You always need more time. There’s never enough time to deal with deadlines, chores, and tasks. Your to-do list becomes longer and longer and you don’t know where to start. What if you could gain an extra hour every day?
Here are 10 time management tips that will help you work more efficiently and squeeze more time out of your overly busy day:
1. Plan in advance. Make a list of your tasks at the end of the day and prioritize them so that you can dive right in the next morning. Break down your big tasks into smaller ones, and they will become more manageable. Be careful not to overload your to-do list for the day with 987 tasks; focus on accomplishing what really matters.
2. Stop multitasking. Set aside time for just one task, focus on it, and finish it. Trying to do too many things at the same time is actually counterproductive because it overstimulates the brain and creates more stress.
3. Say no and be selective – even if you have that deep need to be needed. Before you take on a new difficult project or a new client, think about how it will affect your week and your workload. You want to show up with your best self, so don’t overstretch yourself.
4. Take breaks. Taking a break is not a waste of time; it’s a great way to reduce anxiety and boost productivity. After an hour or two of work, you start to lose focus and become unproductive, so a short mini-break will help you recharge and refocus. The Pomodoro technique is a great tool to keep track of your work time and your breaks.
5. Use time management tools. If you are using your computer, it is all too easy to get distracted by notifications, Facebook, Pinterest, or the news. Use an app that allows you to block certain websites for times you set, such as Self-Control (selfcontrolapp.com), Freedom (freedom.to), RescueTime (rescuetime.com), or the extension StayFocusd for Chrome (chrome.google.com/webstore). Toggl keeps track of your time and it gives you an overview of the time you spent on different tasks. Try Momentum, a nice app that, when you open a new tab, provides you with a beautiful image, an inspirational quote, it gives you the time, and the opportunity to create a to-do list to keep you focused. Also, look at the tasks and processes you do repeatedly. Is there any way you could use a software program, or use a cloud-based application to automate them and do them faster and better?
6. Do things right the first time. When you get distracted, you make mistakes. When you make mistakes you have to go back and fix them. Try to get the job flawless the first time and you will see massive results.
7. Use your commute. If you have to drive to and from work, you can use that time to listen to great audiobooks and inspiring podcasts.
8. Delegate and outsource. See if you can delegate some of your tasks, then do it. Your time is better used on income-producing activities rather than ordering office supplies or answering emails. Do the tasks that you do best.
9. Just do it. Make a cup of coffee or tea, light a candle, find a peaceful place, and just do it.
10. Be optimistic and stay positive. You will be more efficient and you will get more done. Positive thinking can dramatically improve the decisions we make, and the opportunities we choose to pursue. When we think positively we are more curious, creative, and efficient.
I hope that these tips and management tools will help you work more efficiently, get more done, and ultimately accomplish your goals.
What would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments below!
For more tools and resources on productivity check out my Resources page.
Julie is Hostess At Heart says
I am always chasing that shiny thing Ana! I’ve found that if I set a timer before opening Instagram or another social media app that gets me into trouble it saves me time. That and I don’t focus. I read something 3 times instead of focusing on what I am reading once. Great material!
Haha! I like that – “a social media app that gets me into trouble.” I think I know what you mean, Julie! 🙂
Taking breaks is very important as long as the breaks don’t turn into hour long breaks.
Lauren C. Moye says
Sounds like some great tips! The last one is my favorite. Speaking of which – that fridge won’t clean itself out!
Nostalgia Diaries says
No, no, no. That’s me practicing saying no! It’s so hard for me!
I know, sometimes it’s hard to say no. 🙂
Jobie Medina says
I love stop multi-tasking. I multi-task everything. By the end of the day I’m exhausted and not sure I always accomplish my list. Taking breaks is really important too. Great post!
Thank you, Jobie! You’re right – multitasking doesn’t work.
Great tips! I love using apps to help me stay on task.
I LOVE that self-control app! Such a good idea! When I was writing my master’s thesis in grad school, my husband would block Facebook and Pinterest for my IP address, hahaha 😉
Haha! So funny! But I’m sure it worked. 🙂
Great tips! Ive had to learn to stop multitasking.
Kristin Cook says
Haha! Just do it is my biggest problem. Most of the time, my failure to “just do it” is the problem. Oooppps.
It feels like I’m running around like a headless chicken right now so your tips couldn’t have come at a better time Ana. It’s going to take practice though to break some of my bad habits. Planning ahead is not a problem, but not multi tasking could be. Ugh, why can’t there be more time in a day
Actually multitasking creates more stress and makes us less efficient. Thanks for stopping by, Michelle! 🙂
Planning the night before is a big help. I’m guilty of #2, always have multiple things going at once. Being task-oriented, I do like to finish things; but it would probably be better if I focused on one thing at a time.
I know what you mean. I too have to stop multitasking.