Time management is something that most of us strive to be good at, but often it seems too complicated to put in place systems that work so we abandon it before giving it a try, or after not giving any new approach long enough to become a habit.
You can manage your time more effectively, even if you haven’t been that great at it in the past. Here are 7 simple time management tips which will help you improve your time management skills.
1. Track your time
This is one of the most important aspects when it comes to time management. Tracking your time will accurately reveal how you spend your day and will help you improve your work patterns. You need to know what needs fixing before you start fixing it.
Track your work hours , how long your commute takes, how much time you spend on your computer, in your car, using public transportation, resting, socializing, working out etc.
There is an app out there for almost every aspect of your life, so consider using them in order to get the most out of your day.
2. Prioritize your to do list
After finding out all the important things you need to do in a day, you will need to start prioritizing them. A common practice is to rank your tasks depending on their urgency and difficulty. Tackling the most urgent and difficult tasks first will make the rest of your day go by more easily.
3. Work without interruptions
Recent studies have shown that interruptions like phone calls, texts, emails and unannounced drop-ins are so disruptive that it takes longer to get back on track than it actually takes to complete the task.
You need to have at least a couple of hours of uninterrupted work each day – this is important both when working in an office or at home.
Learn to disconnect from the outside world and get your creativity pumping. Check your email at specific hours, and let your colleagues and friends know that between certain hours you cannot be disturbed unless it’s something extremely urgent that needs your attention.
4. Don’t multitask
Although everything around us seems to be about multitasking, studies show that it’s not good for our mental health and this behavior will actually make you unproductive.
Multitasking will make it harder for you to concentrate, which leads to forgetting important information and that in turn will require more effort from your part to keep track of everything. This means you will be more tired at the end of the day, and in time it will probably make you resent your work.
Read next: 5 Ways to Work Smarter, Not Harder
5. Don’t be a perfectionist
It’s very important to do your job well, but don’t spend too much time on the 1% that won’t be noticed by anyone else but you. Choose what you spend your time on wisely and consider what will simply waste your time. If you don’t have a solution, focus on your other tasks and come back to it later.
There’s no point in dropping everything for one task.
Avoid gold-plating your own work. Many project managers want to do the best job, but sometimes a task just needs to be done.
6. Avoid social media while working
Being socially active online requires time and effort, which should be spent on the tasks at hand. If your job requires you somehow to deal with social media, use tools that will aggregate your social feeds in one place.
This way you don’t lose too much time posting and following your news streams.
7. Take time to unwind
As important as working efficiently is, taking time to relax and find peace is at least as important. You need to find time to disconnect from everything a couple of times a day by taking short breaks and most importantly, have a few weeks of vacation each year to get away from it all.
Some of the most successful entrepreneurs confessed that this improves their creativity and their drive to work harder and better.
In this article, you’ve learned a few tips and tricks for making the most of your time. Here are some action steps to put that into practice.
- For more on this topic, have a look at some other articles that will help you get everything done and still leave the office on time. Start with more practical time management tips for when everything is a priority.
- Delete one social media app from your phone so you avoid the temptation!
- Block out time to get work done every day. Microsoft Teams sends you prompts for booking ‘focus time’ — don’t ignore these reminders!
This article first appeared at Rebel’s Guide to Project Management