Time management is a skill that can easily be learned. By following these five time management strategies, anyone, even the most veteran procrastinator, can boost her/his productivity and create great habits for managing time better. Introduce these strategies into your daily routine and you will be amazed at how much more productive you can become.
The first step to improve your time management is to figure out exactly how you spend your time. How can you make changes without first identifying the problem? Technology has made that task incredibly simple. There are tons of programs available that will monitor what programs you are using, for how long, and even how long your fingers are on the keyboard. These programs are great, passive ways to see what you’re doing and for how long you’re doing it.
There are quite a few free time tracking applications available as well as some paid ones. Here is a great resource for twenty of the best time-tracking applications available. Pick one that works for you and be sure to go back to evaluate the data after a few days. Look at the times when you’re getting the most work done. You can use this information in the next time management strategy.
Now that you know how you’re spending your time, you can start to schedule around your best times. Planners and calendars are a time management dream. By creating a specific schedule, you are now holding yourself accountable to using your time wisely.
The most important part is to schedule everything. Walking the dog, family time, cooking – it all needs to be scheduled in. By creating this habit that if it’s not scheduled, it doesn’t get done, you can trick yourself into more productivity.
This can be one of the hardest time management strategies. Technology is a great friend to increasing time management, but is also one of the biggest foes. Yeah, your phone is your biggest opponent in becoming a time management master.
Sometimes, even just having the phone in the same room can become a distraction. In the middle of an important project, you can become tempted to answer texts and calls or even just to check on it. Turn it on silent and put it somewhere else. But don’t fret! Give yourself mini-breaks to check it. You don’t have to throw it out the window, but you can’t leave it on top of your desk. The temptation is too strong.
Email is another time waster. Keeping that open only invites distractions into your life. Pick a specific time of the day to check your email. If you feel like you absolutely must check it frequently, pick a specific time and only check it then. I make sure to check my email at only a quarter after each hour – whether I check it on my phone or computer. That small rule I’ve assigned myself keeps me in check.
If you’re guilty of constantly checking social media on your computer, there are apps for that too! These apps will block websites and programs that you deem distractions. And don’t worry – they are only temporary so once you’ve finished your work, you can jump right back into the latest Facebook drama.
Imagine trying to wrap a present, but not know where the scissors and tape are. A simple task that could have taken 10 minutes can easily turn into an hour long hunt for everything. If you knew where everything was, you are more likely to finish the task faster and move onto the next. That’s why organization is so important in time management strategies.
It’s important to take breaks. This time management strategy is meant to ease some of the stress of work. Breaks should be at least once an hour – if not more. Get up and walk around. If you work at home, feel free to take a moment to flip the laundry or even do the dishes. A break is anything you do that is not related to your current task at hand. They are important because breaks help you from feeling too overwhelmed with any given task.
Most importantly, keep your breaks brief and frequent. That way, you’ll never just be staring at the clock, waiting for your next break to roll around.
New habits take time to take effect so don’t get discouraged quickly. Just remember to keep at it and utilize these awesome time management strategies to make sure you can make the most out of your day!
Looking for more time management strategies and tips to becoming more productive? Download “How to Become More Productive in Less than 10 Minutes.”
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