our tasks done for the day is distractions. Distractions from calls, social media, procrastination. Your smartphone can be your biggest addiction and worst enemy in getting things done with every 5 minutes a chime or a ding comes in with e-mail or a text message. We live in such a instant gratification that we feel that if we don’t answer someone immediately then they will be upset with us. There is a reason why in some cities it is against the law to text and drive – because it’s a distraction! Instead of being “always on”, turn off your cell, keep it in the next room or in your desk, block time out of your day specifically to catch up on email, call people back, send text messages, etc. I like to block 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening for emails and replies unless it’s urgent of course. You will find you’ll get so much more accomplished when you are laser focused.
5. Just Say No
Many of us like to be of service to others, however, when it begins to compromise your own to do list and putting your further away from your goals, you must learn to decline these requests in order for you to stay on track. Use your time to tend to what’s truly important to YOU. If you are the ‘yes girl/guy’ you may have already found yourself behind in many of your responsibilities by taking on others. If others respect you then they will respect your decision to keep on your own path.
6. Delegate Your Weaknesses
When you own a business sometimes it’s tough to take on everything and since it’s your baby it’s tough to let go and allow someone to take on the task(s) however that could actually be risking the progress and success of your business. If you’ve hired good talent then trust them with the work that they can take off your shoulders. Look for opportunities to pass responsibility for specific tasks to other people on your team which in turn will allow them to learn more, grow and take leadership. When people feel trusted and appreciated they often volunteer for more work.
7. Productive Time Spent
Is every minute accounted for productive time spent? Do you find yourself spending way too much time on specific tasks or in front of the TV? As you are blocking out time in your calendar for specific tasks, monitor the time spent and see where you can move your time around in getting the important tasks done first. When you monitor your time you can see exactly where you’re spending your most valuable asset and where it’s being wasted. Color code each task. For example, Green could be used for emails, texting or any type of communication. Blue could be for social media. Yellow could be for research. Purple could be for your personal time. Pink could be for gym time.
8. Be SelfFULL
No matter how important something may be, or how difficult a situation is, it is your duty to ensure that you are performing at your optimum health. So be sure to get plenty of sleep (minimum 7 hours a night – no, you can never make up for sleep on the weekends, once sleep is lost it is lost and so are the brain cells that go with it), exercise minimum 25 minutes a day and eat natural foods and stay away from refined carbs and sugar, anything in a can or box is no good. An alert mind is a high-functioning mind and one that’s less tolerant of time-wasting activities. You’ve got one life and one chance to make your dreams come true so get on it and get organized like a President!