When you’re busy juggling career, family, social life, and multiple other obligations, you may end up feeling as if you don’t have enough time to do it all. Often, the solution lies in improving how you manage your time. To get as much done as possible, keep these time management tips1 in mind.
1. Make Regular To-Do Lists
To make the most of your time, identify what you need to accomplish. Consider creating a variety of different to-do lists based on different time frames. For instance, you may want to make a monthly list as well as a daily or even hourly list. You also may want lists for different categories, such as separate lists for “work” and “personal life.”
After you make a few to-do lists, try to prioritize the most important tasks. Place the tasks at the head of the to-do list and figure out which ones can wait until later. Then, work your way down the list based on your priorities.
3. Assign Time Limits
As you look over your list, try to make realistic estimates as to how long each item should take to complete. If needed, set time limits for certain tasks. For instance, if you want to brainstorm ideas, research a topic, cold-call new prospects, or work on any other task, decide how much time to devote to each task and stick to those limits.
4. Limit Multi-Tasking
Multi-tasking may make you feel as if you’re completing a lot at the same time, but in most cases, multi-tasking simply degrades your focus and prevents you from completing the tasks you need to get done. When possible, avoid multi-tasking and devote all your concentration to a single task at a time.
If you must multi-task, try to do it only with passive tasks. For instance, if you’re working from home, you can throw a load of laundry in the machine and leave it while you create a spreadsheet. Then, you can take a conference call over your headphones while folding the clean clothes.
5. Avoid Distractions
Distractions can derail time management significantly. Try to avoid distractions such as checking social media or reading texts on your phone. To accomplish as much as possible, try to create a distraction-free environment in which you can truly focus.
6. Do an Occasional Time Audit
Occasionally, take some time to audit how you’re spending your time. You may find that you’re wasting time unnecessarily. For instance, if you check your emails multiple times a day, you may lose 10 minutes here and there that’s unaccounted for. By stepping back and doing an audit once in a while, you can identify time-wasters and find ways to manage your time more successfully.
7. Leverage Tech Tools
Look into tech tools that can help your time management. For instance, apps can block social media sites or help you track how much time you’re spending with each client. You may need to explore a few options to find the right fit.
Dierdorff, Erich C. “Time Management Is About More Than Life Hacks.” January 29, 2020. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2020/01/time-management-is-about-more-than-life-hacks.
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