Sometimes my to do list seems unmanageable. There are simply too many tasks to complete and not enough hours in the day. It is overwhelming. Figuring out what is the best use of my time isn't always easy but through trial and error I have picked up a few tips on better time management.
1. What do you spend your time on each day?
A great way to start managing your time better is to figure out what you currently spend your time on. Keep track of your work week. Write down your activity/project/meeting and the amount of time you spent on it. Track it all so you can see how much of your time is spent producing results and how much time is wasted.
2. Create a Schedule.
Take time to plan out your day, or your week. Each Friday afternoon I take 30 minutes to look at my next week’s to dos and schedule out all of it. If there are things that don’t fit in my schedule this is my chance to talk through my priorities and move tasks around. If I don’t determine my schedule ahead of time, and I have more tasks than can get done in one week, I’m already set up for time management failure.
3. Stick to your Schedule.
Schedule time for anything that is important to your success. Block off the time you need to complete those important tasks and stick to you schedule as much as possible.
4. Plan ahead for interuptions.
While working on your schedule in tip 2 be sure not to fill your week completely full, leave time for interruptions. There will always be unforeseen interruption, delays or complications and if you don’t have any time set aside to deal with those problems your entire week can get thrown off. This is something I struggle with the most, it’s tempting to fill a hole in your schedule when you know that you have more stuff to do but honestly there is no getting around it.
5. Do Not Disturb.
It’s ok to tell people to “leave you alone!” Maybe word it nicer but don’t be afraid to block yourself off from the world when you absolutely need to get work done.
6. Turn off distractions.
Don’t look at Facebook or constantly check your text messages, unless it is necessary to generate business.
7. Turn off "all" Distraction.
Turn off distractions. I know I said this one already but sometimes we don’t think of all the things that distract us, like your work phone or your email. You don’t always need to answer your phone just because it rings or respond to an email just because it’s in your inbox. Set aside time to follow up with people, don’t interrupt your work unless it is critical.
8. be realistic.
Remember that it’s impossible to get everything done. Trust me, we all have things that we can be working on nonstop until all hours of the night but sometimes you need to walk away. The work will be there when you start up again and chances are the world won’t stop turning if you miss a deadline.
I won’t pretend to be a time management expert, and these tips won’t solve all of your problems, but hopefully they help you develop some good habits for managing your time.
Do you have your own tips for better time management? Share them with us.