Time is such a valuable item which we often take for granted. Everyone gets the same 24 hours each day no matter who they are. You can not buy more of it so you need to make the most of the time that you have. Here are my top tips for time management so that you can make the most of yours!
Write it down
No one can remember everything, especially if you are working, running a home and have a family. There is so much going on you need to be able to track it all. Making use of a good planner or calendar is going to save you time in the long run. At the very least it will stop you forgetting important events so you are not running around last minute wasting time to try and sort out forgotten tasks.
Eliminate time thieves
We have all been there, you sit down for ‘five’ minutes and check your social media. An hour later and you can not believe that you have lost an hour. Other time thieves include; games on your phone, computer games, chatting on the phone, emails and internet shopping/browsing.
I am not saying there is anything wrong with these things (I enjoy all of them too) but when using a time management point of view, you need to be aware of what is stealing your limited time. If you want to reward yourself with fifteen minutes on Instagram for example, set a timer on your phone. You will then know that you have used your break time and you can now get back to your tasks.
For good time management, preparation is key. If you know that swimming is every Thursday then making sure that the bag is packed and ready to go Wednesday evening will save time and frustrations on the Thursday morning. Setting out clothes the night before saves morning upsets if you can not find what you wanted to wear and meal planning reduces time running to the shops for things that you need on the day.
Planning out your tasks for the day ahead (or week) saves time too as you can put tasks in an order that saves time. For example, making all of your calls or emails at the same time will be faster then doing them multiple separate times as it takes time to adjust to a new task.
Having some set routines can be good for saving time. If you do the same thing at the same time each week, your brain recognises the repeated habit, so you can pretty much work on autopilot. This is also really good for children as they like structure and consistency. A good example of this would be to design yourself a good bedtime routine. Try and keep it to the same time each night too and once your body realises that this is going to happen every night you will fall asleep much faster.
Use time saving tools
If you have access to the internet then there are so many things that can help save you time. Ordering your grocery shopping is much faster than having to drive there and navigate the isles yourself. It can also help save you money too. You will be less tempted to add extras in your shopping and you can see how much your spending before you check out. If you are new to online grocery shopping it may seem like more hard work than going. However, if you stick with it, within a couple of goes you will soon find it much quicker as it stores your favourites and you can shop the offers etc.
Using tools such as Boomerang to pause your inbox can be great if you are easily distracted from new emails falling into your intray. Most mobile phones have a similar function. On my phone it is ‘do not disturb’ which stops notifications from coming through when activated. This can be really handy when you are on a deadline and your phone keeps pinging. The timer on your phone can also be really useful for setting time limits to keep yourself aware of the time and how long you have been spending on certain tasks. There are so many free time management tools available online, it is worth having a look.
Make a running overflow list
Sometimes you may plan for each day and things may take longer than you thought. When this happened you may finish the day with some tasks still on your list. Add these to what I call an overflow list. Then on the days when you finish earlier than expected you can pick one or two items from the list to complete. This way you still get things done with less pressure then trying to catch up each day on uncompleted tasks. If you feel that the list is getting bigger and you are not getting a chance to catch up then build some time into your week to clear the list and start again.
Plan in time to recharge
It is really important that you plan in some time each week to relax and recharge. If you do not do this then eventually you will burn out and that could seriously affect your health. If you burn out then it will take a lot of time and energy to rebuild. It is saving you time in the long run if you look after yourself and have some ‘me time’ each week.
Use your time wisely
There are times that we lose time simply waiting for things to happen. For example, waiting in a doctors surgery for your appointment or waiting in the car at the children’s school to pick them up. Use this time by planning ahead and taking the things you need with you. In both of those examples you could take letters you need to write, books you want to read, use your phone to make notes on a speech you need to give, plan out the week ahead, meal plan or write a shopping list. There are so many more little tasks that you could complete rather than just sitting there or staring at your phone.
Start your day with the worst task
When you plan out your day, it is tempting to put the thing that you are least looking forward to doing at the end of the day. However, doing this means that you will spend the whole day worrying about the task and you will also spend longer than you need on other things so that you can put off doing it as long as possible. Instead, put the worst task first. Get it done first thing (if it is not time specific) and then you can enjoy the rest of your day and you will also feel a sense of achievement having completed it.
You do not have to do everything yourself so make use of those around you. Even young children can do their fair share and it will teach them valuable life skills too. If you have a partner, make sure that they know what they can do to help you out when you have a lot to do. Maybe you can afford to pay for some help, even if it is just someone to wash the windows to save you a job and save you time. If you can not afford to pay for help consider drafting in help in exchange for something that you are good at. You may find that a friend of yours loves ironing but hates doing her accounts. See if you can do her accounts in exchange for her to do your ironing. Sometimes you just need to think outside the box.
Do not over-plan
Remember that you can only do so much so it is pointless planning your week with 101 tasks. No one would be able to complete them all. If you assign yourself too many tasks each day you will never feel the satisfaction of ticking off everything, so you are setting yourself up to fail. Remember to be kind to yourself!
So that is all of my time management tips for this post. I hope that you have found it useful and I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.