This might sound oversimplified, but if you think about it, it might actually make a lot of sense: Time management is the key to happiness, not only in your personal life but professional one as well. It is not easy to just master the art of time management when your whole life feels like a mess, but it must be a start and it takes a whole lot of practice and discipline. Especially now that we’re all at home, everything can feel even more tiring and draining if we do not manage time well. So we’re here to tell you the keys to time management to help you get your life together and find success in your career.
Take a look at how you are spending your time
First thing first, look back into your life right now and see what is working for you and what is not. If you’re going to optimize your personal time management, you first need to figure out where the time is going. Try diligently logging your time for a week by tracking your daily activities. This audit will help you:
- Determine how much you can feasibly accomplish in a day.
- Identify timesucks.
- Focus on activities that provide the greatest returns.
As you conduct this time audit, it will become pretty clear how much of your time is spent on unproductive thoughts, conversations, and activities. This exercise can also help you determine the time of day when you are most productive — that way, you know when to work on your projects requiring the most focus and creativity.
>> Read more: How to build a career path in 3 steps
Schedule your day and stick to it
Whether you are working from home or in the office (when things are back to normal), create a daily schedule by the hour and stick to it, even if it means forcing yourself to. This step is absolutely crucial for learning how to manage time at work. Don’t even attempt starting your day without an organized to-do list. Before you leave work for the day, create an hour-by-hour list of how you are spending the next day. Set your goals for each day and make lists to accomplish them.
To manage your time even better, organize your day based on when you work best. If you are working from home, you might have more flexibility in your work hours. You may be able to begin your day earlier, but break for a midmorning walk — or start later and fire off emails when you are most alert in the afternoon. Understanding how your energy ebbs and flows can help you schedule your day around when you work best.
Also, another tip to work with utmost productivity and no distractions is to work in spirits. Find a length of time that you can work uninterrupted and stick to it. Schedule breaks in between and have a list of what you want to do so you don’t get sucked into your phone. This might include getting a snack, going for a short walk or doing a small household chore.
Know how to prioritize accurately
Prioritization is the key for successful time management. One of the best time management tips is using the Eisenhower matrix, as an organizational tool for prioritizing tasks based on these ideas of importance and urgency.
Here’s a closer look at each of these quadrants:
- Important and urgent: These tasks have important deadlines with high urgency — complete them right away.
- Important but not urgent: These items are important but don’t require immediate action and should involve long-term development strategizing. Strive to spend most of your time in this quadrant.
- Urgent but not important: These tasks are urgent but not important. Minimize, delegate, or eliminate them because they don’t contribute to your output.
- Urgent and unimportant: These activities hold little if any value and should be eliminated as much as possible.
When you can figure out prioritization, your personal time management can reach a whole new level. You will know where to focus your time during those days when there simply aren’t enough hours.
Delegation and task management
As you learn to prioritize tasks, know how and who to delegate tasks to. You cannot finish all the work by yourself, give it to someone else who could do the job better.
Another thing to consider when managing tasks is to group similar tasks together. Save yourself time and mental energy by trying to complete all of one type of to-do before moving on to the next.
Also avoid the urge to multitask. It can be tempting to multitask, but you’re just shooting yourself in the foot when you attempt to do so. You lose time and decrease productivity when switching from one task to another. Focus on the task at hand and block out all distractions.
Lastly, one effective way to not get overwhelmed with tasks is to assign time limits. Part of creating your schedule should involve setting time limits on tasks instead of just working until they’re done. There are two techniques to approach this:
- The Pomodoro Technique can help you check off your to-do list in 25-minute chunks, taking short breaks in between and a longer break after completing four. This technique balances a narrow focus with frequent breaks, reducing mental strain and maintaining motivation.
- If you’d rather set your own pace, timeboxing allows you to block out varied amounts of time. Use your time log to get an estimate for how long an activity will take you. Once you’ve spent the designated amount of time on that task, move on to the next important activity. You’ll find your productivity skyrocketing and your to-do list shrinking when you have these parameters in place.
We hope these tips are useful enough for you to utilize and make your work life a bit better. They may also help you with your love life as well since knowing how to manage time allows you the opportunity to remain balanced and healthy, both physically and emotionally. Being in control of your time is an important skill that everyone should learn and have as it helps both your career and love life. Therefore the next time you meet someone who feels like “the right person at the wrong time”, fight against it. Timing should never be a problem once you know how to manage it.
The JobHopin team