Tips to Improve Time Management Skills
As Warren Buffet once said, “Time is money.” Time is a commodity we all want more of yet never manage to get enough of.
Though we all work within the same 24 hours, there are simple ways to make each day feel more fulfilling. It involves getting rid of the things that waste our time and focusing on the things that make the most of them. Unsure where to start or need a fresh boost of motivation? Here are five tips to get you moving in the right direction.
Create a routine. Even if your lifestyle calls for a slightly different schedule every day, there are still parts of a routine that can help you feel on track by optimizing your time. Starting the day with a workout, healthy breakfast, journaling, or meditation can trigger your brain into productivity mode. Similarly, creating a wind-down routine by cooking a nice dinner or taking a long bath can also become part of your daily schedule that signals the end of the day. Implementing healthy habits provides a foundation that allows you to feel more intentional about your time.
Prioritize your activities. Take 10-20 minutes at the end of each day to prepare for the next morning. Make a list that starts with the top three things you want to accomplish each day, then prioritize the rest of your tasks in order of importance. Of course, there are unexpected moments that can’t be accounted for, but a set planning time helps provide a central focus you can return to when you are pulled in multiple directions. Time management is about efficiency. While we would all like to do as much as possible, too many tasks can leave us feeling scattered and behind all day long.
Explore your peak-productivity hours. Take time to assess your peak productivity hours. Not everyone runs on the same 9-5 schedule. There are times during the day that feel more productive for some than others. Do you feel you’re at your best mid-morning? Then, schedule your most daunting tasks during that time when you have the energy and focus to give them their due attention. Leave the easier or more casual tasks for the afternoon or give that time to planning, strategy, relaxation, or spending time with family. Knowing the times of day when your energy is at its highest will limit the amount of “time wasters” you experience.
Optimize technology. Online calendars, digital timers, and smartphone apps can all help you stay on track. Google Calendar is a convenient scheduling tool that allows you to color-code and set notifications for meeting reminders and project deadlines. Apps can also help you if you’re trying to limit your time wasters. If you find yourself easily distracted by social media, good chunks of time can go by without you even realizing it. This also goes for housekeeping if you work remotely or prolonged desk chats with colleagues if you’re in the office. Pinpoint the distractions that affect you most and limit yourself to the time spent on them.
- Find your rhythm. Though there are online tools and apps to help with time tracking, sometimes making a list with pen and paper works just as well. I make a list of all the things that I need to do on pen and paper and cross off a task on my list once I accomplish the task. There is no single path everyone must follow. The goal is to set a system in place that allows you to find your rhythm.
Improving successful time management begins with changing and implementing daily habits. Slowly start to change your schedule according to your productivity hours and evaluate the changes in your daily routine. By following these tips, you will be able to focus more on the tasks at hand and be more successful in achieving your goals.