There is never enough time in the day. Everyone has experienced the feeling of having more things to do than there is time for. Most people try their best to “make” or “find” time to get things done.
The real key isn’t to hope to pull extra time out of nowhere, but to learn to use the time you do have more effectively. Effective time management can be the key to success and a life with less stress. Try out some of these great time management tips and finally have a way to get those errands done and still have some time to relax.
Time Management Techniques
The To-Do list. This is one of the most essential tools in time management. The best to-do list is one that is written or typed rather than in your head. The best time to make a to-do list is in the evening after your work for the day is done so you can start your day ready to go in the morning. List everything you need to get done, both big and small. Now, take all of those tasks and break the biggest tasks into smaller tasks. Next is to prioritize them. Be honest when you do this. Figure out what you need to get done and put those higher on the list than what you want to get done.
Use a calender. Keep track of important deadlines, meetings, and holidays. Keep a visual calender at arm’s reach. This does wonders for making sure you are prioritizing your to-do list properly and helping you to be sure you aren’t forgetting anything.
Organize. Take some time to keep your area organized. When things are in their place you won’t lose time looking for them. This also makes it easier to concentrate. Plan a day each week to go through and clean up your entire work space, but don’t leave everything to wait until then. Put stuff away when you are done it and file paperwork as soon as it is ready to be filed.
Schedule your breaks. When you plan your day, plan your breaks as well. They are important for staying refreshed so scheduling them will make sure you take breaks as well as help make sure your breaks don’t go on longer than necessary. The Pomodoro technique is a tried and true time management technique that works well for this. The basic idea of the Pomodoro technique includes using a timer and working for 25 minutes and then take a five minute break. After 4 of the 30 minute sets, take a 30 minute break and start over. Use things breaks to get coffee, go to the restroom, check email, make quick phone calls, or just relax before getting back to work.
Be flexible, yet firm. It is important to make your schedule and stick to it, but that is not always possible. When something comes up that needs to get done, you must be willing to find time in your schedule to do it. That being said, it is also important to be able to say “no” if you plain don’t have time to do something. Some suggest you leave a few hours of your day open for unexpected tasks such as emergency errands or unexpected work. If nothing comes up, you have that time to work on anything left on your to-do list that wasn’t already in your schedule.
Time management can save you a lot of trouble and stress. Through planning and organization you can save time and get much more done. It may have a small time investment to get started, but the benefits can be amazing!