Have you noticed that the hours, days, weeks and even months go by, and your list of things to do just never gets any shorter. Do you even have a “to do” list? You end your day, exhausted and saying to yourself “I wish there was more hours in the day so I could get everything done”. Your dreams are always in the back of your head, but for some reason you never have any time to work on them.
So why is it that others seem to naturally master their time and find enough room for both their daily activities, and also have time to work on their dreams?
Implementing the tips for Time Management mentioned below, is the answer. Notice that I have used the word “implementing” with Time Management since you can read as many articles or books on time management, think that their great guidelines, but for some reason you never follow them!!! A good plan followed by action is the road to success for almost everything we do in our lives.
Another description for “time management” is ”managing yourself”. Once you master this skill you will see that things will start to change in your life and you will feel more self satisfaction with the things you will accomplish. Trust me, it’s a very nice feeling.
Here are a few tips for time management that I have set up as guidelines to get more hours out of the day and get my work done consistently:
1. Plan your next day – One of the most effective tips for time management. First you need to start by writing down a “to do list” with all the things that need to be done and prioritizing each task. Make sure you write them down on paper or on an organizer because if you think you can remember everything you need to do, then think again. Now that you have your list of tasks, plan your day for tomorrow.
Account for all the activities that need to be done, other than what is on your list, which will take up time from your planned day. For instance, on a Friday I need to take my children to piano and ballet lessons form 3:30 – 5:30, which means I will only start working at 6:00 when I get back home. So I will look at my list on a Thursday night and browse through to find the most urgent tasks. Then I will calculate on average how much time each task will take me, and how much time I have to work on that Friday evening.
2. Delegate and Outsource – This not only applies to my tasks on my list, but also to activities that will distract me from working on my list. To improve my time management in the above example, if I can get for instance, my wife to take the kids to piano and ballet lessons, that means I have just added another 2 hours at least, to my Friday, giving me more time to work on my list.
I can also check my list and look for things that I can outsource for a small cost. If I need 3 hours just to produce an eBook cover for my eBook, I can outsource that task for $5 and earn me another 3 hours. I can now use those 3 hours to work on tasks that need my personal touch.
3. Break It Down – This is where I will break down a large task on my list into smaller tasks. When you know that a certain job you need to do will take a lot of time and effort, you tend to avoid it. Break the large task into smaller tasks, and complete the smaller tasks one by one. When you have some smaller tasks completed you will give yourself a sense of urgency to complete the rest of them, because you know that once you complete them as well, you will have finished a very large project.
4. Learn To Say No – this is how you control distractions that you will always be faced with, there is no avoiding them. However when a potential distraction comes your way, you can always say no to improve your time management. For example, the other day while I was writing an article, I received a phone call from one of my friends to go and play football that evening.
A distraction, but a disciplined mind to say no to my friend, even though I did really want to go. However my dreams come first, and if it means that I need to work before I can play then so be it.
5. Limit Distractions & Time Wasters – this comes in hand with hand really with the above about saying no, but to receive a phone call like in the above distraction is really out of my control, unless of course I switch off my phone, something that I never like doing. However you do have control in things such as switching off your email provider, so you don’t check you emails every 10 minutes. Emails, social media and forums can be huge time wasters.
To improve my time management, I use about 20 minutes, twice a day to check these out, otherwise I will never get anything done. I usually use Facebook when I have just finished one task and about to move on to another task. A 5-10 minute break sometimes can help rest the mind – as long as it is for 5-10 minutes!!! Limiting distractions is one of the tips for time management that is a MUST.
6. Healthy Lifestyle – When you plan your day ahead, do not forget to plan your important lifestyle activities such as exercising and healthy nutrition. These in turn have a domino effect on your work time since if you are healthy with a good nights sleep, you will have more focus and concentration when you sit down to complete your tasks. Being more efficient means it will take you less time to complete your tasks, giving you more time in the day.
7. Have a Break – too much stress and work derails your concentration and you end up taking more time to complete a certain task than actually needed. So every 1 or 2 hours, depending on how you feel, take a short break to relax your mind. It is better to complete a task on your list and then take a break, that way you reward yourself with the break and at the same time you will feel more relaxed since you have just scribbled off a task on your list.
As you can see, there are many tips for time management we can implement to help us get more done in each day. It's just a matter of actually putting them to work and staying disciplined.
"The shortest way to do many things is to do only one thing at a time" - Richard Cech
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