Whether you’re working for someone else, are a freelancer, or already a business owner, there’s always one thing you seem to be struggling with – having enough time to get everything done.
Time management is a powerful skill and the foundation of being productive and balancing personal life and work. But how do we get better at it?
The main solution lies in working smarter instead of harder. Truth is there are some habits you can develop and techniques you can try that will help you get things done faster, save time and have more of it for yourself, be full of energy throughout the whole day and keep seeing progress without getting overwhelmed. Here are some of them:
1. See what can be eliminated.
If you take a closer look at your daily to-do list and your calendar, you’ll notice that not everything in there is essential.
Some of the things are just old activities you keep doing because it’s what you’re used to, others can be automated or delegated, and there are the things that simply don’t give you the results you want but you haven’t analyzed them to figure it out.
So now’s the perfect time. Take every item on your list and go through every activity or even tiny task or chore you dedicate time to. Ask yourself whether it’s really necessary. Think about removing it and see what’s the worst that can happen. Most of the times, nothing will really change. So cross this off your list and you’ll have more time to do the things that actually get you ahead in life.
[bctt tweet=”Life is all about priorities” username=”womeneur”] But if you haven’t set aside any time to define these, then you’re living on autopilot and doing many random things too. That’s something that can ruin your chances for success, especially in business.
Prioritizing means arranging all the areas in your life in order of importance. For most people it’s family, for instance, but if they haven’t thought about it and included the family-related stuff on the top of their to-do list and planned them in advance, they can easily put work before that.
So, what is it that you care about the most?
It is personal development? Then make a step-by-step plan on what new habit to develop next, schedule some reading time daily, start meditating and journaling.
Is it improving your personal brand? Then add an hour of networking, building your portfolio and sharing valuable content on social media to your list and do this before checking email or other secondary things.
3. Define and remove distractions to focus better.
You’ll get things done faster and perform better if you concentrate easily and don’t get interrupted. So here’s what you can do about it:
Tell others not to bother you (enter the room, call or text you) while you’re doing your most important work for the day.
Forget about meetings. They are a huge distraction and nothing important is discussed there. What happens is that your workflow is interrupted and you need time to get back in the zone after that.
Block access to the Internet with a free software if you have to do some serious work offline.
Set some limits to using social media and browsing purposelessly. Don’t do it while working as notifications keep coming in all the time and you’re engaging your mind with unnecessary information.
When you notice you’re procrastinating, try this: Remember why you need to get this done and how good you’ll feel once you complete it. Break it down into smaller actions and make a list of the first 3 steps, each of which will take you less than 5 minutes. Now simply get to work on the first one. That will help you build momentum and keep going.
4. Assign a time to everything.
[bctt tweet=”Deadlines work wonders, so even if you don’t have one, set one” username=”womeneur”]
What’s more, have a fixed time of the day when you’ll start working on a task and plan out how long it will take. Then, once the time comes, you’ll find it easier to focus and actually get it done in the given time period.
5. Don’t strive for perfection.
Perfectionism is an enemy to productivity. So let go of the desire to get everything done and to be perfect. Know that your time is limited and there’s only so much you can do in 24 hours.
That’s when prioritizing comes in handy. Once you eliminate the non-essentials, you’ll have more time, but after prioritizing you’ll know where to start.
Define the 3 most important tasks for the day every morning, or even the night before, and get to work on them first. Only when you’re done can you move to less important stuff.
This way you’ll always be moving in the right direction and will feel accomplished before noon.
So, what about you? How do you manage your time and make sure everything important is done?