Time management isn’t about getting as many things done on our to-do list as quickly as possible.
It’s actually far more about being effective–doing the things that will move the needle and get you closer to your goals.
If you’re feeling that you are losing the battle with time, here are 5 small (but easy to implement) time management tips that will have you taking back control of your time and accelerating your productivity exponentially.
In order to remove non-essential tasks, you must determine what’s important versus what’s urgent.
Important tasks deserve your time. They take longer and are more strategic as they bring the most value to you, your family, and/or your organization. Consider these your “needle movers” that result in achieving your personal and professional goals.
On the other hand, urgent tasks are those items that need attention right now and tend to have immediate consequences if they are not dealt with at the moment. Oftentimes, they are someone else’s problem that has landed in your inbox and screams for immediate attention, to which you feel you must oblige. The issue at hand is that by focusing on urgent tasks, your important tasks get no love or attention.
To help you prioritize and decide how to act on a task, use the principles of the Eisenhower Matrix.
By using this strategy and eliminating non-essential tasks, you lessen your workload, which allows you to spend more time on the things that matter.
Time blocking is a technique where you dedicate blocks of time to completing specific tasks.
The key to time blocking is scheduling your tasks in advance. Rather than having a long, open to-do list and wasting time constantly asking yourself “what should I work on now,” time blocking your calendar creates a schedule that tells you the what and the when for the day. For example, my days are blocked from 7am-10am for my morning routine.
Greater organization of your priorities, less procrastination, and the establishment of boundaries are a few of the benefits you gain with time blocking.
The Pomodoro Technique is a simple time management method that has been a game changer for me.
It consists of:
25 minutes is a workable time unit that isn’t too long or short, but just long enough to see meaningful progress. Additional benefits include increased concentration and less mental fatigue.
If you’re easily distracted or tend to procrastinate, this is an easy and fun way to get into action.
What 3 things can I do today that would make the day feel like a success?
The answers to this question are critical in helping you identify your most important tasks for the day.
A great way to start is to use the Bento Box Method, which is comprised of a:
Knowing your top 3 daily tasks forces prioritization of task importance, lets you take control of your never-ending-to-do list, and creates space for you to work on your personal goals.
Even with the best time management plan, interruptions will arise and can derail your day (if you let them).
Because time is such a precious commodity, having boundaries around your time will significantly help you with maintaining your productivity and engagement with the things that are important to you. But it’s not enough to know your boundaries, you must also protect them by communicating them clearly to others. In addition, you will need to get comfortable with saying “NO.”
Remember, making yourself and your needs a priority is not a selfish act but an act of self-love.
For any of these tips to work, you will need to make them your own. Try them out, and see what works and what doesn’t work. Then, tweak as needed to establish time management strategies that best support your style of work and life.
Take back control of your time so that you can do the things that really matter to you.