Time management is the process of managing your time to achieve goals and tasks in both the short and long term. By being inattentive to our time, we encounter three main problems with how we use our time are:
- We often don’t have a clear plan of what we want to accomplish.
- We frequently put off tasks that we know need to be done.
- We don’t often take the time to understand our time.
As Forbes says, “Time management is a zero-sum game. Either you’ve used the time well, or you’ve wasted it.”
Managing your time is key to boosting your productivity and aids you in getting more accomplished in less time. With the proper time-management techniques, you can be more organized and better prioritize your tasks.
What Are The Benefits of Time Management?
There are many benefits to time management such as:
- Increasing your productivity
- Organizing critical tasks
- Tracking and staying on time with tasks
- Becoming more intentional and purposeful about your day.
How Do I Start Managing My Time?
The first step in managing your time is understanding how your time is spent by making a schedule. A schedule ensures that you are not juggling multiple things at once and that you’re giving each activity the attention it deserves.
Set Your Priorities by Having a Schedule
When you know what your priorities are, you can better manage your time and make sure that you are working on the most important tasks first. Whether you choose to organize your priorities at the beginning or at the end of the day, create a to-do list.
People commonly write a to-do list for grocery shopping so they are not wasting time walking up and down the aisles hunting for items they need. Why stop there? A to-do list is a series of simple tasks that need to be completed. Check off each task as you go along until the entire list is complete.
Estimate how much time is needed per task. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself or your team with 10 one-hour activities within an 8-hour work day. Be reasonable and prioritize the activities that will have a greater impact on your business.
Set Time Blocks
Time blocks are specific blocks of time that you set aside for specific tasks. When you have time blocks, you can better manage your time by ensuring that you have specific deadlines set for each task. In the image below, you can compare “What most people do” with “Time Blocking”.
What Most People Do is sporadic, unorganized, and has an unrhythmic workflow whereas Time Blocking has a focused approach and concentrated workflow. If you want to know more about Time Blocking, read here.
Track Your Time
Tracking your time can help you understand how much time you are spending on each task, as well as how much time is left in the day or week. This information can help you better manage your time and stay on track.
You can proactively write in a yearly planner or use a time-tracker app such as RescuTime to see how you’re spending your time.
Set Time Limits
Although we want to accomplish more in less time, setting time limits make sure that we are not working excessively. You still need to take time to relax and take breaks.
A popular method to tap into a workflow and stay focused for various periods of time using the Pomodoro method: Set a timer for 25 minutes and commit to uninterrupted work. Once alerted at the end of 25 minutes, take a short break for 5 minutes, check social media, answer emails, or make a quick phone call. At the end of your 5-minute break, set the timer for an additional 25-minutes. With time and practice, soon you will be working autonomously for periods of 55 minutes with 8-minute breaks.
Track Your Progress
Tracking your progress is an important part of time management. By tracking your progress, you can stay on track and make sure that you are achieving your goals. A popular way to track your progress is to create a timeline. A timeline marks the start and end point of a sprint or project. A timeline is excellent for individuals or team members to know what needs to be done, what’s in progress, and what is complete. It also allows you to use any remaining time to review any critical components or functions necessary.
Another way to track your progress is to implement system software. Applications like Notion is excellent at tracking progress and organizing workflow for individuals and team members.
If you prefer to be more personal with your tasks, you can always reflect on your progress using a journal and pen.
Managing your time is key to being more productive and getting more done in less time. By following the tips provided, you can start to manage your time more effectively and get more done quicker.
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