One of the most important skills you can incorporate into your life is time management. Whether you’re trying to catch the next bus or arrive 15 minutes before an important job interview, learning how to effectively manage your time is an essential skill to have. Mastering time management will help you excel in both your career and personal life, so why not take advantage of it?
Here are a few steps on how to manage your time effectively.
Plan Your Day Ahead of Time
The best way to ensure that you stay on track is to plan your day before it happens. Depending on how much time you have, you can either schedule your day the night before or the morning of. Creating this plan will help you see how your day will unfold. This ensures that you aren’t caught off-guard by any of the tasks you need to complete. Stick to the plan as best as you can.
A Calendar Is Your Best Asset
This may sound like an obvious choice, but a lot of business professionals think they can do without a calendar or organizer. This tool is your best friend, especially when you’re required to meet deadlines. You can go the traditional route with a wall calendar, agenda, or even a digital calendar on your smartphone—any are valid options. Google Calendar is a great resource since you can sync it to your phone (or any other device) and access your schedule at any time.
Tackle the Important Tasks First
This is the key to time management. Identify the most important tasks of the day, mark them as priority, and make sure you complete those first. Conquering the biggest tasks at the start of your day allows you to work on other projects, or you can push them off to a later date. Finish the most urgent tasks, and you can consider your day a success.
Eliminate Time Wasters
Everyone is guilty of a little procrastination from time to time. According to a survey by salary.com, 89% of participants waste time every day at work, from anywhere between 30 minutes to 5 hours or more per day. You need to find out what’s eating up all that time. Are you surfing the net for extended periods? Constantly checking emails? Maybe posting too often on social media? Whatever it may be, identifying the issue is the first step. A helpful tip is to use apps to track your daily activities; it can help you see how much time is spent on certain tasks.
Combine Similar Tasks
The easiest way to be more productive and efficient is to group similar tasks together. Break down your to-do list into categories like writing, interviews, administrative work, etc. This helps you stay organized and streamlines the entire process. Now you know what needs to be done, and how to prioritize.
Learn to Delegate
This step may be a tough one if you like to oversee everything or be in control of certain tasks. To better manage your time (and to save yourself some), you have to let go of the reigns a little and delegate some of your work to others. This will help your work load, allowing you to spend more time focusing on more significant tasks.
Give Yourself Room to Breathe
Efficiency is important, but no one can work on overdrive for hours on end without a break. If you tend to rush from one task to another, you may be missing crucial points and could lose focus or motivation for the rest of your day. Allow yourself some downtime in between tasks, it will give your brain a breath of fresh air. Little things like going on a short walk, meditating, or reading a few chapters from a book can help you temporarily clear your mind.
The final and most important tip: enjoy what you do. We can get so caught up in “working smarter” and trying to save time that we often forget work can be enjoyable. Arrange your commitments in such a way that you’re happy to complete these tasks every day, even while you’re at work. It’s not always easy trying to implement these steps, but if you do your best and stay consistent, you will begin to see how it can benefit your life in the long run.
Aileen Ormoc | Contributing Writer