Learning and enhancing time management is, by far, one of the most rewarding skills that will take you far in your personal and professional life. If you’ve been feeling like you can’t keep up or have noticed you’re not completing simple tasks like you used to, it’s time to step back and look at the bigger picture. Time management allows each of us to take hold of every minute life offers and make the most of it as a result. But where do you begin?
So, What Is Time Management?
Successful entrepreneurs become masters of time management, but what does time management mean? Time management is the act of organizing and coordinating daily tasks and activities to complete them productively and efficiently. Those that practice time management also uphold accountability for when something doesn’t go as planned. This usually consists of planning out each day with a list or schedule outlining goals, priorities, and expectations. Adapting to an effective time management practice will allow you to be productive and feel accomplished each day, personally, professionally, or both.
Why Is It So Important?
Discovering and learning the art of time management can positively impact your life both personally and professionally. You’ll also avoid many unnecessary challenges that come from an unhealthy work-life balance, such as burnout, low work quality, missed deadlines, and more. Many entrepreneurs find benefit in time management for a variety of reasons, some of which being:
• Heightened Creativity
• Better Task Management
• Lower Stress Levels
• Skyrocketed Productivity
• Improved Mental Health
If you’ve been feeling unaccomplished or like you just can’t keep up with day-to-day tasks, it’s likely time to look at your time management skills. Many areas of your life can be fine-tuned for optimal productivity. It’s never too late to make a change, and before you know it, you’ll become the dependable, productive, and efficient entrepreneur you’ve always wanted to be.
1. Wake Up Earlier to Make Your Day Longer
We all get 24 hours in a day, but in the end, what matters most is how you use that time. Did you know the average person operates most efficiently on 6 to 8 hours of sleep? An easy way to jumpstart time management and productivity is by focusing on your sleep schedule and adjusting accordingly. Start by going to bed earlier and setting your alarm for 15 minutes earlier than you’re used to. Over time, you’ll adapt, and you can begin increasing the time frame. Soon you’ll be able to utilize this additional time for a variety of tasks such as journaling, meditation, exercise, organizing your day’s schedule, and more.
2. Discover Your Productivity Zone
Have you noticed certain times in your day where you feel more productive or inspired to complete your tasks? This is known as your productivity zone, and everyone has one. Perhaps you’re a night owl or love putting hours in as the sun comes up. Regardless, it’s essential to check in with yourself and attempt to identify your productivity zone. Accomplishment feels great, and being able to focus on your daily tasks during your unique window will ensure that your personal and professional activities are always completed to the best of your ability.
3. Keep Mornings for Time-Sensitive Tasks
We all feel a weight lifted off our shoulders when that big, daunting task is checked off the to-do list, right? While it may be tempting to procrastinate when it comes to something challenging, take the initiative and identify these tasks right off the bat. This will allow you to complete tasks at the start of your day and manage your time wisely from there on out. Rather than completing the easy tasks first, knocking the challenging ones off your list will not only make you feel great but eliminate the stress that comes with feeling rushed.
4. Get Rid of Distractions Once and For All
Distractions are easily the downfall of productivity. Whether it’s emails, phone calls, social media notifications, or working from home, it’s encouraged to address any potential distractions early on and identify ways in which you can minimize them. Nothing is more discouraging than finding out you’ve spent four hours on a task that generally takes thirty minutes because you started scrolling through Facebook or needed to do laundry for your upcoming vacation. Take the initiative and put your phone on silent mode or set aside a few hours in the evening to get laundry done. Identifying your distractions and learning how you can overcome them is a crucial step to mastering time management.
5. Create a Daily Task List
Laying out your tasks for each day and creating a to-do list is a great way to make sure you’re getting everything done and not forgetting. We all are aware of how satisfying it is to complete that final item on your list for the day, especially when you’re swamped. Aside from making a list, it’s recommended to group tasks accordingly. Putting together similar tasks can save you a lot of time as different tasks require different thinking styles, arrangements, and time duration. Grouping tasks will allow your brain to focus better, and as a result, your productivity will rise.
6. Eliminate the Temptation to Multitask
At times, we have numerous tasks to complete or take on more than we can manage. As tempting as multitasking may be, it often lessens your overall productivity because you’re no longer focusing entirely on one item. You should be drawn to producing a quality product rather than a single day’s quantity. Timeboxing is an excellent way to eliminate multitasking as you have time laid out for each task, meaning you’ll focus entirely on that single task for the allotted time frame.
7. Find Nuggets of Inspiration
Do you find yourself experiencing that “9 to 5” drag? Are you finding it difficult to concentrate at times? Along with taking breaks as needed to rejuvenate, it’s also essential to find ways in which you can remain inspired. Whether it’s taping encouraging quotes to your desk, creating an inspirational Pinterest board, or finding motivational podcasts and audiobooks, taking time for yourself and learning what tools enable you to succeed is critical. Instead of beating yourself up when you’re in a rut and doing something unproductive – take that time to inspire yourself, so you can jump back in and continue checking off tasks.
8. Use Time Tracking Software
If you’re interested in learning how much time you spend on a task and fine-tuning your efficiency, utilizing time tracking software can be beneficial. Today, many different programs allow you to set time estimates, track time spent, and keep an ongoing record of all time spent on tasks. This not only helps you stay organized but enables you to manage your time efficiently as you’ll be able to identify areas in which you need to improve or when you might start to feel burnt out.
9. Incorporate an Online Calendar
Maybe you’re a pencil and paper type, or you’ve given in to the digital world. Either way, having access to a planner or online calendar will help you manage your schedule easily. Many third-party applications make this possible such as Google Calendar, Outlook Calendar, and Apple Calendar. You’ll be able to manage your schedule, mark important dates and events, set reminders, create time blocks for meetings, and more. And if you’re a physical planner type, let color coding and sticky notes be your friend.
10. Practice Rejuvenation When Necessary
No matter the industry you’re involved in, taking time for yourself and incorporating short breaks into your day is necessary. This is a wonderful way to decrease the likelihood of burnout and to make sure you’re always fully invested in your task. Rejuvenating activities can consist of stretching, going on a short walk, prepping dinner, or even reading a chapter in your favorite book. Being a go-getter is an excellent quality, but so is your own mindfulness. Check-in with yourself throughout each day and take a short break when you start to feel exhausted or unproductive.
Experience a Positive Change
Whether or not you’d like to admit it, time management plays a crucial role in our everyday lives. Becoming familiar with different time management tips will help you move mountains, to say the least. Everyone has their own unique methods that work best, and the first step is taking the time to identify these techniques as well as areas needing improvement. Time is precious, and you can experience a positive change by mastering time management, so only value is added to your life.