We all have those friends. You know, the ones that work a full-time job, have side-gigs, blog constantly, volunteer, and have a booming social life. How do these people find the time to do so much?
Here’s the thing: everyone has 24 hours in a day to work with. The difference between someone who can fit in a lot, and be productive while doing so, versus someone who struggles to complete only a handful of things, is proper time management.
Proper time management lets you be more organized, efficient, and calm—amongst many other benefits. Best of all, you’ll find yourself with a full and productive day, crossing things off of your “to-do” checklist with no problems. Here are five time management tips that you can take to the bank as outlined in Tikva Morrow’s article 7 Time Management Tricks That Keep Expert Multi-Taskers Sane.
1. Make a Schedule…
Don’t keep your daily tasks locked away in your head—make an actual schedule that you can look at and refer to throughout the day. You should schedule out your entire day—this may seem unnecessary, but it keeps you focused and on track.
2. …And Make Your Schedule Adjustable
In this case, Tikva’s not talking about an agile schedule, but rather having a schedule that’s literally adjustable—like a whiteboard where you can write down your daily tasks, and erase them/re-write them as the day goes on.
Why is this important? Because using a traditional method, like pen and paper, means you’ll have to scribble notes and details in the margins as your day goes on and your schedule changes. This leads to a schedule that looks cluttered and overwhelming, and, as a result, you’ll start to feel the same way. Keep an adjustable schedule to help combat the feeling of helplessness.
There are several productivity tools and apps available for you to use—both free and paid—that help with proper and effective time management. Don’t be afraid of technology.
3. Begin Your Day by Completing the Biggest Tasks
“Knocking your biggest tasks off the list earlier will give you a leg up on your day and allow you to be less rigid with your time as the hours wear on and more things pop up on your to-do list.” Says Tikva.
And here’s where the “begin you day” part should be stressed. If you have a lot to do, wake up earlier in the day and get your tasks started sooner. Using the quiet of the morning, whether you work from your home for a few hours or head to the office before everyone else rolls in, kick-starts your day and gives you a few extra hours to work with and more time to get your large projects done.
4. Take Advantage of the Technology at your Disposal
There are several productivity tools and apps available for you to use—both free and paid—that help with proper and effective time management. Don’t be afraid of technology. Take a look at the productivity section on your respective operating system’s app store on your smartphone or laptop to see if there’s something that’s useful for you, and then let the technology take over some of the tedious tasks that eat away at your time throughout the day.
5. Break Your Day Into Individual Segments
Instead of looking at your day as one full time period (“I have to get all this done today!”), break your day down into various segments, and assign tasks to fall within each segment. For example, you could have a “post-lunch” segment that’s dedicated to working on a 30-minute personal project, or use 9:00-9:30am everyday as the time to create and reply to emails. Segments make your projects and tasks more manageable—much like finishing an essay by writing portions everyday for a week, rather than trying to write the entire essay in one day.